Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - Stadt- und Regionalsoziologie

Prof. Christian Schmid at the Think & Drink Colloquium

Montag, 01.06.2015 Christian Schmid, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich Planetary Urbanization: Towards a new epistemology of the urban?
  • Wann 01.06.2015 von 18:00 bis 20:00
  • Wo Raum 002: Universitätsstr. 3b, 10117 Berlin
  • iCal

Montag, 01.06.2015


Christian Schmid, Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich


Planetary Urbanization: Towards a new epistemology of the urban?


New forms of urbanization are unfolding around the world challenging inherited conceptions of the urban as a fixed, bounded and universally generalizable settlement type. The field of urban studies has produced a vast array of images, models and maps of urban conditions in the modern world, most of which presuppose the boundedness, distinctiveness and coherence of “urban” units relative to a purportedly “non-urban” realm said to be located outside or beyond it. However, throughout the history of capitalism, the process of urbanization has relentlessly blurred the urban/non-urban divide, generating new constellations of large-scale sociospatial connectivity, intensified land-use, and socio-metabolic transformation.

This talk will report on the ongoing collaborative work with Neil Brenner on planetary urbanization. Building upon reflexive approaches to critical social theory and our own research on planetary urbanization, we argue for a radical rethinking of inherited epistemological assumptions regarding the urban and urbanization. In this conceptualization, the emphasis on urban settlement types is superseded by an investigation of variegated urbanization processes. Our arguments are intended to ignite and advance further debate on the epistemological foundations for critical urban theory and practice today.



Christian Schmid is geographer and sociologist. He is Professor at the Department of Architecture, ETH Zurich. He is a founding member of the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA). He is the author of Stadt, Raum und Gesellschaft: Henri Lefebvre und die Theorie der Produktion des Raumes (Steiner, 2005), a critical reconstruction of Henri Lefebvre’s theory of the production of space; co-author of Switzerland: An Urban Portrait (together with Roger Diener, Jacques Herzog, Marcel Meili, Pierre de Meuron; Birkhäuser, 2006); and co-editor of Urban Revolution Now: Henri Lefebvre in Social Research and Architecture (together with Łukasz Stanek and Ákos Moravánszky; Ashgate, 2015). He currently works together with Neil Brenner on the development of a renewed theory of urbanization. In the framework of the ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore he leads a project on the international comparison of urbanization processes in eight large urban regions.

Mitteilungen des Instituts




Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Unter den Linden 6
10099 Berlin



Institut für Sozialwissenschaften
Universitätsstraße 3b
10117 Berlin