Lent and Summer Term 2019 | Two Seminar Series| The Emotional Life of the City & LSE Cities Research

LSE Cities holds research seminars for LSE and non-LSE researchers and academics to present their work on cities and the ways in which people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world, focusing on how the physical form and design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment.

Seminars are held from 12.00-13.30 in the LSE Cities seminar room 8.01H on the 8th Floor of Fawcett House, Clement's Inn, London WC2A 2AZ

Seminars and free and open to all If you would like to attend any of the seminars please RSVP to

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.

Thursday 21 March | 12.00pm – 1.30pm
Laura Grace Ford (Royal College of Art)

Laura Grace Ford is a visual artist and writer. She is a graduate of the Royal College of Art, where she is now a researcher in Sculpture. She is also the author of the zine Savage Messiah (Verso, 2011). Her most recent exhibition was held in June 2018 at Somerset House in as part of a studio residency. Entitled ‘Open Your Palm, Feel the Dust Settling There,’ it took the form of an audio-visual performance motivated by the psychic and emotional contours of the city. In this seminar, Laura will present some of her recent work and develop new ideas on the topic of ‘Radical Spectrality’.

Thursday 9 May | 12.00pm – 1.30pm
Dr Lauren Elkin (Liverpool University)

This seminar series explores recent research projects carried out by and for LSE Cities.

Thursday 14 March| 12.00pm – 1.30pm
Metropolitan Indicators
Dr Nuno Ferriera da Cruz (LSE Cities) and Do Young Oh (LSE Cities)

The growth of large metropolitan areas is reshaping governance and the urban landscape, presenting new challenges for the management of territories. However, global comparative research on metropolitan dynamics around the world is confronted with a substantial lack of data. To tackle this gap – and as a collaboration between LSE Cities and Metropolis – the Metropolitan Indicators project set out to collect data for 50 metropolitan areas around the world. Based on a comprehensive review of existing indicators and data sources, we developed a framework of 38 indicators that refer to six overarching themes, namely:

  1. Context and Governance
  2. Economic Development
  3. Social Cohesion
  4. Gender Equality
  5. Environmental Sustainability
  6. Quality of Life

In this seminar, we will discuss the methodological steps taken in order to select the indicators and data sources, set the boundaries for the targeted metropolitan areas (i.e. the unit of analysis), and build this comprehensive dataset. We will also showcase the data collected and present a preliminary analysis of the emerging trends.

Nuno F. da Cruz is an Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at LSE Cities, and the coordinator of the Metropolitan Indicators project. Do Young Oh was a Researcher at LSE Cities and part of the Metropolitan Indicators project team.

Thursday 28 March| 12.00pm – 1.30pm
Design as Infrastructure: Why design matters for thinking about the city 
Dr Julia King (LSE Cities)

Julia King Research Fellow at LSE will present her work on sanitation and housing in the context of rapid urbanisation, inequitable infrastructure developments and urban micro-culture in Delhi.

The primary vehicle of interpretation is  Savda Ghvera, a large resettlement colony for people resettled from central Delhi, for which the author organised a central sewerage system, which in turn became the basis for a neighbourhood association with political influence.

For Julia Incrementalism describes a process of city-making in increments - as materials, time, etc. become available - mostly through the building of houses which, in their later stages, can support commercial or other activities. The main concern of the presentation is two-fold. Firstly it studies “shared incrementalism”, or the degree to which a commitment arises to a social and political context greater than an aggregate of individual houses. Secondly, it studies the role of making in creating the conditions for sharing, and with that, the roles of a visiting architect- researcher. On one hand, the constraints upon marginalised peoples are severe, and it is impossible to accurately assess the depth of commitment to both house and to a larger social and political order. On the other hand, it is evident that the opportunities for collaboration are volatile, constantly shifting, and that the virtues of solidarity are not necessarily accepted at face value.

Thursday 16 May | 12.00pm – 1.30pm
What do digital technologies mean for African urban development?
Dr Laura Mann (International Development Department, LSE) and Dr Gianluca Iazzolino (Firoz Lalji Centre for Africa, LSE) |