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Uber Urbanism

Thu, Oct 22/15 – 7:00pm to 8:30pm

Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West

What is a "global city”? Are distinctions such as urban and rural, society and nature, or city and suburb still useful? When almost all the earth’s surface is subject to human technological intervention, is it time for a new way of understanding urbanization?

Four decades ago, the French sociologist Henri Lefebvre prophesized that the complete urbanization of society was inevitable. Today, we have come to accept a process of global urbanization derived from a set of complex relationships — political, economic, environmental, among others — that bring diverse territories together.  Yet, particularly for those who plan and design cities, there remains a deeply held belief in the value of making distinctions between “cities” as dense agglomerations of culture and capital, and other urbanizing territories.

Part of the Daniels Fora series, “Uber Urbanism” will critically examine the central role that the concept of “city” has in framing how we understand (and study) urbanism, and whether or not cities are a unique “species" among the world’s geographies.

Featured speakers:

Neil Brenner is a geographer, Professor, and Director of the Urban Theory Lab at Harvard University, whose most recent publication is Implosions / Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (Jovis, 2014). Together with the Urban Theory Lab, Brenner also recently produced an exhibition, Operational Landscapes: Towards an Alternative Cartography of World Urbanization, which explored the emergence of an urban fabric in some of the most “remote” regions of the world.

Jesse LeCavalier is a designer, theorist and member of the architecture faculty at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. LeCavalier’s work examines the logistical architecture of major actors in the new economy such as Walmart and Amazon, and he is the co-author of This Will _ This (Standpunkte, 2009), among other publications. His book, The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press.

The Daniels Faculty’s Richard Sommer, Dean and Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, will moderate the discussion.

Uber Urbanism
Thursday, October 22
Isabel Bader Theatre, 93 Charles Street West
7:00 - 8:30pm

This is a ticketed event. Visit eventbrite to RSVP.

Ticket holders must arrive before 6:45pm to claim their seat. There will be a rush line for non-ticket holders.


Neil Brenner is Professor of Urban Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. His most recent book is Implosions/Explosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (Jovis, 2013). Forthcoming books include New Urban Spaces: Urban Theory and the Scale Question (Oxford University Press, 2016); Is the World Urban? Towards a Critique of Geospatial Ideology (with Nikos Katsikis; Actar, 2016) and Planetary Urbanization (with Christian Schmid; Verso, 2017). In 2014, Brenner was selected as a Thompson Reuters Highly Cited Researcher ( Based on Web of Science data, his publications were ranked among the top 1% most cited globally in the general social sciences between 2002 and 2012. Brenner directs the Urban Theory Lab at the Harvard GSD, a research team that uses the tools of critical urban theory, historical geopolitical economy and radical cartography to decipher emergent patterns of urbanization under twenty-first century capitalism.  

Jesse LeCavalier is an award-winning designer, writer, and educator. His book, The Rule of Logistics: Walmart and the Architecture of Fulfillment, is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press in 2016. LeCavalier is an assistant professor at the New Jersey School of Architecture where he coordinates the undergraduate special topics design studios. In 2015, he was the recipient of the New Faculty Teaching Award from the Association of the Collegiate Schools of Architecture (ACSA). He was the 2010-11 Sanders Fellow at the University of Michigan and a Poiesis Fellow at the Institute for Public Knowledge at NYU. His research has been supported by the Graham Foundation, the New York State Council for the Arts, and the BMW Foundation. LeCavalier's work has appeared in Public Culture, Art Papers, Monu, JAE, Architectural Design. His article for Cabinet, "The Restlessness of Objects," received a Core 77 Design Award and, "All Those Numbers: Logistics, Territory, and Walmart," which appeared in Design Observer: Places, was named by the Atlantic as one of "Nearly 100 Fantastic Pieces of Journalism" in 2011.


About the Daniels Fora
The Fora series features popular discussions that aim to bring together different perspectives in order to create debate, build relationships, and stimulate discourse among practitioners, scholars, and the general public on topics related to architecture, art, urbanism, landscape, and design.

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