2009 Conference

2009 Writing Cities Conference
April 22-24, 2009 | London, UK

How do views shape words, how do words shape cities?
Only two aspects provide a frame to the loose subject: the context of the city; and the process of looking and writing. This second Writing Cities workshop, held over two days in London, provided the forum for presentation and discussion. But unlike the usual conference format, where the author of the paper formally delivers her paper, and the audience then directs questions to the author, the workshop reverses this convention. The workshop raised themes such as interdisciplinarity, methods, theory building as well as introduce in-depth case studies and examples and generated a lively and enriching discussion. Authors were given a paper other than their own to present, requiring one author to summarize another author’s research, and to then raise questions for all of those in the workshop to respond to. This process opened up exchange among the workshop participants, and tasked each participant to develop a critical and directive approach to all of the papers explored. This process of shared critical engagement was taken further during the review and redrafting of papers. Participants were required to reconsider their own papers in light of the workshop discussions, and to rewrite them for peer and faculty reviews. Writing was refined through an iterative process, where each participant was simultaneously writer, reader and reviewer. The writing thus emerged as a collaborative endeavor: from the individual workspaces of respective authors, to the face-to-face interactions in the workshop, and the long-distance exchanges afforded by the internet. The workshop was structured around approximately 20 papers, and a discussion panel including Professor Richard Sennett, Professor Gerald Frug and Doctor Fran Tonkiss.

Organizing Committee
Juliet Davis, London School of Economics
Cecilia Dinardi, London School of Economics
Melissa Fernandez, London School of Economics
Suzanne Hall, London School of Economics
Olivia Munoz-Rojas, London School of Economics

Advisory Committee
Susan Fainstein, Harvard Graduate School of Design
Michael M.J. Fischer, MIT Program in Science Technology & Society
Gerald Frug, Harvard Law School
William J. Mitchell, MIT Media Lab
Richard Sennett, MIT Department of Urban Studies & Planning, London School of Economics
Fran Tonkiss, London School of Economics


Conference Program:

Monday, June 1, 2008
New Academic Building – ‘NAB’, LSE

5:00pm Keynote address by Professor Les Back, Goldsmiths, University of London

6:30pm Drinks and snacks

Tuesday, June 2, 2009
A316 in the Old Building – ‘A’, LSE

9:00am Session 1: Conceptions
Chair: Juliet Davis
Gina Badger. Digging, Sowing, Tending, Harvesting: Bringing the War Home (Respondent: Olivia Muñoz-Rojas-Oscarsson)
Steven Moga. “The Bottoms” and the Colloquial Language of American City Form (Respondent: Lily Song)
David Seligman and EB Kelly. Competing Conceptualisations of the University-City Relationship (Respondent: Suzi Hall)

11:00am Tea break

11:30am Session 1: Conceptions
Chair: Juliet Davis
Olivia Muñoz-Rojas-Oscarsson. Metonyms for a Dictatorship: Cities under Franco (Respondent: Steven Moga)
Lily Song. Reconciling Critical Social Theory with Zen Buddhist Principles and Practice (Respondents: David Seligman and EB Kelly)

1:00pm Lunch at the LSE

2:00pm Session 2: Symbols
Chair: Suzi Hall
Writing an Urban Story from the Walls of a Building: The Case of the Post and Telecommunications Palace in Buenos Aires, Cecilia Dinardi, LSE (Respondent Nida Rehman)

Laura Lee Schmidt and Ninad Pandit. Semantic Anxiety: The Mughal Pavilion and Historic Conservation in Delhi (Respondent: Jesse Shapins)
Jesse Shapins. Mapping Main Street: Tracing an American Political Mythology, Urban Imaginary and Built Environment (Respondent: Cecilia Dinardi)
Nida Rehman. The Canal in the ‘City of Gardens’: An Historic and Projective Examination of an Infrastructural Artery (Respondents: Ninad Pandit and Laura Lee Schmidt)

6:00pm Drinks (hosted by Richard Sennett)

8:00pm Dinner at Kolossi Grill, 56-60 Roseberry Avenue, EC1R 4RR

Wednesday, June 3, 2009
A316 in the Old Building – ‘A’, LSE

10:00am Session 3: Approaches
Chair: Olivia Muñoz-Rojas-Oscarsson
Gunter Gassner. Skylines and the “Whole” City (Respondent: Orkan Telhan)
Torsten Schröder. Political Battles – Images between Built Environment and Biosphere (Respondent: Melissa Fernandez Arrigoitia)
Orkan Telhan. Sensor Narratives (Respondent: Gunter Gassner)

12:00pm Lunch at the LSE

1:00pm Session 4: Processes
Chair: Melissa Fernandez Arrigoitia)
Juliet Davis. Towards Sustainable Communities? Community, Consultation and the Compulsory Purchase of the site for the 2012 Olympic Games (Respondent: Lara Belkind)
Leigh Graham. Demolishing Public Housing for the Good of New Orleans: Culture and Conflict among Housing Advocates over the Future of the City (Respondent: Susanne Seitinger)
Lara Belkind. The Internet and the City: Blogging and Gentrification of New York’s Lower East Side (Respondent: Leigh Graham)
Susanne Seitinger. Beyond Use: Alternative Approaches to Urban Infrastructure (Respondent: Juliet Davis)

4:00 Closing discussion

4:30: Tea

Conference Abstracts