Ordinary Streets

An ethnography from local to global

Ordinary Streets was an ethnographic and visual exploration of the spaces, economies and cultures of ‘street’, and engages with issues of immigration, adaptation and urban multiculture.

The street is emblematic of the ordinary city, a common urban currency that transmits direct forms of exchange and expression. As a space constituted by ‘ordinary’ citizens, it has a volatile and a convivial capacity: a register for explosive protests as well as quieter, sustained transformations. We turned to the commonplace logic of street to explore everyday transformations and how find out how these are differentially represented through small independent shops, local interest groups, and local government organisations. We aimed to analyse the street in ways that would have significance for policy and planning, as well as interests around immigration and the socio-spatial ‘scapes’ that spans local and global realities. Peckham Rye Lane was the focus of research, an intensely active retail strip in south London appropriated by successive waves of immigrants, and shared with established residents. Fieldwork began in January 2012 and a team of researchers with backgrounds in sociology, architecture and international affairs surveyed, drew, and observed the street.

Nicolas Palominos, architect and graduate of the Cities Programme,  led on the graphic design of this project. Adriana Valdez Young, also a graduate of the Cities Programme, and Sadiq Toffa, contributed a rich array of street images and analysis. Adriana completed her MSc dissertation in 2012 on: Selling & Planning Rye Lane: How cultural permutations of street trade can shape the urban plan. She was awarded the LSE Cities Programme Prize for Academic Achievement.

LSE Cities events
  • 4 July 2014 | Keynote: ‘Super-diverse Capital: Migration and city-making’, LSE Groups 2014: Identity and place research conference, 4 July 2014.
  • 24 June 2014 | ‘Super-diverse Capital: Spatial networks in migrant cities’, IRIS conference on Superdiversity, University of Birmingham, 24 June 2014.
  • 28 April 2014 | ‘The Social Life of Adaptable Space’, Adaptable Suburbs Conference, Bartlett UCL, 28 April 2014.
  • 10 October 2013 | Organiser: ‘Word on the Street: City Vocabularies of Migration and Diversity’, international conference hosted by LSE cities, 10 October 2013.
  • 31 August 2013 | ‘Author meets critic’, panel discussion of City Street and Citizen, Research Committee 21 annual conference on Cities, 31 August 2013.
  • 24 June 2013 | ‘City, Streets and Citizens’, invited presentation, UN Conference on Future of Places, Stockholm, 24 June 2013.
  • 14 June 2013 | Keynote: ‘Cities in the Global Era: Global migration and multilingual streets’, Cities in the Global Era Postgraduate Conference, Department of European and International Studies, Kings College London, 14 June 2013.
  • 15 April 2013 | Association of Convenience Stores Global Summit, invited panellist, Birmingham, 15 April 2013.
  • 2 April 2013 | ‘Rescaling the Transnational City’. British Sociology Association (BSA) annual conference, London, 3 April, and BSA Theory Symposium, London, 2 April 2013.
  • 25 September 2012 | 'The evolving high street', ESRC funded project with the University of Southampton 'The Future of the High Street', London
  • 5 July 2012 | 'Trans-ethnography and city scales', ESRC Research Methods Festival, University of Oxford
  • 10 February 2014 | ‘Locating Urban Migartion: From Census to street’, LSE London series on ‘Migration and the Transformation of London’, 10 February 2014.
  • 14 January 2014 | ‘Locating Urban Migration’, Department of Geography, University of Southampton, 22 January 2014.
  • 22 November 2013 | ‘The Future of an Inner City Town Centre’, invited presentation to the London Borough of Southwark planning and regeneration officers, Southwark Council offices, 22 November 2013.
  • 6 November 2013 | ‘Locating Urban Migration’, Seminar Series, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, 6 November 2013.
  • 7 May 2013 | ‘Ordinary Streets’, presentation to the Southwark Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Southwark Council Offices, 23 April and 7 May 2013.
  • 30 April 2013 | ‘Invisible Infrastructure: Land subdivision as power’. Visiting Einstein Fellow, Seminar at Humboldt University, Berlin, 30 April 2013.
  • 5 April 2013 | ‘Establishing Thought Leadership in the Evolution of Town and City Centres’, roundtable discussion hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Town Centres, House of Commons, 5 April 2013.
  • 13 February 2013 | ‘Rescaling the Transnational City’: Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford, 14 February 2013.
  • 1 February 2013 | ‘Ordinary Streets: Cultural diversity/economic diversity’, The Brixton Exchange, University College London and Anchor and Magnet, 1 February 2013.
  • 14 December 2012 | Keynote: ‘Street Commons: Crisis and Loose Cohesions ’, Keynote Address, Post-Crash City conference, University of York. York, 14-15 December 2012.
  • 3 July 2012 | 'Street Stewardship' Invited panellist, Association of Town Centre Management, Summer School, University of Bristol
Public lectures
  • 20 April 2011 | 'What kind of city does a street make?', Public lecture, School of Architecture, University of Cape Town
  • 11 March 2013 | ‘City, Street and Citizen’, Public Lecture, London Southbank University. London, 11 March 2013.
  • 6 May 2014 | ‘Locating Urban Migration’, IGK Public Lecture Series, Centre for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin, 6 May 2014.
  • 29 April 2013 | ‘Rescaling the Transnational City’. Humboldt University, Think and Drink Public lecture, Berlin, 29 April 2013.
  • 19 June 2014 | ‘Super-diverse Street: Towards a trans-ethnography’, MPI MMG Lecture Series, Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity, 19 June 2014.
  • 14 November 2013 | ‘Learning Street Economies’, two part public seminar, Learning from Kilburn project, 14 & 21 November 2013.
  • 10 June 2014 | Keynote: ‘Ordinary Mobility: Framing social complexity, exploring migration’, Everyday Life and Ordinary Geographies Workshop, UCL, 10 June 2014.
  • 31 May 2013 | ‘Parallel Cosmopolitanisms: The (mis)alignments of Bellenden Road and Rye Lane’, Rethinking Centres and Peripheries ESRC Research Seminar, Goldsmiths, University of London, 31 May 2013.
  • 8 July 2013 | ‘The Creative Life of Rye Lane: Ecosystems of economic and cultural diversity’, Peckham Town Centre Workshop on Parallel Economies, Peckham Vision community group, All Saints Church Hall, 8 July 2013.
Journal articles
Book chapters
Research reports
Blog posts
Book reviews
  • Book Review: Lindsay Bremner, 2010, Writing the City into Being: Essays on Johannesburg 1998-2008 and Martin J. Murray, 2010 City of Extremes: The spatial politics of Johannesburg, Antipode, vol.44, no.2, pp. 1569-1571.