Petro-urbanisms: Urban futures on the oil frontier

Workshop hosted by LSE Cities

Today urbanisation processes in many parts of the globe are directly linked to the hydro carbon economy, producing forms of urbanism that emerge from the often significant finances being generated, the struggle over control of these resources and the contested futures of these rapidly growing cities. Together with the planetary scale infrastructures required to sustain contemporary urban life it is clear that oil is integral to how we understand cities. In this workshop these petro-urbanisms were interrogated to investigate how uncertainty mediates unfolding urbanisation across and beyond oil regions, the politics of these material transformations and the ways that imaginaries, responses and contestations of the urban future can be understood as deeply entwined with global infrastructures of oil.

Speakers included:

Andrew Barry (Department of Geography, UCL)
Chloé Buire (Department of Geography, Durham University)
Nelida Fuccaro (Department of History, SOAS)
ThienVinh Nguyen (Department of Geography, UCL)
Gisa Weszkalnys (Department of Anthropology, LSE)

The Urban Uncertainty workshop series is an integral part of LSE Cities’ collaborative investigation into emerging ways of envisioning and governing the future of cities. Each session focuses on a different dimension of urban uncertainty, from health and housing to crime and climate, and brings together scholars from a handful of disciplines whose work converges on common themes. Events are open to the public but are kept deliberately small in order to encourage focused conversation.

You can download a workshop summary from the event here: Urban Uncertainty_Petro-Urbanisms-summary


    Andrew Barry

    Andrew Barry is Professor of Human Geography at UCL. He has held lectureships in the Department of Human Sciences at Brunel University and the Department of Sociology at Goldsmiths’ College and was a Reader in Geography and subsequently Professor of Political Geography in the School of Geography and the Environment at Oxford University, and a Fellow at St Catherine’s College. He is involved in a series of innovative initiatives in social and geographical theory, which have led to the publication of edited collections of papers relating to the work of Michel Foucault, Michel Callon and Gabriel Tarde..

    Chloé Buire

    Chloé Buire is currently a post-doctoral research associate in the department of Geography at Durham University (UK). She is interested in deciphering the micro-politics of citizenship in urban settings. In Luanda, her work uses ethnographic and visual methods to explore the production of new social orders since the end of the war, from the destruction of existing neighbourhoods to the construction of brand new settlements.

    Nelida Fuccaro

    Nelida Fuccaro is Reader in the Modern History of the Middle East at the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London. Her research focuses on the Arab States of the Persian Gulf, Iraq and Syria with particular reference to urban history, the history of oil, and Middle Eastern frontier societies.  She is the author of The Other Kurds: Yazidis in Colonial Iraq (London: IB Tauris, 1999), Histories of City and State in the Persian Gulf: Manama since 1800 (Cambridge: CUP, 2009, paperback 2011)

    ThienVinh Nguyen

    ThienVinh Nguyen is a second year PhD student at UCL Geography. Her research focuses on urban visions and governance in the wake of an oil discovery in Sekondi-Takoradi, Ghana.

    Gisa Weszkalnys

    Gisa Weszkalnys specializes in the ethnographic study of natural resources, specifically oil in Africa. In the past, she has carried out intensive research on the politics of urban planning, resulting in the monograph Berlin, Alexanderplatz: Transforming Place in a Unified Germany (Berghahn, 2010) and in an edited volume Elusive Promises: Planning in the Contemporary World (ed. with Simone Abram, Berghahn 2013)

    Matt Wilde

    Matt Wilde received his PhD in Anthropology from the London School of Economics (LSE) in 2013. His research interests cover popular politics, social movements, democracy, the state, security/insecurity, morality, political economy and inequality. His work has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the He is currently a Teaching Fellow at the LSE, where he teaches an interdisciplinary social science course, and a Guest Lecturer at the University of Sussex

    Jonathan Silver

    Jonathan is a Leverhulme Early Career Research Fellow at the Urban Institute in the University of Sheffield. Where he is undertaking a project on ‘Postcolonial urbanisms and a comparative theory of infrastructure’. He holds a PhD from Durham University and an MA from the University of Manchester. As an urban geographer, his research agenda is concentrated on developing new ideas and vocabularies specialising in the politics of urban infrastructure with a specific focus on Ghana, Uganda and South Africa.