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Events

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.

Events

Date: 05/08/2015 to 05/09/2015
Description:

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.

Date: 05/06/2016
Description:
Large numbers of people in the megacities of the Global South depend on what social scientists call the “informal” sector: a vast range of practices that fall outside formal institutions of the state and the market. Most of these informal activities are improvised and sporadic, even dysfunctional. Yet this world of informal labor and enterprise has internal structures, regularities, histories and dynamics that are often unique to their region but are rarely incorporated into debates on urban development. This workshop will bring scholars with detailed empirical knowledge of informal work and economies into conversation with scholars engaged in more abstract modeling and comparison. The aim is to begin to reshape urban theory by incorporating the actual regularities and dynamics of the social lives of urbanites in the Global South.
Date: 03/29/2017 to 03/30/2017
Description:

The practice of policing in most of the world is premised of racial and ethnic profiling. Examples are myriad: ‘hot spot’ policing privileges deployment to ‘unsafe’ urban spaces inhabited by racial and ethnic minorities; everyday policing is proactive, quota oriented, stop-and-frisk empowered; Compstat statistical treatments of police districts rest upon a relative need for crime to justify budgets; police unions resist any sniff of staffing decreases; in many countries the dominance of plea bargains eliminates the burden of proof; civil asset forfeiture targets drug related assets under a War on Drugs logic; some governments have contractual obligations to maintain the occupancy rates of private prisons. The list of such policing ‘solutions’ goes on, circulating globally, packaged as ‘best practice’ and ‘efficiency’. To the more privileged majority populations, such practices are largely invisible, assumed important and rarely suffered. To those targeted by such policing, resistance –in the form of protest, legal defense and demands for police oversight - is deeply constrained by lack of resources and legitimate organization.