Urban ARC 2019 | City and the Region

IIHS Annual Research Conference, 10~12 Jan, 2019

The third edition of Urban ARC, the Annual Research Conference of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) will be held from 10 – 12 January 2019, at the IIHS Bengaluru City Campus. The theme for the 2019 edition is ‘City and the Region’.


Scholarship on the relationship between cities and their surrounding regions has a long history, dating back at least to MacKinner’s conceptualisation of London as a city-region in 1902. Since then, much research has been dedicated to understanding the linkages which exist between the two. Over time, these conceptualisations have been challenged, reimagined, and redrawn, particularly as studies of cities have extended to the Global South.


In recent experience, conventionally imagined boundaries between cities and their regions are shifting. Since Japan’s experience of building the Taiheiyo belt around the Tokaido-Sanyo rail corridor led to the creation of a mega-urban region, models of urban and industrial corridors have been extended to various parts of Asia (such as the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor). Along with corridors, other emerging spatial forms challenge conventional notions of cities and regions. These include Special Economic Zones, Industrial Townships, and Special Investment Regions.


In India, the cyclical flow of rural residents to and from urban areas for work been recognised, reframing questions of urban housing, employment, social security, residency, and citizen rights. Migration to cities allows for strong links to persist with certain regions, with new migrants utilising networks of families and friends to establish themselves in cities. Additionally, the spatial organisation of economies around nodes, originally emerging within economic plans, is now acknowledged by geographers, via ideas of hierarchic regional and locational systems[1]


In South Africa, the experience of re-imagining cities and regions post-apartheid has strongly influenced planning processes, culminating in the country adopting an Integrated Urban Development Framework or IUDF in 2016[2]. In South America, scholars are moving beyond the debates on growth pole and dependency theories of the 1960s and 70s to examine deeper questions of territoriality.[3] Brazil has witnessed increased emphasis on regional planning by state governments since 2005[4], as well as on scholarship of ‘non-planned’ and organic transformations of planned cities like Brasilia.[5]


In other parts of the world, earlier scholarship on splintering urbanism[6] has moved ahead to deal with new urban forms such as Smart Cities and consequent changing conceptualisations of infrastructure, policy, and governance[7]. Ideas such as planetary urbanisation[8] are not only being articulated by urban theorists but are also being contested as debated (as seen in a recent edition of Society and Space[9])


In parallel, urban practitioners and policymakers are contending with new impacts including transforming migration patterns, changing employment demographics, transitioning public infrastructure requirements and increasing demands of foreign capital inflows. Emerging policy is also beginning to focus on planned integrated spaces such as SEZs, and industrial corridors that cross city and state jurisdictions and are imagined as integrated regions. Additionally, calls for development via infrastructurally integrated regions have increased in international circles in recent years[10]. These changes are also being reflected in governance, with increased calls for Metropolitan governance bodies on one hand[11] and an increasing emphasis on Special Purpose Vehicles and Regional Development Authorities on another[12].


Quito Declaration on Sustainable Cities and Human Settlements for All involved the participation of mayors, local and regional authorities, civil society and community groups, the private sector and urban planners. The declaration made a key commitment to “supporting territorial systems that integrate urban and rural functions into the national and subnational spatial frameworks and the systems of cities and human settlements” thus highlighting how some cities have also transcended their surrounding regions by becoming political actors, forming global networks to work on common issues.


There is a need for scholars currently developing new knowledge to critically examine the complex inter-relationships that cities share with regions. Urban ARC 2019 seeks to be a space for such discussions and investigations.


Call for Papers

Urban ARC 2019 seeks to examine and unpack these themes around the city and region by examining a wide-range of intersections – sectoral, disciplinary, methodological and geographic. It offers a space for conversations on theoretical and methodological research interventions across disciplinary silos.


We invite scholars, researchers, and practitioners who work on these themes to submit paper proposals studying the relationships and linkages between the city and region. Some examples of such research topics could include (but are not limited to):

  • Examinations of changing city-region dynamics in the Global South, given changing urbanisation patterns in the 21st Century
  • Impacts of growing cities upon resource and environmental conservation.
  • Transformations in land markets and land governance in the light of integrated regional planning in the Global South.
  • Histories of regional transport networks (such as railways and highways) in Asia and Africa
  • Impacts of local cultural factors upon regional planning processes
  • The evolving nature of media representations of Cities and Regions
  • Implications of regional economic development for federal political structures
  • The role of kinship and family networks in employment driven migration
  • Sustainable energy management in organically developed city-regions
  • Health impacts of regional-scale waste and wastewater management networks
  • Growing multi-lingualism and emerging conflicts in the City-Region.
  • The implications of changing rural-urban migration patterns for urban skilling programmes.
  • The implications of new city governance networks (Eg: coalitions of city governments for climate change) for administrative reforms under the 74th Constitutional Amendment.
  • The socioeconomic impact of transit-oriented development upon peri-urban spaces.
  • Linkages between real estate development in peri-urban regions and employment patterns in the city.
  • Incorporating ecological conservation practices into metropolitan development plans.


Please note that the examples listed above are illustrative of topics and are not categories under which papers could be submitted.


If you would like to propose a panel for the conference, please write to us at research@iihs.ac.in for more information.


Dates and Procedures

28 October 2018 | 11.59 pm Deadline for Submitting Abstracts
26 November 2018   Announcement of Selected Papers
25 December 2018  Submission of Completed Papers
10 – 12 January 2019 Urban ARC 2019



Urban ARC 2019 will be held at
Indian Institute for Human Settlements’
Bengaluru City Campus (BCC),
2nd Main Road,
Sadashivanagar, Bengaluru – 560 080.


Financial Support

Limited financial support is available for early career scholars. Participants wishing to avail of support must contact research@iihs.ac.in



All copyright for original work will lie with the author. IIHS will use material only with prior permission.


About the Indian Institute for Human Settlements

The Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS) is a national education institution committed to the equitable, sustainable and efficient transformation of Indian settlements. More details about IIHS, its research, practice, and work can be found at iihs.co.in.



[1] See Bhat, ICSSR Research Surveys and Explorations: Economic Geography, Volumes 1 & 2.

[2] See http://www.cogta.gov.za/cgta_2016/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/The-Intergrated-Urban-Development-FrameworkIUDF.pdf

[3] See Irazabal, Revisiting Urban Planning in Latin America and the Caribbean (2009), UNHABITAT, for more details.

[4] See Pereira da Silva, Municipal and Regional Planning in Brazil (2009), 46th ISOCARP Congress

[5] See Irazabal (ibid.)

[6] See Graham, Steve Graham, and Marvin, Splintering Urbanism: Networked Infrastructures, Technological Mobilities and the Urban Condition.

[7] See Guy, Marvin and Medd, Shaping Urban Infrastructures: Intermediaries and the Governance of Socio-Technical Networks (2010), Routledge

[8] See Brenner, Implosions/Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization.

[9] See Environment and Planning D, Society and Space, Volume 36, Issue 3, February 2018

[10] See United Nations ECLAC Bulletin (Issue No. 280, 2009); Koruda, Infrastructure and Regional Co-operation, Annual Conference on Development Economics (2006) for examples.

[11] Eg: Calls for the formation of the Bengaluru Metropolitan Planning Committee in Bengaluru, India.

[12] Eg: The Dholera Special Investment Regional Development Authority in Dholera, India or the Iskandar Regional Development Authority in Iskandar, Malaysia.

In addition to the panels and paper presentations, Urban ARC 2019 will feature additional events including special curated panels and art events. Additional information on special events are forthcoming.  Please email research [at] iihs dot ac dot in to get regular updates.