Dr Juan Miguel Kanai


Room number: C5a
Telephone (internal): 27940
Telephone (UK): 0114 222 7940
Telephone (International): +44 114 222 7940
Email: miguel.kanai@sheffield.ac.uk

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


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

Key Publications

  • Clement, D. and J.M. Kanai (2015). Detroit Future City: How pervasive neoliberal urbanism exacerbates racialized spatial injustice. American Behavioral Scientist 59 (3), 369-385.
  • Kanai, J.M. (2015). Buenos Aires Beyond (Homo)sexualized Urban Entrepreneurialism: Queer geographies of tango. Antipode: A Radical Journal of Geography 47 (3), 652-670.
  • Kanai, J.M. and K.M. Kenttamma-Squires (2015). Miami Beach Beyond Decline: The role of entrepreneurial homonormativity in gayborhood change. Urban Geography 36 (3), 385-402.
  • Kanai, J.M. (2014). On the Peripheries of Planetary Urbanization: Extensive consequences to the worlding of Manaus. Environment and Planning D – Society and Space 32 (6), 1071-1087
  • Kanai, J.M. (2014). Whither Queer World Cities? Homo-entrepreneurialism and beyond, Geoforum 56, 1-5.
  • Kanai, J.M. (2014). Capital of the Amazon Rainforest: Ecological entrepreneurialism and city-regional construction in Manaus. Urban Studies 51 (11), 2387-405.
  • Kanai, J.M. (2014). Buenos Aires, the Capital of Tango: Tourism, redevelopment and cultural policy after the neoliberal crisis. Urban Geography 35 (8), 1111-1117.
  • Kanai, J.M. and R. da S. Oliveira (2014). Paving (Through) Amazonia: Neoliberal urbanism and the re-peripheralization of Roraima. Environment and Planning A 46 (1), 62-77.
  • Kanai, J.M. and W. Kutz (2013). Entrepreneurial Assemblages from Off-the-map: (Trans)national designs for Tangier. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 31 (1), 80-98.
  • Kanai, J.M., R. da S. Oliveira and P. R. de F. Silva (2012). Pavimentando Roraima: a BR-174 como exemplo das lógicas neoliberais de transnacionalização do território na Amazônia Ocidental [Paving Roraima: BR-174 as an example of how neoliberal logics transnationalize the Western Amazon]. Sociedade e Natureza 24 (1), 67-81.
  • Kanai J.M. (2011). Barrio Resurgence in Buenos Aires: Local autonomy claims amid state-sponsored transnationalism. Political Geography 30 (4), 225-235.
  • Kanai, J.M. and W. Kutz (2011). Entrepreneurialism in the Globalizing City-Region of Tangier, Morocco. Tijdschrift voor economische en sociale geografie 102 (3), 346-360.
  • Kanai, J. M. and R. da S. Oliveira (2011). Desenvolvimento regional e suas consequências em Roraima: notas preliminares a partir da BR-174 [Regional Development and its Consequences for Roraima: Preliminary notes based on the BR-174 case]. ACTA Geográfica (Ed. Esp.), 103-116.
  • Kanai, M. (2010). The Politics of Inequality in Globalizing Cities: How the middle classes matter in the governing of Buenos Aires, Environment and Planning A 42 (8), 1887-901.
  • Kanai, M. and Ortega-Alcazar, I. (2009). The Prospects for Progressive Culture-Led Urban Regeneration in Latin America: Cases from Mexico City and Buenos Aires, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 33 (2), 483-501.