International Institute for Asian Studies

Rapenburg 59, Leiden



International Institute for Asian Studies

12 October - Lecture: Urban Development Dilemma’s

Drinks afterwards. Registration required.
We live in a crucial and game-changing moment in history, in the middle of a crisis of inequality and facing immanent climate change. In spite of this most of our work and most of our thinking seems to go on as normal. I want to take a broad critical view on the conditions we face and work towards a practical view on what we do now. I start as an urban morphologist, interested in economic and social urban geography, with a view about the shape of the 21st century world and how it developed to the way it is today. I ask about this shape and what it means for questions of justice and sustainability. I address questions of the realistic scenario for the next 30 years and the envelope of possibility for development over this time. What has happened, what is happening, and, how do we go on? What, in the end, is an ‘appropriate development’ for today? I illustrate with cases of historical and contemporary urban development, first in Europe and today in Shenzhen and close with a proposal I am working on for the ‘appropriate development’ of a small coastal city in South Africa.
Stephen Read is Associate Professor of Architecture Theory and Urbanism at the Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft. He did his B. Arch in Cape Town and was a practicing architect in South Africa and London before doing an MSc and PhD in urban modelling at the TU Delft and a post-doc at the Bartlett in London. He has been a teacher at Delft since 2001. His interests start with cities as the material condition of urban economies, societies and cultures. They extend to technology and infrastructures as mediators of the relations that construct modern urban societies and settings. He has used phenomenological and ‘post-phenomenological’ ideas to come to grips with these materialities and relations and applies these ideas today in developing ‘appropriate’ and ‘post-development’ strategies for development in Africa, China and Europe. His research has included the investigation of the ways different historical modernities have produced characteristic ‘power-geometries’ in cities and regions and he is interested in how we can enrol these today to make urban settings that support everyday socialities and livelihoods.


Time: 12.30 – 14.00 hrs
Registration (required)
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