Dr Juan Miguel Kanai

Department of Geography

Senior Lecturer in Human Geography

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+44 114 222 7940

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Dr Juan Miguel Kanai
Department of Geography
Geography and Planning Building
Winter Street
S3 7ND

J. Miguel Kanai is an urban geographer. His work engages the urbanisation of the world under contemporary globalised capitalism. He is specifically concerned with the consequences of intensified inter-territorial competition and the various entrepreneurial strategies adopted by cities and regions in the global South as these are pressured to achieve economic upgrading and provide world-class infrastructure amidst unmet social needs and political contentiousness.

His previously published work includes multiple peer-reviewed articles in international geography and interdisciplinary journals taking stock of the consequences and motivations of culture-led regeneration schemes in Buenos Aires, Argentina as well as the rise of eco-entrepreneurialism in the Brazilian state of Amazonas and the urban and regional implications of Manaus’ rise as a city with global aspirations. He has also published collaborative work questioning urban entrepreneurial strategies in the United States and Morocco, and is currently engaged in a bibliometric project taking stock of the cosmopolitan turn in urban globalization research since the turn of the twenty-first century.

Before moving to the University of Sheffield, he taught at the University of Miami (2008-2015) and was a research officer at the London School of Economics affiliated with the Urban Age project (2005-2006). His teaching experience also includes short-term appointments in planning departments at the University of California, Irvine and the University of Southern California as well as international experience lecturing at the Federal University of Amazonas (Brazil) and Henan University (People’s Republic of China). He holds a PhD in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of California, Los Angeles (2008).

His paper “Paving (through) Amazonia: neoliberal urbanism and the reperipheralization of Roraima” (Environment and Planning A) co-authored with the late Rafael da Silva Oliveira received an Ashby Prize in 2014.

Research interests
  • Neoliberal Urbanism
  • City-regional Politics and Regional Development in the Global South
  • The Urbanisation of the world
  • The Cosmopolitan Turn in Urban Globalisation Research


  • Jaramillo-Marín J, López-Lizarazo LM, Ruiz-Galvan A, Bishop ML, Díaz-Arévalo JM, Kanai JM, Lombard M, Rushton S, Shesterinina A, Staples H & Turton HL (2023) Participating in Peace. Bristol University Press. RIS download Bibtex download

Journal articles


  • Kanai JM & Schindler S (2023) Genetic Comparisons, The Routledge Handbook of Comparative Global Urban Studies (pp. 452-463). Routledge RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2023) Protecting Catatumbo: Dialogue as Conflict-Sensitive Environmentalism, Participating in Peace (pp. 57-82). Bristol University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • (2023) Notes on the Authors, Participating in Peace (pp. vii-viii). Bristol University Press RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kanai JM (2020) Planetary Urbanization, International Encyclopedia of Human Geography (pp. 159-162). Elsevier RIS download Bibtex download
  • Kanai JM & Schindler S (2018) Regional urbanization: Emerging approaches and debates, Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories (pp. 322-331). RIS download Bibtex download
  • Schindler S, Kanai JM & Rwehumbiza D (2018) The twenty-first century rediscovery of regional planning in the global south, Handbook on the Geographies of Regions and Territories (pp. 346-357). RIS download Bibtex download

Dictionary/encyclopaedia entries



  • Gorrell G, Bakir ME, Temple L, Maynard D, Cifariello P, Harrison J, Kanai JM & Bontcheva K (2019) Local Media and Geo-situated Responses to Brexit: A Quantitative Analysis of Twitter, News and Survey Data, arXiv. View this article in WRRO RIS download Bibtex download
Teaching interests

J. Miguel Kanai teaches concentrates within the International Development cluster and his teaching interests include the following:

  • Urbanisation, Development and the Environment
  • Research Methods
  • International Field Courses
  • Development in Practice