Position Papers

Following the Spaces of Living in Transformation—In Times of Uncertainty workshop in June 2020, UEI members were invited to write short position papers regarding their presentation topics. These topics fell within three broad themes listed below. Simply click on the author’s name to access the paper.  A PDF version of the entire collection is available at the bottom of the page.


by Eveline Dürr and Regine Keller 

“The Urban Environments Initiative (UEI) hosted a virtual event in June 2020 to further explore urban related topics within an interdisciplinary framework. From this experimental workshop, three core topics addressing up-to-date issues in urban research emerged and inspired a series of succinct position papers…” read more here.

Theme 1: What is the Urban

by Avi Sharma 

“Urban theory began in the second cities of the world. Not New York but Chicago, not London but Manchester, not Europe’s capital Paris but its second city Berlin…” read more here

by Anindya Sinha and Nishant M. Srinivasaiah

“Urbanization is at the forefront of the challenges that India and several other nations of the Global South confront in the twenty-first century. Our rapid urbanization is leading to severe environmental loss…” read more here.

by Felix Mauch 

“In contemporary capitalism, making is inseparable from moving. The world is bound up in supply chains, moving commodities from mines and farmland to factories and supermarket shelves…” read more here

by Simone Müller 

“In the 1980s, there were four things a city could do with its urban waste “burn it, bury it, recycle it, or […] send it on a Caribbean Cruise,” said New York City Mayor, Ed Koch, mockingly…” read more here

by Ferdinand Ludwig 

“Today, buildings are considered to be environmentally friendly if they cause as little damage to the environment as possible and have the smallest possible ecological footprint…” read more here.

by Stephan Pauleit 

“Urbanization is a major trend of the twenty-first century. This trend provides opportunities and causes socialeconomic, and environmental challenges…” read more here

Dorothee Rummel 

“‘Urban living can be bad for our physical and mental health?’ ‘City life and its spatial conditions have a negative effect on people’s wellbeing?’—An increasing number of urban environments are suspected of harming their inhabitants. . .” read more here

by Sasha Gora

“Somewhere between winter’s last roar and spring’s early optimism, I go in search of lunch. A couple of blocks from my office, I settle on soup, an obvious choice… ” read more here.

Theme 2: The Unjust Urban

Young Rae Choi 

“In the geographies of coasts and oceans, reclamation refers to a spatial practice that converts coastal wetlands or shallow seas into dry land or enclosed reservoirs…” read more here.

by Joseph Adeniran Adedeji 

“What is the city and what forces frame its identityDevelopmental megacity projects can illuminate our understanding and guide a re-thinking of the actual meaning of the city…” read more here.  

by Kara Murphy Schlichting 

“In 2011Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced that New York City had six boroughs: Manhattan, the Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, of course, but he counted the city’s 520-mile long waterfront as well…” read more here

by Rob Gioielli 

Major American cities are defined by their unique form of low-density sprawl. Metropolitan areas extend sixty to seventy kilometers from the city centermost homes are single family structures on large lots…” read more here

Theme 3: Accidental Nature

by John Burt, Mary Killilea, and Anne Rademacher 

“For the past several years, natural scientists Mary Killilea and John Burt and anthropologist Anne Rademacher have been thinking about how spaces of nature emerge, and how societies engage them, in coastal cities around the world…” read more here