Seminars and Events 2016

We host an exciting and engaging research seminar programme throughout the year.

Research seminars provide the opportunity to hear about cutting edge research from across a wide range of topics and our seminars are open to all.

Planning as practice of knowing - 26 April 2017

Professor Simin Davoudi, Newcastle University

4.30 - 6.00pm

Teaching Room 1, D Floor


Professor Simin Davoudi is Director of Global Urban Research Unit (GURU) at the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape and Associate Director of Newcastle University of Institute for Sustainability. She is past President of the Association of the European Schools of Planning (AESOP); Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. She is co-Editor of the Journal of Environmental Planning and Management.

Her research on urban planning, environmental governance, climate change and resilience is published widely. Selected books include: Justice and Fairness in the City (Policy Press, 2016), Reconsidering Localism (Routledge, 2015), Town and Country Planning in the UK (Routledge, 2015), Climate Change and Sustainable Cities (Routledge, 2014), Conceptions of Space and Place in Strategic Spatial Planning (Routledge, 2009), Planning for Climate Change (Earthscan, 2009) Planning, Governance and Spatial Strategy in Britain (Macmillan, 2000).

Class, ideology and contemporary housing policy reform - 03 May 2017

Keith Jacobs

4.30 - 6.00pm

Seminar Room D3C, D Floor


Keith Jacobs is a Professor of Sociology, an ARC Future Fellow. His research is focused on housing policy and he is currently investigating affordability problems experienced by low-income households in Australia. Professor Jacobs completed his PhD in sociology at Birkbeck College in London. He is the author of over 60 journal articles and numerous publications, including The Dynamics of Local Housing Policy and Experience and Migration: Contemporary Perspectives on Migration in Australia. Professor Jacobs is a member of the editorial board of the journal Housing Studies and the international advisory boards of Housing Theory and Society and International Journal of Housing Policy. He is currently a commissioning Editor with Ray Forrest and Janet Smith for a new series titled 'Explorations in Housing Studies' to be published by Routledge.

Activism and climate responsibility in the city: reflections from Hong Kong and Singapore
 - 10 May 2017

Sara Fuller, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia


Teaching Room 2, D Floor


Concepts of justice are now routinely mobilised in environmental and climate change activism, bringing questions of rights and responsibilities to the forefront. In this context, any configuration of climate responsibility needs to be finely nuanced in order to capture the specificity of people and place, while also being guided by an ethical framework that promotes a moral and political obligation to act. To date however, there is limited theoretical and empirical understanding about how the discourses and practices of responsibility associated with urban transitions might be enacted across multiple sites and scales and how this might in turn facilitate the development of more just and resilient urban societies.

These issues of responsibility are highlighted in the Asia Pacific region which encompasses some of the world’s most significant polluting cities while also hosting populations that are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. This paper draws on empirical research with climate activists in Hong Kong and Singapore as a means to explore the emerging geographies and networks of climate responsibility across the Asia Pacific region and to develop a theoretical understanding of how responsibility is conceptualised, experienced and enacted within and across cities. The paper reflects on the existence of contested geographies of urban climate responsibility across the region and argues for the need to unpack this multiplicity to better understand how space and place come to matter in enabling urban climate justice.


Sara Fuller is Senior Lecturer in the Department of Geography and Planning at Macquarie University, Australia. Her research explores concepts and practices of justice and democracy in the field of the environment, with an empirical focus on grassroots, community and activist responses to climate change. Prior to joining Macquarie University, she held postdoctoral positions at Durham University, UK and City University of Hong Kong where she conducted research on low carbon transitions and climate governance; NGO discourses of energy justice; low carbon communities and social justice; and energy vulnerability in communities. Her current research investigates the politics and governance of urban climate justice across the Asia-Pacific region.

Chameleon Localism: the varied and difficult politics behind the buzz-word - 17 May 2017

"Localism": Public Lecture - Dr Jamie Gough

3:30 - 5:00pm

Council Chamber, Firth Court


In many countries in the last twenty years or so, ‘localism’ has been put forward as key way to address a variety of economic, political, social and environmental problems. Government is devolved from national to regional, local and neighbourhood levels; workplace, industrial and economic governance are decentralised; local economic networks and locally-based enterprises are promoted; social reproduction is achieved through innovative, locally-varied organisations; locally-specific cultures are renewed and used. The promise is decision-making at the lowest possible scale, use of local knowledge, community involvement, and thus empowerment of ordinary people. Localism has thus come to be regarded as common sense, with a striking consensus from right to left of politics.

But behind the apparent consensus, very different political-economic strategies are deployed in localism. I discuss and contrast neoliberal, corporatist, social democratic, associationalist and socialist localisms, each of which claims to address failings in the previously-named approaches. I examine the relation of these political localisms with the dominant neoliberalism at the nation scale, their approach to capital accumulation and class relations, and their particular use of space. All of these localisms contain tensions and dilemmas. I examine these tensions for the popular associationalist approach of ‘bottom up’, small-is-beautiful, communitarian localism.

Where will we live? An intimate history of recent British housing policy - 1 June 2017

USP Annual Lecture 2017 - Lynsey Hanley (Guardian)


The Diamond

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Lynsey Hanley is the author of Estates: an Intimate History (Granta Books), and a visiting fellow in cultural studies at Liverpool John Moores University. She is a regular contributor to the Guardian, and has also written for The Observer, Daily Telegraph, Sunday Times, New Statesman, Prospect, and Times Literary Supplement.