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Neil Brenner: The Urban Age in Question

Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:00 PM (CST)

Neil Brenner: The Urban Age in Question

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The Urban Age in Question


JAN 28, 2013, 6 PM.


In what sense is the 21st century world urban? In this lecture, Neil Brenner critiques contemporary ideologies of the "urban age," which confront this question with reference to the purported fact that more than 50% of the world's population resides within cities. Against such demographic, city-centric understandings, Brenner excavates Henri Lefebvre's (1970) notion of generalized urbanization for conceptual and methodological insights into the 21st century planetary urban condition. He argues that the geographies of urbanization can no longer be conceptualized with reference to cities, metropolitan regions or even megalopolises, but today encompass diverse patterns and pathways across the planetary sociospatial landscape, from Manhattan to the Matterhorn, from the Pearl River Delta to Mount Everest, from the Nile River valley to the Pacific Ocean. This variegated urban fabric must become the focal point for new approaches to urban theory, strategies of collective intervention and imaginaries of built environments.

This talk is co-presented by the Chicago Expander at Archeworks and the Graham Foundation.

Neil Brenner is Professor of Urban Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD) and the coordinator of the newly founded Urban Theory Lab GSD. He previously served as Professor of Sociology and Metropolitan Studies, and as an affiliated faculty member of the American Studies Program at New York University. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Chicago (1999); an MA in Geography from UCLA (1996); and a BA in Philosophy from Yale College (1991).

The Chicago Expander at Archeworks aims to spatialize the formation of Chicago as a larger geographic entity and recasts the city and its region as a spatial model. The program is directed by Iker Gil and Antonio Petrov.

Archeworks is a multidisciplinary design educator that advances design in the public interest and inspires collaborative action to shape more healthy, sustainable and equitable communities.


Please note that seating will be first come first served. Doors will open at 5:30PM.

'The Lost Vanguard: Soviet Modernist Architecture 1922-32' will be on view in the Madlener House galleries until February 16, 2013.


Have questions about Neil Brenner: The Urban Age in Question? Contact Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

When & Where

4 West Burton Place
Chicago, 60610

Monday, January 28, 2013 at 6:00 PM (CST)

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Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts

Founded in 1956, the Graham Foundation for Advanced Studies in the Fine Arts makes project-based grants to individuals and organizations and produces public programs to foster the development and exchange of diverse and challenging ideas about architecture and its role in the arts, culture, and society. 


Barbara Kasten: Stages 
October 1–January 9, 2016

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Neil Brenner: The Urban Age in Question
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