Events Archive

Fall 2014

Alfredo Brillembourg talk

September 11, 20145-6:30pm 112 WURSTER 

The lecture will present Brillembourg and Klumpner's idea of integrated infrastructure, which they call Urban–Tool Box, a method and system of thinking designed to empower citizens and city building. Their lecture will highlight, among many projects, the recently developed Metro-Cable San Agustin, an urban cable car system featuring music, sports, and educational programs, developed for the city of Caracas in partnership with Austrian Company Doppelmayr Ropeways. The project was also recently featured in the MoMA exhibition, “Small Scale–Big Change.”

GMS Co-Director and Professor of anthropology James Holston has won major grants from the UBS Optimus Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and the Carlos Slim Institute for Health

The awards support his project to develop a web and cellphone application, called Dengue Torpedo, for community-based dengue vector control. Dengue is a mosquito-borne viral disease that is spreading uncontrollably worldwide. No vaccine is available. Starting from the premise that residents are the best sources of information about mosquito breeding sites, Dengue Torpedo is an interactive web and mobile platform that combines social media and game concepts to motivate people to report and eliminate these sites. It also involves user-residents in collaborative research, testing, and designing of the application itself. The project is being coordinated from the Social Apps Lab at CITRIS, which Professor Holston also co-directs, in collaboration with colleagues at UC Berkeley's School of Public Health. Alpha and beta versions are currently being developed and tested in Brazil and Mexico.

Spring 2014

Growing Cities screening and dinner

Wednesday, April 2nd , 7-9 p.m. 110 Boalt Hall 

This documentary follows two friends on a road trip across the country meeting urban farmers who are challenging the way we eat. The film highlights urban farmers in over 20 cities, providing a window into how people are transforming our communities.

Support for this event comes from the Center for Global Healthy Cities, Global Metropolitan Studies, the Berkeley Food Institute, and GradFood.

The Economies of Cities: The Divergence of San Francisco and Los Angeles, 1970 to present

Michale Storper, Professor of Urban Planning, UCLA, Professor of Economic Geography, The London School of Economics
Thursday, Feb. 27, 5-7 p.m. 106 Wurster

Southern California and the Bay Area underwent a process of economic convergence in the first two thirds of the 20th century. Southern California caught up to the Bay Area in terms of real regional per capita income, while adding many more people than its northern neighbor. But with the advent of the New Economy, the Bay Area surged ahead of Southern California, generating a one-third gap in their per capita income levels by the early 21st century. This difference is descriptively due to the flourishing of the tech economy in the Bay Area. But the outcome was not foregone. Southern California had more and better technological resources than the Bay Area in the 1970s, and even well into the 1980s in certain respects. The Bay Area and Southern California, moreover, are representative of a wider phenomenon, a new Great Divergence among metropolitan regions within and between countries. Analyzing this case of just two regions, but in great detail, gives us keys about the causal process that underlie divergent economic development of metropolitan regions.

Michael Storper's research and teaching interests cover a variety of closely related topics related to economic geography and development. Specifically, he examines the forces that affect the ways an economy organizes itself in geographical space. His work spans the areas of globalization, technology, city-regions, and economic development. The latest of his many books is Keys to the City, which outlines his current five-year research project on the divergent economic development of the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay Area economies.

Among many honors, he was elected to the British Academy in 2012, and also received the Regional Studies Association's award for overall achievement, the Sir Peter Hall Award, in the House of Commons in 2012.

Fall 2013

Positive Mass Effects for Transport Demand with an International Comparison of Car Ownership Drivers

Monday September 23 1-2 pm 544 Davis Hall

Presented by Jan-Dirk Schmöcker is an Associate Professor within the School of Global Engineering and the Department of Urban Management at Kyoto University

This is part of a project funded by a GMS faculty seed grant to Joan Walker, Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

There is increasing empirical evidence for the existence of “positive mass effects”, whereby increased use of a transport system by the ‘mass’ will generally increase its attractiveness for additional travellers. This positive effect might be due to land-use and transport impacts, economies of scale or other less considered aspects such as norming effects and (slow) information spread. This presentation discusses some examples for this such as uptake of a newly introduced transportation system and with it modelling approaches. It is argued that especially in an interconnected globalised world complex long-term effects of transport policy cannot be ignored. The talk is given within the context of an on-going project on “drivers of auto-ownership” across the world. Some initial evidence for positive mass effects in the form of “peer effects” on vehicle purchase decisions among young people in the US as well as some Asian and European countries is discussed.

Speaker Bio
Jan-Dirk Schmöcker is an Associate Professor within the School of Global Engineering and the Department of Urban Management at Kyoto University. He initially studied at the Technical University Berlin and then graduated from the University of Newcastle in 2000. He joined Imperial College London in 2002 where he worked on several projects including metro benchmarking as well as adequate transport provision for older people. In June 2004 the university awarded him funding for the completion of his PhD which has the title “Dynamic capacity-constrained transit assignment”.  In 2007 Jan-Dirk left Imperial College London, taking up a visiting position at Tokyo Institute of Technology before moving to Kyoto in 2010. Jan-Dirk’s current research interests focus on long-term demand adaptation to transport infrastructure investments. A main research focus remains further passenger behaviour and public transport assignment.

"'This is not a parade, it’s a protest march.' Intertextuality and street demonstrations in Bolivia and Argentina.”

Tuesday, 24 September 3-5:00pm 214B Wurster Hall

A Colloquium by Dr. Sian Lazar 
Lecturer in Social Anthropology, Cambridge University, Fellow and Graduate Tutor, Clare College

The paper explores ideas of physical and visual intertextuality and their importance in the construction of political agency during street protests in particular. I examine the
symbolic and aesthetic experiential politics of dances, parades and demonstrations in Bolivia, suggesting that similarities between these practices constitute a kind of citation, which enables each to partake of the symbolic power and resonance of the others. I then move to investigate the work that visual (and possibly auditory) intertextuality does in Argentine demonstrations.

Sian Lazar’s research focuses on collective politics in two quite different contexts: El Alto, an indigenous and mixed-ethnicity city in the Bolivian Andes, and Buenos Aires, Argentina. She is the author of El Alto, Rebel City: Self and Citizenship in Andean Bolivia, published by Duke University Press in 2008, and editor of the forthcoming Anthropology of Citizenship: A Reader, to be published by Wiley-Blackwell in October 2013. In Buenos Aires, she works with activists in public sector trade unions, paying particular attention to the relationship between individual workers, trade unions and the state, and examining the implications of that relationship for people’s political subjectivities and agency – their citizenship. She has published several journal articles on these themes, exploring similarities and differences between her two fieldsites, and is currently preparing a monograph specifically focused on the Argentine material.

(Image from El Alto, Rebel City: Self and Citizenship in Andean Bolivia, published by Duke University Press).

Toxic Schools: High Poverty Education in New York and Amsterdam

Friday, October 4 12-1pm Room 305 Wurster Hall

A Global Metropolitan Studies Presents lunchtime book talk with:
Professor Bowen Paulle, University of Amsterdam

Violent urban schools loom large in our culture: for decades they have served as the centerpieces of political campaigns and as window dressing for brutal television shows and movies. Yet unequal access to quality schools remains the single greatest failing of our society—and one of the most hotly debated issues of our time. When Bowen Paulle speaks of toxicity, he speaks of educational worlds dominated by intimidation and anxiety, by ambivalence, degradation, and shame. Based on six years of teaching and research in the South Bronx and in Southeast Amsterdam, Toxic Schools is the first fully participatory ethnographic study of its kind and a searing examination of daily life in two radically different settings. What these schools have in common, however, are not the predictable ideas about race and educational achievement but the tragically similar habituated stress responses of students forced to endure the experience of constant vulnerability. From both sides of the Atlantic Ocean, Paulle paints an intimate portrait of how students and teachers actually cope, in real time, with the chronic stress, peer group dynamics, and subtle power politics of urban educational spaces in the perpetual shadow of aggression.

Philippe Bourgois author of In Search of Respect: Selling Crack in EL Barrio, described Toxic Schools:
“A bare-knuckled, gut-wrenching, and frankly heart-breaking intimate portrayal from an insider teacher-ethnographer who worked for years on the front lines of the violent mayhem of poor urban schools in both the United States and Holland. Like most of his colleagues, Bowen Paulle fails to teach his out-of-control classes, but he dares explain why and how and propose solutions. He opens up the black box of the structurally imposed failure of public education for the urban poor on both sides of the Atlantic, revealing its micro-interactional processes.”

Summer of Urban Protests: Cairo, Istanbul, Sao Paolo

THURSDAY, September 5, 5-7 PM 112 WURSTER HALL

Co-sponsored by GMS with the Department of City and Regional Planning. A roundtable discussion with Professors Nezar AlSayyad, Teresa Caldeira, James Holston, and Cihan Tugal.

Since the Arab Spring of 2011, a series of large-scale protests have taken over cities in several countries to articulate citizens' indignation about their living and political conditions. Some have overthrown dictatorships; some have lasted longer than others. All have brought the city and its spaces to the center of political struggles and have re-ignited debates about the relationship between city and citizenship. During the last few months, these protests have shaken Turkey, Brazil and again Egypt. The movements in Turkey and Brazil share some common features, such as the articulation of rights to the city. The Egypt demonstrations have once again overthrown a president, but with consequences that expose limits and contradictions in the democratizing impetus.

Four UC Berkeley faculty experts will analyze the protests, and will debate what may be new and old in these rebellions, their promises and limitations. Please join us for this timely discussion. The round table will be followed by a reception to celebrate a new semester of open discussions.

Spring 2013

Launch event: working group discussion for Sustainable Food Systems Initiative

Tuesday, April 16 5-7pm in GSPP Room 250

Co-sponsored by GMA and the Center for Global Healthy Cities, which are also co-supporters of the initiative. Discussion will feature the work of Maggi Kelly, Barbara Laraia and Steve Sugarman, experts on geospatial technologies, nutrition and health outcomes, and food law and policy.

UC Berkeley is currently forming a new institute dedicated to sustainable food systems. The institute, to be soft-launched in early May, will work across disciplines to address issues in sustainable agriculture, food justice, labor, nutrition, health, regulatory reform, trade, urban planning, and business. It will aim to develop innovative approaches to linking academic research and policy, as well as to support participatory research in both urban and rural settings. On April 16, we will begin planting the seeds for the formation of cross-departmental, interdisciplinary working groups of UCB faculty, staff and students in the general areas of:

  1. nutrition and health outcomes and
  2. urban food and farming.

Maggi Kelly, Barbara Laraia and Steve Sugarman do exemplary work that cuts across these areas, and we hope that learning about their work will provide a jumping off point for building collaborative relationships and working together towards longer-term policy and research goals. If you have any questions about the institute or the working groups, please contact interim Executive Director Carolyn Federman:

Speaker Bios

Maggi Kelly, PhD, MA is a professor and Cooperative Extension Specialist in the Environmental Science, Policy and Management department at UC Berkeley. With a background in Geography, Dr. Kelly studies the drivers, patterns and consequences of environmental change across California's spatially complex, socially diverse and dynamic landscapes. She is currently working with Barbara Laraia on the "Our Space" project, constructing a spatial database to provide contextual information on social, food and physical environments to characterize neighborhood factors that might contribute to health risks. Dr. Kelly directs the Geospatial Innovation Facility at UC Berkeley, which is dedicated to bringing cutting-edge mapping technology to students, staff, facult,y and others.

Barbaria Laraia, PhD, MPH, RD is a professor at UC Berkeley School of Public Health in Public Health Nutrition. Dr. Laraia has a special interest in the relationships between food policy, the urban food environment and health. Her research focuses on household food security status and neighborhood effects on diet, weight, perinatal outcomes, and other maternal child health issues, especially among vulnerable populations. She is currently working with Maggi Kelly to map the entire state of California in terms of food venues and physical activity venues, overlaid with census, crime and traffic safety data.

Steve Sugarman, JD is the Robert J. Traynor Professor of Law at UC Berkeley School of Law, where he teaches Torts, Food Law and Policy, Educational Policy and Law, and other courses in the social justice curriculum. Sugarman writes about childhood obesity and the American diet in relation to the food and beverage industries, advocating for performance based regulatory strategies of the industries. Sugarman is a founder and board member of Public Health Law and Policy (now ChangeLab Solutions) in Oakland.

Urban Planning in the 21st Century Global South

Wednesday, April 17, 3-5 pm 305 Wurster

Panel featuring Peter Ngau and Mbathi Musyimi, University of Nairobi

Informal Settlements in Kenya: new directions and opportunities

Thursday, April 18, 2-4 pm 305 Wurster Hall

Presentations by Peter Ngau and Mbathi Musyimi, University of Nairobi

New Data and the Study of Urban Infrastructure

Faculty Roundtable Discussion 
Wed. April 3, 5-6:30pm Barrows 202 

RSVP to Alison Post,

Anxious Freedom: On the cultural afterlife of apartheid

March 20, 2013 4-5:30pm Wurster Hall Auditorium (Room 112

Presentation by Thomas Blom Hansen, Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University)

For decades, the South African township was a global byword for oppression and cruel exploitation. Yet, these vast spaces were also sites of a thriving and innovative community life, more modern and evolved than the rural past, and often defying the apartheid regime's promotion of 'traditional culture' as a bulwark against radical politics. Today, it is increasingly clear that this life of the township profoundly shaped the very idea of what freedom after apartheid could look like. Drawing on material from a formerly Indian township outside of Durban, this lecture explores how the 'cultural autonomy' of the apartheid township decisively has shaped the horizon for political life and cultural identity in the post apartheid republic.

Thomas Blom Hansen is the Reliance-Dhirubhai Ambani Professor of Anthropology at Stanford University. He has published widely on religious and political violence in modern India, on urban transformation, social memory and religious revival in both South Africa and India.

Fracking, Health and Democracty: Citizen science air quality monitoring & hydraulic fracturing operations 

March 20, 2013 2-3:30pm 305 Wurster Hall 

Special event & discussion of student research opportunities with Seth B. Shonkoff, PhD, MPH Executive Director Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE)

Dr. Shonkoff received his PhD in Environmental Science, Policy, and Management and his MPH in epidemiology from UC Berkeley. He is now the executive director of Physicians, Scientists and Engineers for Healthy Energy (PSE). The mission of PSE is to bring scientific transparency to the environmental, climate, and public health dimensions of energy choices. Through the generation, translation, and effective dissemination of sound science, PSE aims to ensure more responsible energy policy decision making in the United States and abroad.

Sponsored by Center for Global Healthy Cities, and Global Metropolitan Studies

Center for Global Healthy Cities and Global Metropolitan Studies present an Urban Health Equity Seminar: URBAN FOOD SECURITY

A conversation with Brahm Ahmandi, Meg Wall and current DCRP students 

March 7, 2013 2-4pm 305 Wurster Hall

Join us to hear from local leaders using innovative approaches to address urban food security: Brahm Ahmadi, CEO of People’s Community Market, co-founder and former Executive Director of People’s Grocery, discussing the roadblocks in bringing a grocery store to West Oakland and his efforts to overcome these barriers. Meg Wall, MPH, Epidemiologist, San Francisco Department of Public Health and Manager of the Sustainable Communities Index, discussing an innovative and comprehensive approach to assessing and improving food access.


GMS Student Research Symposium
March 7, 2013 5-6:30pm 106 Wurster Hall

Presentation by Jia-Ching Chen, PhD candidate in City & Regional Planning

In this talk, I'll examine how national environmental mandates and local resource management practices operate to define value for rural land in China. I argue that accounting systems focused on abstracted metrics of "ecosystem services" and aggregated farmland area preservation construct rural land as a fungible, nationally scaled resource. These processes paradoxically divide environments from a given quanta of rural land, strip it of existing social–environmental relationships, and negate historical forms of sustainable livelihoods as ecologically irrational and backward. Jia-Ching Chen is a PhD candidate in City & Regional Planning. His work draws from political ecology and urban studies to examine the expansion and contestation of green development in China


Presentation by Momen El-Husseiny, PhD Candidate in Architecture

This paper depicts the rise of security as a mindset for the provision of housing in Cairo in the last sixty years with special emphasis on the neoliberal era since the nineties that ultimately led to a popular revolution in 2011. In laying out the term “security capitalism” as the governing tools of disciplining space mostly significant in the production of isolated gated enclaves, I explain two aspects; first, the methods of security units in gated communities in securitizing subjects and spaces, and the role played by the military caste that benefits from the security enterprise. Secondly, I highlight the dynamics of residents’ activism in claiming their rights, citizenship, and common space in the private and public spheres before and after the 2011 uprising. These political, economic, and social activism contingencies play out simultaneously, visibly and invisibly, to distinguish the Cairene enclaves from its global pier.

Momen El-Husseiny is a PhD Candidate in Architecture. He graduated from Cairo University with a BSc in Architectural Engineering and MSc in Architectural Theory and Criticism in 2007. He worked in the design of several architectural projects across the Middle East and the Mediterranean basin; like the American University in Cairo, the Egyptian embassy in Tashkent, Housing projects, Mother and Child Hospital in Fort de France. He worked in community development projects in the informal quarters of Cairo. He started his PhD program in UC Berkeley in 2007. He participated in grassroots organization and activism during the Egyptian revolution from 2011 to 2012 while pursuing his fieldwork for his doctoral research.

Battles Over Green Space: Land Disputes, Rights Activism, and Emerging Publics in Urban China

February 21, 4-5:30pm, in 305 Wurster Hall

Lecture by Li Zhang, Professor and Chair of Anthropology at UC Davis and author of the widely read books Strangers in the City (Stanford 2001) and In Search of Paradise (Cornell 2010) and co-editor of Privatizing China, Socialism from Afar (Cornell 2008 China’s recent urban reforms have generated new forms of tensions and contradictions between different social sectors, while engendering a nascent form of urban publics based on the notion of weiquan (rights-protection). This talk focuses on the widespread urban land disputes between real estate developers and urban residents by drawing from two high-profile cases in two different Chinese cities. I argue that this new wave of spatial contestation raises important questions regarding the nature of such emerging urban activism, the possibility for new publics, and the implications for re-conceptualizing the reform state, power relations, and popular politics in postsocialist China.

GMS Open House

Tuesday, February 6, 5-7 pm Room 106, Wurster Hall

The event will be a discussion among faculty and student about GMS activities and potential future directions. Some topics will include, but not be limited to: new GMS research grants, DE student funding, 2013 GMS speakers and roundtables, and emerging faculty projects. We aim to solicit input from affiliated graduate students and faculty, as well as encourage new students to get more involved in GMS-related activities. A more detailed agenda is being drafted now, and we are eager for your suggestions and offers from students and faculty to briefly share updates on your GMS-related work. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you on 6 February.

2013 Spring Semester Roundtables

GMS is sponsoring a set of roundtable discussions during the spring semester to promote local conversations among colleagues (UCB and greater Bay Area) and generate GMS interest and activities. They are not meant to be mini-conferences with formal papers, but rather conversations, open to faculty and students. We will sponsor one a month:

1. Co-Directors Corburn & Holston host “GMS – Activities and Directions” (February 6)
2. “GMS Student Research Symposium” (March 7) 
3. Alison Post hosts “Big Data and the Study of Urban Infrastructure” (April 3) 
4. Richard Walker hosts "Urban Politics in San Francisco: What Difference Does a City Make? (An Historical-Geographical View)" (May 2)

Public Lectures, Spring 2013

"Battles Over Green Space”: Land Disputes, Rights Activism, and Emerging Publics in Urban China February 21, 4-5:30pm, in 305 Wurster Hall

Lecture by Li Zhang, Professor and Chair of Anthropology at UC Davis and author of the widely read books Strangers in the City (Stanford 2001) and In Search of Paradise (Cornell 2010) and co-editor ofPrivatizing China, Socialism from Afar (Cornell 2008):

China’s recent urban reforms have generated new forms of tensions and contradictions between different social sectors, while engendering a nascent form of urban publics based on the notion of weiquan (rights-protection). This talk focuses on the widespread urban land disputes between real estate developers and urban residents by drawing from two high-profile cases in two different Chinese cities. I argue that this new wave of spatial contestation raises important questions regarding the nature of such emerging urban activism, the possibility for new publics, and the implications for re-conceptualizing the reform state, power relations, and popular politics in postsocialist China. There will be a reception afterwards.

2. Thomas Hansen, Professor in South Asian Studies and in Anthropology, Stanford University – March 20 “tba”

3. Peter Ngau, University of Nairobi, Dept of Urban and Regional Planning – April 18 "A Constitutional Moment: Securing rights and services in Kenya's informal settlements."

4. Sian Lazar, Cambridge University and Visiting Scholar GMS – April “tba”


"Ruled by aesthetics: Reimagining the world-class city in Delhi"

Wednesday, May 9, 4-6 pm Room 110, Barrows Hall

Lecture by Asher Ghertner, Lecturer in the Department of Geography & Environment at the London School of Economics

If “modern” cities are supposed to be built through techno-scientific procedures of urban planning and government—such as maps, censuses, and zoning—the conspicuous shortage of such techniques in the world-class redevelopment of Delhi raises the question of how rule there is achieved. If we apply familiar models of government and planning to the Delhi context, this shortage looks like a type of failure. The Delhi case, however, shows that this is not about failed government, but a different mode of governing space. In this talk, I offer various slices into how urban aesthetics has replaced maps and statistics as a key technology of government. Specifically, I describe how bourgeois codes of appearance and civility have been used to project a normative vision of the city—what I call a world-class aesthetic, which allows territories and populations to be assessed just by looking at them. Tracing this world-class aesthetic as it moves through everyday neighborhood talk about the filth and nuisance of slums, courtroom debates over slum legality, and real estate developers’ speculations on a slum-free future, I show the centrality of an aesthetic mode of rule in guiding the aspirations and desires of diverse population groups, from the slum-dweller to the international financier. But, while aesthetic rule in Delhi is premised on an expectation that diverse urban spaces should look "world-class," the content and meaning behind that “look” remains open to appropriation and reinterpretation. By examining how slum residents receive, appropriate, and creatively rework the world-class aesthetic, the talk concludes by making a case for the importance of aesthetic politics in contestation over the future city.

Asher Ghertner is Lecturer in the Department of Geography & Environment at the London School of Economics. His work focuses on the technologies and tactics through which mass displacement is conceived, justified and enacted. He has conducted extended ethnographic fieldwork on the contemporary politics of slum demolition and world-class city-making strategies in Delhi, which he uses to challenge conventional theories of economic transition, urban planning and political rule. Recent publications on aesthetic governmentality, elite environmental discourse, and everyday struggles in slum settlements have appeared in Economy & Society, Antipode, and the International Journal of Urban & Regional Research. Asher obtained his PhD in 2010 from the Energy and Resources Group at UC-Berkeley.

"Transatlantic Travels: Mobile Policies in the Current Era"

Monday, April 16, 4 pm Room 305, Wurster Hall

Lecture by Kevin Ward, Professor of Human Geography, University of Manchester

Cities in industrialized countries of the north presently face significant financial pressures. In this context many are struggling to finance economic development. Some are now looking elsewhere in the world, searching out 'models' that are understood to have worked, taking bits from elsewhere and reassembling them for their own needs. One such 'model' that is on the move is Tax Increment Financing that emerged in the US in the 1950s and is now being introduced into the UK. This paper outlines its multiple origins, its different pathways, its stops and starts, and its encounters with different cities and what they have meant for its morphing and mutating. Overall, the paper argues that the twenty first century is one that is witnessing a relational comparative urban condition, in which cities are increasingly assembled through drawing on bits of elsewhere.

Kevin Ward is the author of numerous articles and essays including the book (co-edited with Eugene McCann), Mobile Urbanism: Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age.


Friday, March 16, 2012 4 pm Room 575 McCone Hall (by North Gate of the UC Berkeley campus)

LECTURE BY PROF. ELVIN WYLY UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA Co-author of Gentrification (2007) & The Gentrification Reader (2010)

A generation ago, financial innovation promised a future of housing markets freed of geographical and institutional scarcity. Yet deregulation and financial innovation were shaped by America’s enduring racial state, which created new inequalities in the unprecedented wave of speculation in mortgage debt: a spatial fix was also a racial fix.

PROF. WYLY WILL MEET WITH GMS GRAD STUDENTS – Friday, March 16, 3-4 pm in room 575 McCone


"Speculation in the Age of Urban Revolution"

Friday, October 7, presented by Michael Goldman 4:30-6 pm, Geballe Room, Townsend Center for the Humanities, with reception to follow.

Goldman is Associate Professor and McKnight Presidential Fellow, Sociology and Institute for Global Studies, University of Minnesota.

Organized by the Urban Political Ecologies group & co-sponsored by IIS.

"A Conversation with Jamie Peck,"

Wednesday, October 12, 1:15 to 3 pm, Room 305 Wurster Hall, UC Berkeley. By RSVP* only, email us by October 1.

An informal discussion with Professor Peck, Professor Ananya Roy - City and Regional Planning, and Professor Richard Walker - Geography, on researching the city, neoliberalism and policy mobilities.

[peck lecture and talk] *Two chapters from Professor Peck's new book, "Constructions of Neoliberal Reason," will be circulated early to all who RSVP.
ALSO on Wednesday, October 12, "Social Innovation at the Limits of Neoliberalism," Department of Geography Colloquium lecture presented by Jamie Peck
4-5:30 pm, 575 McCone Hall, with reception to follow (light refreshments).

Peck is Canada Research Chair in Urban & Regional Political Economy, Professor of Geography, University of British Columbia. His work centers on urban and regional restructuring, neoliberalization, labor and governance. His most recent book is "Constructions of Neoliberal Reason."

Organized by the Berkeley Stanfaord CityGroup, the Department of Geography, and GMS.

2011 GMS Dinner Conversations

We continue last semester's tradition of dinner groups convened around the reading and discussion of faculty research. These dinners have limited capacity; we will send out instructions on how to join them.

Thursday, November 3, Alison Post discussing her recent paper, jointly authored with Tomas Bril-Mascarenhas, "Broad-Based Subsidy Programs as 'Policy Traps': Utilities Subsidies in Post-Crisis Argentina" 6:30-9:30 pm

Post is Assistant Professor of Political Science and Global Metropolitan Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

Tuesday, September 27, You-Tien Hsing discussing her recent book, The Great Urban Transformation 6:30-9:30 pm

Hsing is Professor of Geography, University of California, Berkeley.

Lee Schipper  portrait by Dan Sperling

Lee Schipper Memorial service Sunday, october 2, 2- 5:15 pm at the UC Berkeley Faculty Club

Please join us for the celebration of Lee Schipper, who left us on 16 August 2011. The memorial will take place on Sunday, October 2, at the Faculty Club on the UC Berkeley campus, from 2 to 5.15 pm. To help us with planning, please contact us at to let us know if you will attend.

In Memoriam: Lee Schipper

Lee Schipper, Energy Expert and Global Metropolitan Studies Scientist, Dies

Lee Schipper, Research Scientist for the Global Metropolitan Studies Center, and an international energy expert who shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work on climate change, died August 16 at Alta Bates Hospital in Berkeley. He was 64 and had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in May. Read the entire Lee Schipper obituary.


india conference logoGMS Annual Conference

The 21st Century Indian City: Developing an Agenda for Urbanization in India

March 23-25

Conference Organizers: Center for Global Metropolitan Studies, Center for South Asia Studies, Fisher Center for Real Estate & Urban Economics (UCB) Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi.

The 21st century will be an Asian century. But it will also be an urban century with much of this urbanization taking place in Asian cities, especially in India and China. Such urbanization carries with it tremendous potential for economic prosperity, the consolidation of middle-class aspirational lifestyles, growth of civil society and experiments with local democracy. But such urbanization also presents significant challenges including the degradation of urban poverty and inequality, the inadequacy of infrastructure, and the ecological impact of stifling pollution and increasing carbon footprints. India's rapid urban growth thus presents a call to scholars, policy-makers, planners, and civil society activists to engage with these various potentialities and challenges. This conference brought together 14 experts on Urbanization from Berkeley with experts and practitioners from India. Key themes were Globalization & Economic Growth; Infrastructure, Environment, & Planning; Democracy & Governance; and The Social Life of Cities. The goal was to set an agenda for research and policy, perhaps jointly with Indian colleagues, such that the Indian city and its transformations can be better understood and better managed.

Link to conference Web site is at

Held at the India International Center, New Delhi 40 Max Mueller Marg, New Delhi, India 110003.

From Budget Cuts to a People's Budget?

A panel discussion on participatory budgeting, with Joe Moore, Chicago Alderman, and Josh Lerner, The Participatory Budgeting Project

Wednesday, April 27, 5-7 pm
Wurster Hall, Room 112

This panel discussion will explore how budget crises and lack of accountability might be addressed by opening up budgeting to the public. Chicago Alderman Joe Moore will share his experience with participatory budgeting, in which he invited residents of his ward to directly decide how to spend his $1.3 million discretionary budget.

Media contact: Marc Mascarenhas-Swan
Sponsors: JASEcon, Shareable Magazine, GMS and The Participatory Budgeting Project.
Download flyer.


Wednesday, April 27, 5-7 pm Wurster Hall, Room 112

A panel discussion on participatory budgeting, with Joe Moore, Chicago Alderman, and Josh Lerner, The Participatory Budgeting Project

This panel discussion will explore how budget crises and lack of accountability might be addressed by opening up budgeting to the public. Chicago Alderman Joe Moore will share his experience with participatory budgeting, in which he invited residents of his ward to directly decide how to spend his $1.3 million discretionary budget.

Media contact: Marc Mascarenhas-Swan
Sponsors: JASEcon, Shareable Magazine, GMS and The Participatory Budgeting Project.
Download flyer.

Beijing Besieged: Wang Jiuliang's Urban Ecology Unhinged

While China's rise, and its immense challenges, commands world attention, less light has been shed upon the colossal problem of waste generated by a burgeoning population, expanding industry, and rapacious urban growth. Photographer Wang Jiuliang turns his lens upon the grim spectacle of garbage, excrement, refuse, and wreckage heaped upon the landscape that surrounds China's mega-metropolis, Beijing. Eeking out a precarious and hazardous living within are the rag pickers, mostly rural migrants, who struggle to maintain familial and cultural structures amid the bleakest of occupations. In this exhibit we see the desecration of once-vital farmlands and rivers in the shadow of the new China's gleaming cities and planes and super-trains; the unholy cycle of construction's consumption and waste, and poignant images of the daily lives of the gleaners who toil at their own peril.

Photo Exhibit  March 10 - June 10  All events at the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, 6th Floor, 2223 Fulton Street.Berkeley, CA 94720-2318

Symposium: The City Besieged by Garbage: Politics of Waste Production and Distribution in Beijing

Speakers: Joshua Goldstein (Professor of History, University of Southern California), Da Mao (Ph.D Candidate in Environmental History, Beijing Normal University), and Shih-yang Kao (Ph.D Candidate in Geography, UC Berkeley) Moderator: Professor You-tien Hsing, Geography, UC Berkeley

April 11, 2pm All events at the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, 6th Floor, 2223 Fulton Street.Berkeley, CA 94720-2318
 Film Screening: Beijing Besieged by Waste, followed by Q&A with film director Wang Jiuliang Moderator: Max Woodworth (Ph.D Candidate in Geography, UC Berkeley)   April 11, 5pm All events at the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, 6th Floor, 2223 Fulton Street.Berkeley, CA 94720-2318
  The Artist as Environmental Activist: Conversation with Wang Jiuliang Moderator: Max Woodworth (Ph.D Candidate in Geography, UC Berkeley)  April 12: 4pm  All events at the Institute of East Asian Studies, UC Berkeley, 6th Floor, 2223 Fulton Street.Berkeley, CA 94720-2318

"Emerging Scholars" Dinner Series 2010

These dinners, open to the GMS community and others on campus with related interests, provide a forum for an informal discussion of exciting new scholarship on urban themes. We will circulate a recent publication or working paper in advance of the dinner that will provide a basis for the discussion. Our aim is to encourage a conversation on how approaches to urban themes vary across the disciplines, and on how these scholars' projects and interests have evolved over time. Dinners are open to both faculty and graduate students. We particularly encourage students interested in the Designated Emphasis in Global Metropolitan Studies to attend.

To sign up for a dinner, please contact Pat Ramirez at Slots will be allocated to those who respond first. Please mention the department with which you are affiliated and whether or not you are already affiliated with GMS. Attendance is limited to 15 guests per event. Locations to be announced. Readings will be sent to attendees a week in advance.

Emerging Scholars Dinner 3

Eleonora Pasotti, Assistant Professor, Politics, UC Santa Cruz

Friday, April 1, 6:30 pm

Topic: Discussion of chapters from her 2009 Cambridge University Press book, Political Branding in Cities: The Decline of Machine Politics in Bogotá, Naples and Chicago.

Eleonora Pasotti's research explores the dynamics of preference formation and change. Her research in comparative urban politics focuses on institutional change, the transformation of patronage politics and representation. It resulted in a book titled Political Branding in Cities: The Decline of Machine Politics in Bogotá, Naples and Chicago (Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics, Cambridge University Press 2009). Pasotti has been a Public Policy fellow at Columbia University, a German Marshall Fund of the United States fellow, a post-doctoral fellow at the Center on Democracy, Development and the Rule of Law, Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies, Stanford University, and a visiting fellow at the European University Institute in Fiesole, Italy.

Emerging Scholars Dinner 2

Joan Walker, Assistant Professor, Civil and Environmental Engineering, UC Berkeley Thursday, March 10, 6:30 pm

Topic: Behavioral Modeling for Metropolitan Studies Many aspects of metropolitan studies involve a human element, be it consumers, businesses, governments, or other organizations. Effective policy requires understanding this human response. Walker's research is on behavioral theories and the use of quantitative methods to analyze human response. She will provide an example that deals with transportation demand.

Joan Walker is Assistant Professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. Previously, she was Assistant Professor of Geography and Environment at Boston University. Walker received her Bachelor's degree in Civil Engineering from UC Berkeley in 1991 and her Master's and PhD degrees in Civil and Environmental Engineering from MIT. From 2001-2004 she served as Director of Demand Modeling at Caliper Corporation. Walker's research focus is behavioral travel demand modeling, emphasizing methods and their application to urban issues including health, congestion, air quality, equity, and quality of life. Walker is a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The PECASE program recognizes outstanding scientists and engineers who, early in their careers, show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of knowledge. This Presidential Award is the highest honor bestowed by the US government on scientists and engineers beginning their independent careers.

Emerging Scholars Dinner 1

Cihan Tugal, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, UC Berkeley Thursday, March 3, 6:30 pm

Topic: Discussion of chapters on urban protest in Istanbul from his 2009 Stanford University Press book, Passive Revolution: Absorbing the Islamic Challenge to Capitalism.

Cihan Tugal works on the role of religion in political projects. His research so far has focused on how the interaction between religion and politics shapes everyday life, urban space, class relations, and national identity. In addition to his book, his research has been published in Economy and Society, Theory and Society, Sociological Theory, New Left Review, The Sociological Quarterly, and edited volumes. The common thread of these chapters, articles, and the book is bringing in a cultural perspective to politics. Tugal's book, as well as a number of his articles, are based on a two-phase ethnography of a poor and conservative district in Istanbul.

2010 Lecture Series

Identity Through Reconstruction? The Current Wave of Reconstructing Lost Buildings and Spaces in Germany

Thursday, October 14, 4pm 214B Wurster

Friedhelm Fischer, Universität Kassel

The Enigma of Capital and the Crises of Capitalism

Friday, October 8, 4pm 112 Wurster

David Harvey, Graduate Center, City University of New York

Gray-Spacing and 'Creeping-Apartheid': The New Urban Regime?

Friday, September 17, 4pm 112 Wurster

Oren Yiftachel, Department of Geography and Planning, Ben Gurion University

Mobility and Power in the Global City: Geographies of Miami

Wednesday, September 15, 4pm 305 Wurster

Jan Nijman, Urban Studies, University of Miami

Upgrading Informal Settlements in Urban Kenya

Tuesday, September 14, 5pm

Jack Makau, Slum Dwellers International

Patients of the State: Regulating Neoliberal Poverty

Monday, May 3, 5pm 112 Wurster

Javier Auyero, Professor of Sociology, University of Texas, Austin

Traveling Urban Theory: The Case of (post-)Neoliberalism

Monday, April 19 112 Wurster

Jennifer Robinson, Professor of Geography, University College London

Cosmopolitanism and Secularism: Bringing Back Ideology?

Friday, March 5 112 Wurster

Etienne Balibar, Professor of Comparitive Literature, University of California, Irvine

Homelessness, American Style

Thursday, February 4 305 Wurster Hall

Don Mitchell, Professor of Geography, Syracuse University


Moody’s Blues: Risk, Ratings, and the Production of Urban Space

Thursday, 10/22, 4 PM 305 Wurster

Katharyne Mitchell, Professor and Chair of Geography Simpson Professor of the Public Humanities University of Washington

Epistemologies of Comparision in the Study of Globalized Urbanization

Monday, Oct 5, 2009, 5:30pm - 7:30pm 305 Wurster Hall

Neil Brenner, Professor of Sociology and Geography, New York University

Conference: Peripheries – Decentering Urban Theory

February 5-7, 2009, Howard Room, Faculty Club

View announcement (.gif)
Download program (PDF) | 11 KB


Mellon Colloquium: Transnational Spaces, Transborder Places: The United States, Mexico, and Guatemala Borderlands

Friday, November 21, 2008 221 Stevens Hall

Panel Discussion – Closer to Home: Eating from Local Foodsheds

Thursday, November 20, 2008 112 Wurster Hall

This panel discussion investigated the opportunities and challenges of eating locally grown food from the perspectives of public health, food access, school food service, and regional farmland vitality. Panelists included Ann Cooper, Paula Jones, Jeremy Madsen, and Kimi Watkins-Tartt, with Jason Corburn as moderator

Symposium: Bogotá: Lecciones de un Renacer.

Friday and Saturday, October 2-4, 2008
Wurster Hall Auditorium and breakout rooms

Keynote address by former Bogotá mayor, Enrique Peñalosa and talks by Daniel Bermudez, Carolina Barco, Camilio Santamaria, Medellin Gerard Martin, Rachel Berney and UC faculty (co-sponsors)

Panel Discussion – Slow Food Nation

Wednesday, September 3, 2008 Wheeler Hall

Considered, a panel discussion with speakers Fred Kirschenmann, Raj Patel, Michael Pollan, and Vandana Shiva, moderated by Richard Walker

Lecture – Mark Hildebrand: "Policy Choices and Slums"

Wednesday, April 2, 2008 214B Wurster Hall

View Flyer (PDF) | 101 KB

Discussion – Robert Gottlieb

Thursday, March 13, 2008 106 Wurster Hall

Professor of Urban and Environmental Policy and Director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College, Los Angeles about his book, Reinventing Los Angeles: Nature and Community in the Global City

Roundtable: Architecture is Murder

Tuesday, February 26, 2008, 316 Wurster Hall

Dr. Annmarie Adams, McGill University, Montreal

Roundtable – Flexible Public Design and Changing Urban Needs

Tuesday, February 5, 2008 316 Wurster Hall

Dr. Kin Wai Michael Siu, Professor of Industrial and Environmental Design, School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University


Lecture – Revisiting the Meteorologically Utopian City in a Changing Climate

Thursday, November 15, 2007 106 Wurster Hall

Gordon Bonan, Senior Scientist, Climate and Global Dynamics Division, National Center for Atmospheric Research

Lecture – Demographic Change: A New Challenge for Urban and Regional Development in Germany.

Thursday, October 11, 2007, Lipman Room, Barrows Hall

Speakers from Kaiserslautern Technical University, Germany:

  • Dr. Hans-Joerg Domhardt, Dimensions and Overview to Demographic Change
  • Prof. Dr. Gabi Troeger Weiß, Challenges for Regional Development
  • Prof. Dr. Annette Spellerberg, Consequences for Urban Development

Symposium – Agriculture at the Metropolitan Edge: New Ruralism and Other Strategies for Sustainable Development

April 5 - 6, 2007 College of Environmental Design, UC Berkeley

Lecture – The Decentered State|

Wednesday, March 14, 2007 104 Wurster Hall

Jefferey Sellers, Associate Professor, Political Science, University of Southern California
View Flyer (PDF) | 33 KB

Symposium – The Future of Shrinking Cities - Problems, Patterns and Strategies of Urban Transformation in a Global Context

February 8 - 9, 2007 International House, UC Berkeley

Lecture – Public Domain Strategies for Fragmented Cities - Reflections on the recent Urban Conflicts in Europe

Thursday, February 1, 2007 316 Wurster Hall

Maarten Hajer, Chair of Public Policy and Political Science at the Universiteit van Amsterdam
View Flyer (PDF) | 130KB


Lecture – Survival of the Unfittest: Why the worst megaprojects get built and how better policy and planning can stop it

Tuesday, October 17, 2006 Wurster Hall Auditorium (Room 112)

First Annual Martin Wachs Distinguished Lecture in Transportation by Professor Bent Flyvbjerg, Aalborg University, Denmark

Lecture – Urban Transportation Trends in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 Wurster Hall, Room 104

Paulo Custódio, Consultant and Founder, Logit Consultoria
View Flyer (PDF) | 197KB

Lecture – No-Regret Growth and Smart Shrinking: Matching Policy Instruments to the Dynamics of Metropolitan Growth and Change

Tuesday, September 12, 2006 Wurster Hall, Room 305

Professor Yoshi Hayashi, Nagoya University, Japan
View Flyer (PDF) | 78KB

Lecture – EMBARQ: MAKING URBAN TRANSPORT SUSTAINABLE: Notes from 4½ Years on the Street in Developing Cities in Asia and Latin America

Tuesday, August 29, 2006 Wurster Hall, Room 104

Lee Schipper, Director of Research
View Flyer (PDF) | 197KB

Lecture – The Qualification of Urban Regions for "Soft" Regional Management Strategies

Monday, February 27, 2006 Wurster Hall Auditorium (Room 112)

Professor Thomas Sieverts

Lecture – The Global Metropolitan Studies Program Inaugural Event – Lecture: The Polycentric Metropolis: Learning from Mega-City Regions in Europe

Monday, February 13, 2006 Wurster Hall Auditorium (Room 112)

Professor Sir Peter Hall, University College London