Category Archives: LSE Cities

LSE Cities seminar series: The Emotional Life of the City

11 October 2018

This is a seminar series hosted by LSE Cities.

Research students and academic staff at and beyond the LSE are all welcome.

LSE Cities is pleased to announce a new seminar series for 2018-2019: The Emotional Life of the City. This series has been organised by Dr Ed Charlton, British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow, who is working on a project entitled Metropolitan Melancholia at LSE Cities.

Talk of extreme cities abound. Extremes of sprawl and scale, density, toxicity, and poverty—to name but a few. But what of their extremities of emotion?

This seminar series thinks in critical as much as creative terms about the place of extreme emotional life in the city. Gesturing toward a tradition of urban observation that extends back to the likes of Flora Tristan and Walter Benjamin and reaches forward to writers such as Rebecca Solnit and Teju Cole, seminars will provide lively, incisive commentary willing to experiment, formally as well as methodologically.

There will be five seminars spanning across the 2018-19 academic year, all of which will be held in the LSE Cities seminar room from 12.00pm – 1.30pm.

If you would like to attend any of the seminars please RSVP to as spaces are limited.

The speakers and dates for the series have all been confirmed:

October 25 2018, 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Dr Angharad Closs Stephens (Swansea University)


November 29 2018, 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Laura Oldfield Ford (Royal College of Art)


January 17 2019, 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Dr Ruth Raynor (Newcastle University)


February 21, 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Dr Lauren Elkin (Liverpool University)


March 21, 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Dr Thomas Jellis (Oxford University)


Details of the first seminar of the series are listed below:

Affective Solidarities in the Aftermath of Urban Terror: Reading Teju Cole’s Open City and Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album

Speaker: Dr Angharad Closs Stephens (Department of Geography, Swansea University)

Date: Thursday 25 October 2018, 12.00pm – 1.30pm

Location: 8.01H, Tower 2, St Clement’s Inn, London WC2A 2AZ

This seminar addresses the emotional life of the city by examining ‘digital structures of feeling’ (Kuntsman, 2012), as witnessed in the aftermath of terrorist attacks in European cities. These include people changing their Facebook profile pictures, and sharing memes and hashtags to demonstrate how they care for others in distant places. Dr Angharad Closs Stephens is interested in these examples for how they address questions about how we mourn some deaths more than others (Cole, 2016: Butler, 2016), as well as for how ideas about ‘the other at risk’ can morph into claims about ‘risky others’ (Amoore and De Goede, 2011). However her main interest here is in contesting the images of place and subjectivity at work in them: where place and subjectivity appear as separate and distinct, and sympathy as something to be extended across distance (Casey, 2013). Given the way in which the urban presents a very different way of understanding our being in the world (Blom-Hansen and Verkaaik, 2009; Shapiro, 2010; Frisby, 2001), Dr Closs Stephens turns to two novels that engage ‘urban atmospheres’ in the aftermath of different histories of ‘terrorism’ to uncover resources for critically addressing contemporary responses to urban violence. In this, she follows the point that literature forms a way of intervening in ‘the way in which the world is visible for us, and in which what is visible can be put into words, and the capacities and incapacities that reveal themselves accordingly’ (Rancière, 2011: 7). Through a discussion of Teju Cole’s Open City (2011), set in New York following 9/11, and Hanif Kureishi’s The Black Album (1995), set in London in 1989, following the fatwa on Salman Rushdie, Dr Closs Stephens will draw out materials that help to critically engage questions of affective solidarity and what it means to care for others both here and elsewhere.


For more information please contact

Podcast: Launch of Shaping Cities in an Urban Age in London

28 September 2018

A podcast for the London launch event for Shaping Cities in an Urban Age is now available. Ricky Burdett, who co-edited the third instalment of the series, launched the publication on 26 September 2018 at the London School of Economics alongside contributors Eduarda La Rocque, Saskia Sassen, and Nicholas Stern. Based on a the 15-year Urban Age research programme, the book contains 37 essays by leading policy makers, practitioners and scholars, offering new perspectives on the dynamics of urban change. La Rocque’s Rio Pact video, which she shared during her talk, is also available.




Three new research notes on Governing Infrastructure Interfaces

27 September 2018

Three research notes linked to Governing Infrastructure Interfaces, a research project focusing on transport and sanitation infrastructure in Ethiopia’s two largest cities (Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa), have been published. The project is investigating the relationship between development goals and the contribution made by new infrastructure. The papers focus on how anthropology (Marco Di Nunzio), transport studies (Philipp Rode) and political science and public administration (Nuno F. da Cruz) view urban infrastructure.

Ricky Burdett to launch Shaping Cities in an Urban Age in London

26 September 2018

Ricky Burdett, Director of LSE Cities and Urban Age, will launch Shaping Cities in an Urban Age at the London School of Economics and Political Science on 26 September 2018. Ricky Burdett, who co-edited the third instalment of the series, will launch the book alongside contributors Eduarda La Rocque, Saskia Sassen, and Nicholas Stern. Based on a the 15-year Urban Age research programme, the book contains 37 essays by leading policy makers, practitioners and scholars, offering new perspectives on the dynamics of urban change. The event will also be livestreamed.

Tim White wins ESRC PhD scholarship to research on ‘co-living’

21 September 2018

Tim White, a Researcher at LSE Cities, has been awarded an ESRC Scholarship to pursue his PhD project on the Cities Programme at the LSE. The project will examine a pivotal response to the intensifying housing crises facing major global cities: the proliferation of corporatised ‘co-living’ spaces. Rather than supply individualised housing units, co-living companies offer ‘high-quality’ communal spaces, flexible rental contracts, and extensive, all-inclusive services as a trade-off for small, private units. Championing ‘sharing economy’ philosophy, the schemes aim to attract young creative professionals. White’s project will trace the emergence of this rapidly expanding form of co-housing and seek to understand its socioeconomic implications for urban areas. This will involve in-depth research in various case-study cities across Western Europe and North America. White has been exploring how residents experience life in different forms of high-density housing in London as part of the Experiencing Density research project at LSE Cities.