Thursday, September 12

4:00 p.m. // Opening remarks
4:10 – 6:00 p.m. // Public keynote
6:15 – 8:30 p.m. // Dinner for conference participants

Friday, September 13

8:30 – 9:00 a.m. // Light breakfast
9:00 – 10:45 a.m. // Panel 1
10:45 – 11:00 a.m. // Coffee break
11:00 – 12:45 p.m. // Panel 2
12:45 – 1:45 p.m. // Lunch
1:45 – 3:30 p.m. // Panel 3
3:30 – 4:00 p.m. // Coffee break
4:00 – 6:00 p.m. // Open roundtable discussion

Saturday, September 14

in the a.m. // Guided excursion around the contested spaces of Boston
7:00 p.m. // Book presentation in Boston


Opening Remarks

  • Cemal Kafadar, Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies, History Department, University of Harvard

Keynote Speakers:

  • Loretta Lees, Professor of Human Geography, Geography Department, University of Leicester
  • Michael Herzfeld, Ernest E. Monrad Professor of the Social Sciences, Department of Anthropology, Harvard University

Panel 1– Knowledge, Practices, Mobilization

Moderator: Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe, Researcher, University of Basel
Respondent: Mindy Fullilove, Professor of Urban Policy and Health, The New School

Eviction, displacement, redevelopment, and gentrification – the negative effects of hegemonic urban policies, politics, and planning on communities and urban areas are known to us. In this panel, we focus on creative strategies of resilience, resistance, and mediation. Inclusive models of knowledge production and collaborative practices bring together various actors in emancipatory projects and co-design processes. What is the role of different actors in these processes, and do they adapt to changes in their positions and roles?
  • Nadine Bekdache, Graphic Designer, Public Works Studio, Beirut. “Narrating, Monitoring and Visioning: Towards Inclusive Housing in Beirut” [>>]
  • Erin M. B. McElroy, Graduate Student in Feminist Studies, University of California, Santa Cruz. “The Ethics and Data of Mapping Displacement: On the Work of the Anti-Eviction Mapping Project” [>>]
  • Diana Bell Sancho, Urban Planner based in Quito, Ecuador + Research Affiliate at MIT’s Displacement Research Action Network (DRAN). “Urban Land Reform: Re-Imagining urban land rights and municipal land administration” [>>]
  • Stefano Portelli, Marie Curie Fellow at the University of Leicester, affiliate at Harvard’s Department of Anthropology. “Repensar Bonpastor: A Competition of Ideas for a Neighborhood Under Demolition in Barcelona” [>>]

Panel 2 – Contest, Participation, Commons

Moderator: Joan Chaker, PhD candidate in History, Harvard University
Respondent: Cemal Kafadar, Vehbi Koç Professor of Turkish Studies, History Department, Harvard University

Collective appropriation of the city-as-commons fosters the participatory building of shared urban worlds. The constant (re)negotiation of access to and participation in the commons is thus a vital part of a democratic process. This panel brings together self-managed refugee support centers in Athens, informal soccer fields in Beirut, vegetable gardens in Istanbul, and participatory imagin(eer)ing communities in Basel to flesh out this notion of commoning.
  • Abir Saksouk, Architect, Public Works Studio, Beirut. “Play in the Camp: Narratives of Resilience and Reflections on Inclusion” [>>]
  • Aleksandar Shopov, Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society, Munich; community organizer, Istanbul. “The Oral Histories of Istanbul in the Struggle for the City’s Historic Produce Gardens” [>>]
  • Stavros Stavrides, Professor of Architectural Design and Theory, National Technical University of Athens. “Discovering the Emancipatory Potentialities of Common Spaces: Learning from Athens” [>>]
  • Aylin Yildirim Tschoepe, Research Fellow, University of Basel, FHNW Academy of Art and Design, Basel. “Participatory Imagin(eer)ing: Negotiating the Commons through Collective Visual Processes.” [>>]

Panel 3 – Self-construction and self-organization

Moderator: Stefano Portelli, Research Fellow, University of Leicester, Harvard University
Respondent: Sai Balakrishnan, Professor of Urban Planning, Graduate School of Design, Harvard University

Residents of self-built settlements and self-managed residential squats, as well as groups performing mutual support against evictions, interact with the built environment with little means and adapt it to the needs of the less privileged. Their practices prefigure forms of inhabiting the city that are more adequate to present social and environmental constraints, although they all imply degrees of challenge to private property. How can researchers contribute to the public understanding and public legitimization of these practices?
  • S’bu Zikode, Elected President of Abahlali baseMjondolo Movement SA. “Urban Shack Settlements as a Site of Struggle: Johannesburg” [>>]
  • Welita Caetano, Frente de Luta por Moradia (FLM), São Paulo. “The Front for Struggle for Housing in São Paulo” [>>]
  • Dominic Moulden, ONE-DC community organizer, Washington DC. “Making the just city” [>>]
  • Yaşar Adnan Adanalı, Urbanist, Center for Spatial Justice, Istanbul. “Mapping, Walking, Documenting, Designing, and Building for Spatial Justice in Istanbul and Beyond” [>>]

Open Roundtable Discussion

Coordinators: Lisa Owens (City  Life Vida Urbana), Steve Meacham (City  Life Vida Urbana)

Participants: Lizabeth Cohen (Harvard University), Loretta Lees (University of Leicester), Michael Herzfeld (Harvard University), all panelists.

Guided excursion around the contested spaces of Boston

Coordinated by community organizers Lisa Owens and Steve Meacham, board members of City Life Vida Urbana.

Book presentation

The new re-worked edition of Stavros Stavrides’s Towards the City of Thresholds (Common Notions, 2019) will be presented by the author and Professor Michael Herzfeld at the Trident Bookseller and Cafe, 338 Newbury Street, Boston.