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Vocabularies for Urban Futures

This project examines how the urban has been understood and aims to develop new ways of imagining, anticipating and performing the city.

How might the urban be articulated? What analytical work do concepts do in making cities legible and knowable?

Conceptual vocabularies for understanding urban governance, economic formations and everyday life have infiltrated urban research and policy accounts to reflect both the challenges and the opportunities facing urban futures. These concepts help us to describe urban phenomena, but equally, and perhaps more so, they also do work to create productive connections and can allow us to think of new possibilities.

This project examines extant vocabularies on experiences of the urban habitat, governance of plural cities and plural economies, questioning how our understanding of the urban has changed over the past decades and the implications of that for how we comprehend the city of today.

Project outcomes:

Vocabularies for Urban Futures: Critical Reflections (2018)

Project part of

Urban Futures

Our activities under this theme aim to explore urban pluralism as a key characteristic of urban future: as a form of effective governance, as a basis for increased resilience, and as a precondition for improved experiences of the urban habitat.


We foster international collaboration in the humanities and social sciences, and promote the sharing of international perspectives on global challenges.

Other projects in this programme