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Global Urban History Project

HomeCalls for Papers

NOTE: The deadline for this Call for Papers has passed. The response was much higher than we expected, and we hope to expand the number of co-sponsored panels. We will announce the officially accepted panels once we get final word from the IPHS conference committee.

GUHP Call for Papers

Join the Global Urban History Project in Yokohama, Japan this summer at the
International Planning History Society conference! 

Please find descriptions of five Calls for Papers for GUHP-sponsored panels at the IPHS. The conference will take place July 15-19, 2018.

You'll need to act pretty fast: The deadline for paper proposals is 5pm, Friday December 1, 2017.

Global Urban History Project members who would like to submit paper proposals for any of these panels should send an abstract of no more than 300 words and a CV to Kristin Stapleton, In your proposal, please stipulate which panel interests you. 

If you are not yet a member and would like to present a paper, feel free to join GUHP. It's free of charge.

We would like to organize additional panels on such themes as “Transnational Connections among Asian Cities” and “Planning Asian Metropolises,” as well as others that reflect the interests of GUHP members. We will try to form thematic panels based on paper proposals we receive, so you are welcome to send us abstracts for papers or fully-formed panels.

Planning Community without Planners

(Organized by Nancy Kwak, University of California San Diego)

Planning history often places city planners and government officials at the center. This session seeks to shift this focus, however, and think instead about the role of other critical actors ranging from grassroots activists, local artists, and residents, to powerful corporations and global investors. How do non-state actors plan specific neighborhoods, streets, and even entire cities, and what relationship do these non-state actors have with official planners (if any)? This panel welcomes papers that look critically at non-state actors in the organization and maintenance of communities of all sorts, including but not limited to informal settlements, homeless villages, and neighborhoods suffering severe disinvestment and abandonment. Embedded in the question, “Who plans a community?”, are larger issues of power and place-making.


Legacies of Socialist Urbanism

(Organized by Fabio Lanza, University of Arizona)

The politics and policies of real-existing socialist states were often expressed and realized in specific urban projects and planning strategies, which reshaped existing cities and informed new social agglomerates. Socialist urbanism aimed at realizing the promise of a more equal distribution of resources through planning; it often applied “scientific” ideas about living and working spaces; and, more crucially, it attempted at shaping a new everyday, in which happier and more productive men and women could flourish. While this project was often flustered by street-level realities and internal contradictions, socialist urbanism did transform the fabric of cities and left a complex legacy—inscribed in space—to the post-socialist period. We invite papers that question, analyze, and assess this legacy; how do the basic forms or spatial organization (for example the danwei in China or the kombinat in the USSR) influence the development of post-socialist cities? Which forms survived the demise (or radical transformation) of socialist states, and which ones had to be erased? What kind of practices embedded in these urban forms continue in the new era, and what kind of political/social claims do they stake?

Historicizing the Global City

(Organized by Sebastian Schmidt, Rice University with Carl Nightingale, University at Buffalo)

This panel seeks to gather scholars eager to add historic depth to debates in the humanities, social sciences, and urban theory on global cities and/or “planetary urbanism.” The notion that such phenomena are solely the outcome of a 20th-century market logic of urban analysis will be complicated by bringing together research on any time period in the long history of urbanization. The goal of this panel is to use the global city as a transhistoric tool for analyzing shifts in patterns of urbanism that can be considered global or “planetary” because they expanded the spheres of influence of cities, because they considered the changing role of cities in a changing world, or because of the impacts of urban growth on the non-built environment. Examples could include early forms of urbanism in the ancient world, studies of the relationship between late medieval capitalism and urban space, of world’s fairs in the history of urban design, or of universalist models for urban development.

Sites of Exchange: The Confluence of Global Networks and Local Interests in the Planning of Financial Centres

(Organized by Amy Thomas, University of Chicago, and Carola Hein, TU Delft)

In the last three decades, scholars in the fields of sociology and geography have increasingly explored the political-economic dimensions of financial centres. These studies have been important for understanding the enormous significance of financial centres in the global economy, exposing another urban facet of globalisation and financialisation. Yet the specific urban planning histories of financial centres, and the relationship between the social, spatial and built dimensions of financial practice remain understudied. While the financial transaction today appears to be an invisible, digital act, it relies upon a specific set of urban conditions to take place. The historical attitudes towards planning these conditions [the actors involved, their methods and tools] can tell us much about the changing political and cultural dimensions of financial practice, and the role played by the built environment in shaping such practices.

This panel aims to deepen understanding about the historical urban planning of financial centres by focusing on the impact of transnational exchange. Financial centres historically emerged as nodes in international, imperial and most recently global trade networks. Originating as appendages to ports, these sites proliferated internationally with industrialization and the expansion of European empires between the 17th and 19th centuries, increasing in scale and number with the globalisation of production and financial deregulation in the 20th century. This panel will investigate how the history of global economic exchange has historically been intertwined with the development and planning of financial centres. We seek papers that address how these places have facilitated the global spread of urban planning ideas, as a result of their position as nodes in financial networks. We ask how different agents have facilitated or determined such exchanges (such as financial corporations, local and imperial governments, real estate companies and design/planning firms) and what connections might exist between financial centres as a result of such networks. For example: How might the recent planning histories of the financial districts of Tokyo, London and New York be linked through the extensive land ownership of the Mitsubishi Estate Corporation in all three? Does the historical presence of British colonial governments in Hong Kong and Singapore connect later/contemporary planning policies in both cities? How have transnational oil companies impacted the development of business districts in cities from Paris to Abu Dhabi? We particularly welcome contributions that engage with the wider geopolitical context, and draw connections with the ideological agendas of planners, governments and other influential actors.

The Global History of Urban Renewal

(Organized by Sujin Eom, University of California, Berkeley)

Moving beyond writing urban history from within the framework of national containment, this panel revisits urban renewal as a global regime for government-led large-scale urban projects. A recently growing body of urban renewal has highlighted transnational connections in the forging of the urban renewal order in the post-WWII years whereby new urban forms and norms were extensively transferred across geographic boundaries. By bringing together different yet parallel histories of urban renewal on a global scale, the panel interrogates urban renewal as a transnational lens through which to examine the production and circulation of technologies of governing urban space during the mid-twentieth century. Papers can cover a range of issues such as the role of international institutions, emergence of new political and cultural geographies, transnational networks of knowledge, infrastructures, and consequences and enduring legacies of urban renewal programs. Any regional focus will be welcome, but papers dealing with hitherto under-explored regions in the study of urban renewal (Southeast and East Asia, the Middle East, and/or Latin America) would be encouraged.