A Regional Comparative Urbanism?

Debates on how best to activate a comparative approach to urbanism have held the attention of urban studies specialists for a number of years now. The result has undoubtedly been fruitful in the sense that a more open and cosmopolitan and less anglo- and euro-centric lens has emerged. However, a purposeful comparative urbanism remains hard to undertake, and methodologies are ‘under construction’ (Robinson, 2016). In this session, we foreground a regional approach to comparative urbanism. In doing so, we encourage contributions that build on recent continuing debates on the relevance of regional thinking and regional approaches (see, for example, Jones and Paasi, 2013) and that interrogate the validity of area studies as an aide to a comparative approach (Sidaway et al., 2016). We look forwards to receiving papers that interrogate the following types of questions and/or focus on the following issues:

  • Where do the contours of contemporary regional approaches lie?
  • Where do cities and urbanism sit within regional geographies?
  • What contributions can a regional approach make to a comparative urbanism?
  • How does a regional approach (for example, Latin American, East Asian, or East African) help us to understand patterns of resistance to urban dispossession and displacement?
  • What is the role of regional alongside global capital in urban restructuring projects?
  • How do regional arrangements of capital reinforce city-building?
  • Is there an area studies of urbanism?
  • Can area studies contribute to comparative urbanism?

Contributions that consider similar questions not listed above are of course welcome. The definition of regions is open to debate and interpretation, but it is hoped that the session will benefit from a variety of regional perspectives. Both empirical and theoretical contributions are welcome.


Dr. Paul Waley, University of Leeds p.t.waley@leeds.ac.uk

Dr JIANG Yanpeng, The University of Hong Kong ypjiang@hku.hk