Urban ARC 2022 | Beyond Binaries
IIHS Annual Research Conference | 13 – 15 January 2022
Urban ARC 2022 | Beyond Binaries
IIHS Annual Research Conference | 13 – 15 January 2022
The sixth edition of Urban ARC, the Annual Research Conference of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), will be conducted virtually from 13 to 15 January 2022. The theme for this edition is ‘Beyond Binaries: Towards new conceptual frameworks in the Urban’.
In her article, ‘Global and World Cities: A view from off the Map’, published in 2002, Jennifer Robinson argued that urban studies as a field was divided between urban theory and the western or “global” cities on one side, and the development studies and the “third world cities” on the other. Such a categorisation held cities around the world to western global city standards, which Robinson argued, did not capture the vagaries of contemporary urbanization (Robinson, 2002). Two decades later, however, Robinson’s compelling critique still holds true, particularly in the context of an increasingly globalised present and future. Cities across the globe differ in their experience and negotiations with emergent urban phenomena. Understanding and studying these phenomena thus requires thinking beyond existing binaries.
Conceptualized within the theme of the conference are three important, intersecting ideas. The first is the idea of binaries and other kinds of categorisation which inform various traditions of knowledge production, in multiple ways. The centrality of dialogue from opposing positions, and the emergence of novel positions in its wake has been the key in the creation and development of knowledge over time. This edition of Urban ARC pivots off of this centrality.
The second is the ways in which binary positions have evolved in various traditions of knowledge production, allowing them to go beyond these initial positions. This transition has not been consistent in depth, scope or velocity across disciplines and knowledge traditions. This has ranged from using binaries differently to address important issues, the use of multivalent systems of definition and organisation, to challenging the use of categorisation itself. It is in this context that we conceptualize the beyond as a post-duality space that can be celebrated for the multiplicities it holds.
The third conceptual idea is the Urban, imagined as a space in which the tension between binaries and the beyond play out. The Urban, while being notionally organised around cartographic boundaries, goes beyond them to include a complex system of ideas, systems, processes, practices, lived experiences and emergent policies that can be understood only through a range of innovative theoretical and methodological approaches. Urban ARC 2022 provides the space for conversations along these vectors.
Binaries have been used repeatedly to classify and categorise phenomena to better facilitate our understanding of people and things (Cloke & Johnston, 2005). Although binaries engage with the idea of opposites, they are also closely connected; one cannot exist without the other: e.g. there may be no rural without an urban; no formal without an understanding of the informal. Between binaries, lies space for continued negotiation. These negotiations based on emerging realities, new ways of thinking and being have often transcended binary thinking, paving way for a continuum of possibilities that emerge around the evident tensions between two opposites.
This conference aims to build on and continue ongoing conversations around the question of categories like binaries that has been an important part of post-colonial discourse in fields such as feminism, philosophy, and environmental sciences, among others (Walker, 2001; Culler, 2001; Whatmore, 2017; Kayumova et al, 2019). The re-examining of these binaries and inherent tensions has led to the emergence of new categories that are evident in several ways and forms, from daily lived experiences to analytical tools – from the politics of the right and left, the economics of formal and informal, to the spatiality of rural and urban.
The notion of moving beyond binaries manifests in several ways; in our conceptual, methodological and analytical interpretation of things. The dismantling of binaries has been critical in the context of an increasingly globalised, interconnected and urban world that is constantly pushing, debating and re-examining existing boundaries. Researchers, especially those located in the global South have consistently called for and worked towards rethinking what these categories mean, primarily because of the diverse experiences of rapid globalisation and urbanisation across cities (Shatkin, 2007; Robinson, 2011). In the last few decades, conceptual debates around the global North and South (Schindler 2017; Watson 2009; Parnell 2012) have increasingly focussed on the need for a “southern urban theory”, to conceptualise the heterogeneity and experiences of the cities in the global South that cannot be confined to the north/south binaries.
Debates have ranged from theorising the urban, to thinking of ways to engage with emerging urban phenomena, that are new, disparate and cannot be distinctly categorised. Studying these complex urban systems requires moving beyond traditional disciplinary silos and instead, adopting an interdisciplinary and cross-sectoral approach. An immediate example of this has been the COVID-19 pandemic that has amplified existing socio-economic inequalities and questioned the type of interventions required to understand the urban in the context of a “new normal”. In an attempt to conceptualise these urban futures, a more recent move has been towards a ‘new urban science’ that emphasises interdisciplinary research and practice in addressing challenges of the 21st century city (Keith et al., 2020). Methodologically as well, there has been a shift towards the use of big data and modelling approaches to study these futures (ibid.), as well as a collective conceptual attempt towards blurring the categories of policy, research, practice and academia to address the challenges of urbanisation.
At a global as well as the local scale, the increasing role of digital technologies has resulted in a significant shift within the imagined categories of certain sectors and disciplines. While the field of technology is rooted in structure and form, the application and adaptation of these has paved the way for opportunities and possibilities that offer new conceptual frameworks of examining the impacts and implications of these changes (Davies, A.R et al, 2017; Surie, 2021). For example, with respect to labour markets, the move towards digital and platform economy has re-defined the future of work, blurring the boundaries of formal and informal labour. More recently, in the context of COVID-19, digital technology has made it possible for a certain section of the society to effectively work, learn and communicate online. Similarly, new and digital media has been crucial in changing the discourse around media, arts, literature and cinema studies to reflect the change in media consumption patterns as well as the changing mediascapes.
The idea of moving beyond categories also extends to our understanding of social realities and by extension, our self. Questions of gender, caste, class, ethnicity, religion, language have and still continue to hold a pivotal place in defining one’s identity. These questions are interconnected, deeply rooted in systemic complexities, and cannot be dealt with in isolation. Recent debates around these themes have contested existing categories, particularly with regard to navigating identities of caste and gender.
While they tend to be limiting in nature, categories are also essential. They have played a fundamental role in structuring, organising and making sense of data, spatial mapping, delineating administrative boundaries, among others. Defining jurisdictions of city-like units (Brenner, 2014) using terms such as peri-urban, municipality, municipal corporation, metropolitan region etc, “reflect the changing boundaries, morphologies and scales of human settlement patterns” (Brenner 2014, p 15), and are critical to the process of governance. It also has particular implications for access to relief care, welfare and social protection schemes and programmes.
Binaries, and categories more broadly hold multiple possibilities of negotiation; breaking away, re-imagining, re-conceptualising and realigning. Urban ARC 2022 intends to capture this versatility of binaries; the fluidity, the duality and the several potentialities of conceptualizations that they offer. The conference invites researchers, practitioners and policy makers to engage in dialogues around the theme, ‘beyond binaries’ using diverse modes of engagement- conceptual, methodological, historical, analytical. We encourage submissions across various sectors (e.g. governance, environment and sustainability, infrastructure and services, housing, and social identity, among others), disciplines (e.g. media, social-sciences, behavioural sciences, humanities, architecture, planning) and methods (quantitative, qualitative, mixed methods), using the lens of research, academia, policy and practice.
Dates and Procedures:
|28 November 2021||Deadline for submitting extended abstracts|
|18 December 2021||Announcement of selected papers|
|13-15 January 2022||Urban ARC 2022|
Interested applicants should send in an extended abstract of 1,500-2,000 words using the ‘application’ tab on the website. All abstracts will be published as part of the Conference Proceedings.
Please note, abstracts have to be submitted in the format prescribed below. Abstracts not in this format will not be considered for inclusion in the conference proceedings.
The conference will be conducted virtually via the Zoom Webinar platform. For queries regarding the conference, write to us at email@example.com
Brenner, N. (2014). Implosions/explosions. Berlin: Jovis.
Cloke, P., & Johnston, R. (2005). Deconstructing human geography’s binaries. Spaces of geographical thought: Deconstructing human geography’s binaries, 1-20
Culler, J. (2001). Deconstruction: Cultural Concerns.
Davies, A. R., Donald, B., Gray, M., & Knox-Hayes, J. (2017). Sharing economies: moving beyond binaries in a digital age. Cambridge journal of regions, economy and society, 10(2), 209-230.
Kayumova, S., McGuire, C. J., & Cardello, S. (2019). From empowerment to response-ability: rethinking socio-spatial, environmental justice, and nature-culture binaries in the context of STEM education. Cultural Studies of Science Education, 14(1), 205-229.
Keith, M., O’Clery, N., Parnell, S. & Revi, A. 2020. The future of the future city? The new urban sciences and a PEAK Urban interdisciplinary disposition. Cities, 105 (102820)
Robbins, S. P. (2015). From the editor—The red pill or the blue pill? Transcending binary thinking
Robinson, J. (2002) Global and World Cities: A View from off the Map. IJURR, 26(3):531–554.
Robinson, J. (2011). Cities in a world of cities: The comparative gesture. International journal of urban and regional research, 35(1), 1-23.
Shatkin, G. (2007). Global cities of the South: Emerging perspectives on growth and inequality. Cities, 24(1), 1-15
Schindler, S. (2017). Towards a paradigm of Southern urbanism. City, 21(1), 47-64.
Surie, A. (2021). Coalitions of Socio-Technical Infrastructure: Platforms as Essential Services. Communication, Culture and Critique, 14(3), 539-544.
Walker, R. (2001). Becoming the third wave. Identity politics in the women’s movement, 3(13), 78-80.
Whatmore, S. (2017). Hybrid geographies: rethinking the ‘human’ in human geography. In Environment (pp. 411-428). Routledge.
All sessions are at Indian Standard Time (IST)
|Thursday, 13 January, 2022|
|9:00 am – 9:30 am||Opening remarks by Aromar Revi, Director, IIHS||Register Here|
|9:30 am – 10:00 am||Break|
|10:00 am – 11:30 am||Panel 1: Urban ecologies: Cities, ecosystems, and ‘nature’|
Chair: Jagdish Krishnaswamy
|Abohar ‘in-between’ ecology and infrastructures|
Apoorva Sharma and Shilpa Dahake, Abohar Urban Studio
|Resisting fixity and control: Ganga Diaras of Patna|
Archana Singh, People’s Resource Centre, Delhi
|Negotiating Aarey: Knowledge production in urban ecology|
Vaishnavi Patil, Community Design Agency, Mumbai
|Persistent conservation behaviour in affluent households: Use of a theoretically-grounded intervention|
Vivek, Independent Researcher; Deepak Malghan and Kanchan Mukherjee, Indian Institute of Management, Bengaluru
|Visualising the urban: Seeing water pipes in Darjeeling and Kalimpong|
Rinan Shah, Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment; Manipal Academy of Higher Education and Anisa Bhutia, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
|11:30 am – 12:00 pm||Break|
|12:00 pm – 1:30 pm||Panel 2: ‘Home as a Place of Work’: Ways of moving beyond the binary|
Chair: Shalini Sinha
|‘Home as a Place of Work’: An overview of the conceptual binary & its Implications|
Shalini Sinha, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing & Organizing (WIEGO)
|Housing design beyond Home/ Workplace boundaries: Findings from The Workhome Project|
Frances Holliss, The Workhome Project, London Metropolitan University
|Improving home-based work environments for informal workers: Learnings from the interventions of Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT)|
Bijal Brahmbhatt, Mahila Housing SEWA Trust (MHT)
|Mapping home-based work in Delhi: Insights for city planning|
Malavika Narayan, Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing & Organizing (WIEGO)
|1:30 pm – 2:30 pm||Break|
|2:30 pm – 4:00 pm||Panel 3: Feeding the city: Agriculture in the urban|
Chair: Chandni Singh
|The monsoon above and below ground: Towards an architecture of suspension|
Harshavardhan Bhat, University of Westminster and Anthony Powis, Central Saint Martins – University of the Arts, London
|What will it take to recognise agriculture in city?: Some insights from Delhi and the challenges|
Aakiz Farooq and Nishant, People’s Resource Centre, Delhi
|Quantifying the long term environmental impacts of UPA|
Ashwin Mahalingam, U. Srilok Sagar, Yatharth Singh, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras and Teja Malladi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
|Agrarianizing the urban. Geographies for negotiating agrarian-urban uncertainty and precarity|
Ankita Rathi, Independent Researcher
|4:00 pm – 4:30 pm||Break|
|4:30 pm – 6:00 pm||Panel 4: Developing an urban curriculum for the Global South|
Adriana Allen, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London
|Panel Introduction |
Shriya Anand, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
Julia Wesely, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London
|Caren Levy, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit (DPU), University College London|
|Wilbard Kombe, Ardhi University|
|Jorge Pena Diaz and Joiselen Cazanave Macías, Urban Research & Action Group, Instituto Superior Politécnico José Antonio Echeverria (CUJAE)|
|Edgar Pieterse, African Centre for Cities|
|Darshini Mahadevia, Ahmedabad University|
|Aromar Revi, Indian Institute for Human Settlements|
|6:00 pm – 6:30 pm||Break|
|6:30 pm – 8:00 pm||Panel 4: Developing an urban curriculum for the Global South (continued)|
|Friday, 14 January, 2022|
|9:30 am – 11:00 am||Panel 5: Shifting identities: Locating diversity in the urban|
Chair: Gautam Bhan
|After land titling: “Useless” property rights and subaltern citizenship in Hyderabad|
Indivar Jonnalagadda, University of Pennsylvania
|Caste in the urban: Spatiality and identity in peripheral Bangalore|
Andrew Desouza and Bagavanidhi M, Independent Researchers
|Where are the modern Jajmans? :Politics, caste organization and community mobilization amongst urban, migrant Bhumihars today|
Vrishali, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
|Residential Segregation and Unequal Access to Local Public Services in India: Evidence from 1.6m Neighborhoods|
Anjali Adukia, Sam Asher, Kritarth Jha, Paul Novosad, Brandon Tan, Development Data Lab
|Beyond class-based binaries in political mobilisation: A case study of Islamabad, Pakistan|
Hafsah Siddiqui, Department of Geography, University of Cambridge
|Reclaiming public life in Delhi’s urban villages|
Sophiya Islam, CEPT University
|11:00 am – 11:30 am||Break|
|11.30 am – 1:00 pm||Panel 6: Working the city: Livelihoods, mobility, and space|
Chair: Aditi Surie
|Travelling in the cosmos: Exploring rurban sensibility amongst the rural cosmopolitans in Hyderabad, India|
Tirthankar Chakraborty, Institute of Social and Cultural Anthropology, Freie Universität Berlin
|Are urban working women in the organized sector under the double burden syndrome?|
K. Saradhambika, GITAM School of Humanities
|Re-imagining duality of urbanization in new normal: Deepening multidimensional marginality of urban poor in neo-liberal Indian cities|
Shadab Anis, National Institute of Educational Planning and Administration (NIEPA)
|Beyond internal and international migration: Exploring everyday spatialities of Indian women migrants in Hyderabad, India and Melbourne, Australia|
Dr. SriPallavi Nadimpalli, Independent Researcher
|Mediating social entrepreneurship for development in South Africa and India: Demonstrating entanglements of neoliberal economic logics and social missions|
Vrinda Chopra, University of Cape Town
|1:00 pm – 2:30 pm||Break|
|2:30 pm – 4:00 pm||Panel 7: Rethinking spatiality: Moving beyond the urban|
Chair: Sudeshna Mitra
|Urban life at the extensions: Beyond binaries|
AbdouMaliq Simone, The Urban Institute, University of Sheffield
|Spatial design practice in a post-post city: a situated southern urbanist inquiry around how|
Jhono Bennett, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London
|Extended urbanisation as postcolonial theory: A relational comparative perspective from India and Brazil|
Rodrigo Castriota, Beyond Inhabitation Lab, DIST, Polytechnic and University of Turin and Nitin Bathla, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich
|Spaces for citizen-driven innovation? Mapping tensions and potentials within urban makerspaces|
Stuti Haldar, Indian Institute for Human Settlements and Gautam Sharma, DST – Centre for Policy Research, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
|Globalisation and changing spatial imaginaries: Reflections from contemporary Kerala|
Mijo Luke, Centre for Development Studies (CDS), Thiruvananthapuram
|4:00 pm – 4:30 pm||Break|
|4:30 pm – 6:00 pm||Panel 8: Navigating and practicing planning: Urban practitioners in dialogue|
Chair: Geetika Anand
|Co-producing knowledge: Methods, moments and experiences from the Main Bhi Dilli Campaign, India|
Malavika Narayan, WIEGO; Rashee Mehra and Ruchika Lall, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
|Inclusive cities and land rights for urban poor: Reflecting from Jharkhand|
Lakhi Das, Activist, Adarsh Seva Sansthan
|Learning from disappointments: The innovative expert, the impatient civil society and the persistence of regulatory capture in Mumbai’s development plan 2034|
|Reflections on the legal empowerment of community representatives in Buenos Aires, Argentina|
Rosario Fassina, Asociación Civil por la Igualdad y la Justicia (ACIJ)
|Planning and power: Participatory adaptive planning approaches in Kenya|
Diana Wachira, Pamoja Trust
|6:00 pm – 6:30 pm||Break|
|6:30 pm – 8:00 pm||Panel 9: Research, funding, and partnerships: Collaboration across the North & South|
Chair: Neha Sami
|Risks and returns from large scale funding for urban research|
Michael Keith, Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford; Susan Parnell, University of Bristol
|The paradox: Economic growth that endangers the future of research in Colombia.|
Juan C. Duque, EAFIT University
|Rethinking the research funding process|
Neha Sami, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
|Why is it more important than ever for urban South scholars to generate global work?: Reflections from the borders of (global) urban and sexualities research|
Andrew Tucker, African Centre for Cities
|Saturday, 15 January, 2022|
|11:00 am – 1:00 pm||Panel 10: India’s Greenfield Urban Future|
Chair: Loraine Kennedy
|India’s greenfield urban future: An introduction|
Ashima Sood, Anant National University and Loraine Kennedy, National Centre for Scientific Research (CNRS), Research Director, Centre for South Asian Studies (CEIAS) at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS), Paris
|Industrial Zone to New Skycity: The (Un) Making of India’s First Aerotropolis|
Gopa Samanta, The University of Burdwan
|Dholera: The emperor’s new city|
Preeti Sampat, Urban Studies Foundation International Fellow, Department of Geography, School of Environment, Education and Development, University of Manchester; School of Liberal Studies, Ambedkar University, Delhi
|Scaling up, scaling down: State rescaling along the Delhi–Mumbai Industrial Corridor|
Neha Sami and Shriya Anand, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
|Roads to new urban futures: State strategies of peri-urban Place- Making in India|
Sudeshna Mitra, Indian Institute for Human Settlements
|1:00 pm – 2:30 pm||Break|
|2:30 pm – 4:00 pm||Panel 11: Producing space: Urban form, planning, and spatialisation|
Chair: Prathijna Poonacha Kodira
|Between a town with ‘totas’ and the Garden City : An exploration of Bangalore and its gardens in the early twentieth century.|
Elza D’Cruz, Manipal Academy of Higher Education; Srishti Manipal Institute of Art, Design and Technology
|Tracing liminal spaces : Understanding the fundamental nature of urban thresholds|
Ruju H Joshi, CEPT University
|Kaccha-Pakka: An enduring binary: Building taxonomy, spatial production and architectural pedagogy|
Parul Kiri Roy, School of Planning and Architecture, New Delhi
|Betwixt and the Bhoot: Urban rehabilitation as antitheticality in action|
Azania Imtiaz Khatri-Patel, Blavatnik School of Government, University of Oxford
|Socio-spatial aspects of organic and planned Dhaka: The sense of community and communal resilience embedded on indigenous settlement pattern|
Kareshma-E-Shams, Independent Researcher
|Social media and contemporary architecture in India – Instagram as the proverbial chronophotographic gun|
Ekta Idnany, CEPT University
|4:00 pm – 4:30 pm||Break|
|4:30 pm – 6:00 pm||Panel 12: Formal/informal, public/private: Shifting categories|
Chair: Neethi P
|Insights into informal settlements through the spatial (re)appropriation of public spaces: The case studies of Lahore, Pakistan|
M. Mashhood Arif, Yves Schoonjans and Oswald Devisch, KU Leuven, Belgium
|Using the built environment as an entry-point to understand urban informality|
Nerea Amoros Elorduy, Creative Assemblages; Nikhilesh Sinha, Hult International Business School; Colin Marx, University College London
|Mills to real estate: the trajectories of urban transformation across locked industrial lands in Serampore, Hooghly|
Angana Banerjee, Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai
|Too many worlds: Cognitive and catallactic entanglement in urban political economy|
Jayat Joshi, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras
|Beyond the binaries of planning and pollution: Tales of entanglement in the Tel Aviv metropolitan region|
Nathan Marom, School of Sustainability, Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, Israel
|6:00 pm – 6:30 pm||Break|
|6:30 pm – 8:00 pm||Panel 13: Governing in the urban: Across scale, space, and institutions|
Chair: Neha Sami
|Binaries of practice in the development of large infrastructure|
Shreya Pillai, Independent Researcher
|When governments rank governments: Gaming in city sustainability rankings|
K Rahul Sharma, University of California, Santa Barbara; Centre for Policy Research
|Governing the bodies and producing the fit city- Three logics to open gym in Delhi, India|
Lakshyayog, Jawaharlal Nehru University
|Participation as a game of cards: Pluriversal planning in the favela of Rocinha, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil|
Thaisa Comelli, Federal University of Rio de Janeiro; Development Planning Unit – University College London
|Heritage and hesitant urban production in Pondicherry: Flirting with urban coastal villages|
Lalitha M, Nicolas Bautès, Devangi Ramakrishnan, French Institute of Pondicherry