Our plan for the next two academic years (2014-2016) is to scale up our effort by convening three international workshops that will bring leading scholars of contemporary megacities together with faculty from a diverse array of Stanford departments, interdisciplinary programs and research institutes, including the Woods Institute for the Environment, the Program in Urban Studies, the Program in Science, Technology and Society, the Center on Poverty and Inequality, and the Political Economics program at the Graduate School of Business. Our goal is to provide Stanford junior and senior scholars who are studying emergent urban forms the opportunity to engage in interdisciplinary conversations with scholars of governance, social organization and accountability in order to incite novel theorizations of cities that are both more global and more empirically grounded than is presently the case.
The processes of urbanization in Africa, Asia, the Middle East and Latin America are occurring at the fastest rates in human history. In the context of new cities, ‘megacities’, informal and illegal cities, what people think of as cities—our assumptions about how they develop, what they look like, what they provide and how—is changing in response. However, there are limits to our methods and theories in understanding these emergent cities. The registers we use to map, measure and code the city into intelligible data only capture certain aspects. In many regards, our scientific means of framing the city and how it is changing is in a process of catching up, leaving us with a sense of the urban beyond measure.