citiesLAB Volume 1

Researching the spatial and social life of the city

citiesLAB has emerged from collaboration between PhD students at the Cities Programme. citiesLAB reflects the diversity of this interdisciplinary centre which includes architects, sociologists, geographers and planners with a common interests in understanding the interplay between the social and the spatial in the city. The product of this collaboration has been the formation of a working group with the aim of generating a set of common projects that both emerge from and help support the individual doctoral research endeavours of each member.

From our early discussions, a shared ground in terms of our methodological approaches became apparent. Through the process of critiquing each other’s work and in the light of a shared aim of linking social life and spatial form, we came to identify a range of methodological approaches to the study of the city. Our first project comprises a collection of ‘working papers’ established with the aims of both delineating and testing what we refer to as ‘spatial methodologies’ for urban research.

This collection, entitled Researching the spatial and social life of the city, forms the first volume of what is now intended to become an annual publication Cities Programme doctoral research student work. London forms the exploratory setting for the papers in this first publication. Each of the papers in the collection suggests ways in which conventional research methods may either be combined and/or extended in order to enable temporal, spatial and social dimensions of the city to be explored concurrently.

It is envisaged that the working papers series will form a number of ongoing common projects and interventions. This is founded on the principle that collaboration – the sharing of ideas and the development of work in progress – is central to the ethos of academic life.