Inside a Construction Boom: Politics, Responsibility and the Temporalities of Development

Workshop hosted by Université libre de Bruxelles

Urban development is a field of study based on the assumption that the development of cities is a phenomenon that is always unfolding. Cities are seen and studied as being in a constant process of change. However, while the meanings and practices of the urban are often reconfigured and reimagined, the making of the urban environment is fundamentally discontinuous. The starting point of this workshop was that a history of a city is better understood as an incoherent and contingent alternation of ephemeral, temporary, and exceptional conjunctures of growth, stagnation and decay. The objective of this workshop, convened by Marco Di Nunzio, Urban Age Research Officer at LSE Cities, was to examine ‘construction booms’ as particular moments in the life of a city. The focus of the workshop was to explore the temporalities of urban development in cities that are positioned at the margins of the geographies of financial capitalism that nurture ‘global cities’.

Panel 1
9:40 – 10:00 Claire Mercer (LSE) – States of uncertainty: building and demolishing suburban Dar es Salaam
10:00 – 10:20 Ezana Haddis Weldeghebrael (University of Manchester) – Aspiring “Developmental” State’s Spatial Strategy towards Slum for Accumulation and Hegemonic Purposes: The Case of Addis Ababa
10.20- 10:40 Pushpa Arabindoo (UCL) – A spectral city in the making: The urbanity of a
pseudo-welfare state in India
10.40 – 11.10 Discussion – Discussant: Luisa Moretto (ULB)

Panel 2
11:30 -11: 50 Manuel B. Aalbers (KU Leuven) – Urban Redevelopment as a Space of
Exception: Land as a Financial Asset in Brazil
11:50 –12:10 Erik Harms (Yale University) – Megalopolitan Megalomania: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam’s Southeastern Region and the Speculative Growth Machine
12:10-12:30 Tom Goodfellow (University of Sheffield) – Urban fortunes and skeleton cityscapes: Real estate and late urbanization in Kigali and Addis Ababa
12:30-13:00 Discussion – Sasha Newell (ULB)

Panel 3
14:00 –14:20 Llerena Guiu Searle (University of Rochester) – Betting on the Future: Speculative Knowledge in an Indian Building Boom
14:20 –14:40 Judith Audin – (French Centre for Research on Contemporary China) Surviving spaces, suspended spaces, an ethnography of non completion in Chinese cities: the case of an urban reconversion in progress in Datong (Shanxi)
14:40- 15:00 Marco Di Nunzio (LSE) – Not My Job? Architecture, Responsibility and Inequalities in a Booming African Metropolis
15:00-15:30 Discussion – Solange Guo Chatelard (Science Po Paris / ULB)
15:30-15:50 Coffee Break

Panel 4
15.50 –16.10 AbdouMaliq Simone (Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity) – Compressed Construction
16:10-16:30 Sabine Planel (Institut de Recherche pour le Développement/ DALVAA Project): Financial inclusion, socio-spatial exclusion and political participation in access to housing. The Ethiopian construction boom from below.
16:30-16:50 Daniel Mains (University of Oklahoma/ ZMO) A Cobblestone Boom: The Temporal Politics of Cobblestone Roads in Urban Ethiopia
16:50-17:20 Discussion – Discussant: David Berliner (Université Libre de Bruxelles)