The Autonomous City: A History of Urban Squatting by Alexander Vasudevan

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A radical history of squatting and the struggle for the right to remake the city
The Autonomous City is the first popular history of squatting as practised in Europe and North America. Alex Vasudevan retraces the struggle for housing in Amsterdam, Berlin, Copenhagen, Detroit, Hamburg, London, Madrid, Milan, New York, and Vancouver. He looks at the organisation of alternative forms of housing—from Copenhagen’s Freetown Christiana to the squats of the Lower East Side—as well as the official response, including the recent criminalisation of squatting, the brutal eviction of squatters and their widespread vilification.

Pictured as a way to reimagine and reclaim the city, squatting offers an alternative to housing insecurity, oppressive property speculation and the negative effects of urban regeneration. We must, more than ever, reanimate and remake the urban environment as a site of radical social transformation.


Somewhere in Between: LCC Space and Place Research Hub Residency at Elephant & Castle Shopping Centre

LCC Studio, Elephant and Castle Shopping Centre, London SE1 6SB (entrance behind the elephant sculpture)

Over the course of four days in April, the Space and Place Research Hub will be in residence at the LCC studio at Elephant & Castle shopping centre. Through a series of events including workshops, talks, performances, walks and a conference, the researchers in the hub will engage the local community, academics, designers and artists with questions of place in the context of Elephant & Castle.


Wednesday 26. April 2017

Nela Milic: Boothique 16.00 – 20.00

Miranda Iossifidis will open the first meeting of the Space and Place Research Hub Reading Group 16.00 – 18.00

The group will gather around the chapter from the book
“The Autonomous City: A History of Urban Squatting” by Alexander Vasudevan. Email Miranda if you want to join:

Nela Milic will do a public reading of her chapter from the new book “Art and the City” 18.00 – 20.00 

Lucy Thornett: Tower 20.30 – 21.30

Thursday 27. April 2017

Luise Vormittag: Recorriendo el Elefante  15.00 – 17.00

Eva Sajovic and Corinne Silva: Beating the Bounds 17.00 – 18.00

Artists’ talks and private view 18.30 – 20.30

Lucy Thornett: Tower 20.30 – 21.30

Friday 28. April 2017

Vanessa Price: Writerly Readers 9.00 – 16.00

Luise Vormittag: Recorriendo el Elefante  16.30 – 18.30

Exhibition:  18.30 – 20.30 (timing tbc)

Lucy Thornett: Tower 20.30 – 21.30

Saturday 29. April 2017

Conference 9:00 – 17:00

Somewhere in Between: Borders and Borderlands conference organized by the Interdisciplinary Research London Centre for Interdisciplinary Research Foundation

Nela Milic: Boothique

Wed 26. April, 16:00 – 20:00

The threshold of public and private space over the course of Nela’s artists’ residency in the ground floor studio off Walworth Road in 2012 became a world opener to both sides – her at home and people on the street. Nela won Southwark Community Art Award in 2015 for this project. Nela aims to use the same method by interacting with the local residents for a public reading of her book chapter about the project at the LCC studio, offering passers-by the opportunity to engage with our hub activities and our own artistic work. Nela would record, exhibit and talk about this experience and research into the locality at the Q&A the hub would have at the end of our event activities.

Nela Milic is an artist and senior lecturer at LCC’s School of Design.

Lucy Thornett: Tower

Wed 26. April – Fri 28. April daily 20:30 – 21:30

Tower is a site specific performance, performed in the windows of the LCC tower building and watched from the street with binoculars. The audience will listen to a binaural recording of the performers’ movements, creating the sense of being in the same space with the performers while watching from afar. Responding to the architecture and shifting urban landscape of the city in the context of the regeneration, the performance will allow audiences a glimpse into everyday lives and intimate moments housed within the city’s towering architecture.

For Somewhere in Between, Tower will be presented as a live performance and re-presented as a video and sound installation, experimenting with the experience of the work across different formats.

Bookings for the live performance are essential as capacity is extremely limited:

Lucy Thornett is an artist, scenographer and lecturer in Spatial Design at London College of Communication.

Luise Vormittag: Recorriendo el elefante (Walking the Elephant)

Thurs 27. Apr 15:00 – 17:00 & Fri 28.Apr 16:30 – 18:30

Luise Vormittag will collaborate with ‘Latin Elephant’, the Latin American community organisation in Southwark, to design creative and critical responses to Southwark’s Planning Application Elephant and Castle Town Centre and LCC Campus at the EC. The aim is to collectively produce visual maps that capture the current use of the shopping centre by the Latin American community and to use these outputs to engage local government representatives in debates on future urban imaginaries as well as the particular concerns of the Latin American community.

Luise Vormittag is an illustrator, designer and researcher. She lectures in Graphic Communication Design at Central Saint Martins and is pursuing her practice-led PhD at the London College of Communication.

Eva Sajovic and Corinne Silva: Beating the Bounds

Led by Lewis Bush and Matthew Coleman

Thursday 27.April 17:00–18:00

Elephant & Castle doesn’t exist as a political ward, yet it exists in the imagination of people who live and work in the area. Artists Corinne Silva and Eva Sajovic invite students and members of the community to join them for a participatory walk, led by Lewis Bush and Matthew Coleman, who will show us their personal boundaries of the Elephant & Castle.

Beating the Bounds is an ancient English custom in which a priest and members of the community, armed with willow boughs, would beat the parish boundary markers, lest they be forgotten.This is one of several such walks organised by the artists over the past year. Material gathered will contribute to a final map containing narratives, photographs, and lines drawn by the feet of the walks’ numerous participants.

Eva Sajovic is an artist photographer, living and working in London, and teaching across UAL. Corinne Silva is is an artist and Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Photography and the Archive Research Centre at the London College of Communication.

Vanessa Price: Writerly Readers

Friday 28.April 9:00-16:00

Vanessa Price and LCC Outreach are hosting a workshop with a local Lambeth school exploring responses of school students to the redevelopment at the Elephant and Castle. Participants from the English Department at the Oasis Academy in Lambeth will workshop words and images to question how written language works with images to create visual meaning.

Vanessa’s research project ‘Writerly Readers’ discusses the role of graphic design in presenting and mediating the visual narratives of inner city regeneration and was first presented at the ‘Semiotics & Visual Communication: Culture of Seduction Conference’ in Cyprus in October 2015. Vanessa’s paper ‘Writerly Readers: Semiotics at the Elephant and Castle’ (Feb 2016) questions the role of graphic design in the consumption and display of the ‘spectacle city’.

Vanessa Price is graphic design researcher and educator and Lead Tutor in Postgraduate Studies on MA Graphic Media Design within the Design School at London College of Communication.

Conference : Somewhere in Between: Borders and Borderlands

Convened by The Interdisciplinary Research Foundation

Saturday 29.April 9:00 – 17:00

For programme and registration click here.

In an ever changing world the problems of setting boundaries as well as the need to create meanings and establish understanding of diverse phenomena have always been of the utmost importance for humanity. Borders, boundaries, frontiers, and borderlands, naturally formed or man made, are grounded in various ethical traditions, and have always been associated with limits and restrictions. The ongoing process of globalisation is changing the role and stereotypes of borders, so that they are often seen as opportunities rather than constraints. However, in some cases they are still being militarized and conflicted.

The conference will seek to identify and analyse the processes of border-making and border permeability in contemporary societies through aesthetic forms. We seek to explore the historical origins of borders, their role in today’s global environment and define the notion of borders, which includes not only territorial, geographical, and political borders, but also cultural and metaphorical borders, imagined spaces where interests and ideologies overlap and compete.

The Interdisciplinary Research Foundation is a not-for-profit scholarly organisation which aims to promote interdisciplinary research and foster communication and cooperation between scholars from all over the world.

Architecture and Mental Health Conference, London – 19 May 2017

An interdisciplinary conference for architects, developers, clinicians and artists, showcasing design innovation in mental health care – produced by East London NHS Foundation Trust @ELFTArts in collaboration with Architects for Health and The Royal College of Psychiatrists Arts Special Interest Group.

The Wash House
25 Old Castle Street
London E1 7NT

Cost: £50-75


Morning Session Chair: Professor Stefan Priebe FRCPsych, Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Services Development, Queen Mary University of London


10.00 – 10.30 Welcome: Dr Navina Evans CEO, Professor Frank Rohricht Associate Medical Director for Research & Innovation and Stephen Sandford Arts Therapies Lead

10.30 – 11.10 Analysis of therapeutic spaces for clients with severe conditions

Dr Evangelia Chrysikou, Registered Architect (ARB), Medical Planner, Marie Curie Fellow University College London

11.10 – 11.30 TEA/COFFEE BREAK

11.30 – 12.10 How Things shape the mind: A theory of material engagement

Dr Lambros Malafouris, Research and Teaching Fellow in Creativity, Cognition and Material Culture, Oxford University

12.10 – 12.50 Thinkbuild architecture – the Soteria Project, Berlin

Jason Danziger, Architect BDA and Dr Martin Voss, Consultant Psychiatrist

12.50 – 13.10 Panel Q&A

13.10 – 14.00 LUNCH (Provided)

Afternoon Session Chair: Marie Gabriel, Chair – East London NHS Foundation Trust Chair

14.00 – 14.10 Dr Thana Balamurali and Dr Peter MacRae Consultant Psychiatrists

RCPsych Arts Special Interest Group

14.10 – 14.40 How to design mental health facilities to encourage interaction between patients, staff and visitors?

Dr Nikolina Jovanovic, Psychiatrist & Architect, Unit for Social and Community Psychiatry, WHO Collaborating Centre for Mental Health Services Development, Queen Mary University of London

14.40 – 15.10 Architects for Health

15.10 – 15.30 TEA/COFFEE BREAK

15.30 – 16.15 Innovative Ideas Forum

Vitamin Green – Exploring the role of nature to improve health care

Bethany Summers, Co-Director and Green Care Project Manager, Women’s Environmental Network

The Vacuumcleaner – MadLove Asylum

16.15 – 16.30 Q&A


DOING ARCHITECTURAL RESEARCH socio-political perspectives on theories, methodologies & praxis

26 JUNE 2017  Department of Architecture | University of Cambridge

This one day workshop that will explore and question what constitutes
architectural research, specifically research from socio-political perspectives.
We are particularly interested in how we, as researchers concerned with
architecture, overlap with and diverge from disciplines such as planning,
sociology, geography and anthropology, on questions of ethics, methods,
theories and praxis. The workshop is designed as a forum in which everyone
has an opportunity to speak, share their experiences and connect with others
conducting research with an architectural grounding.


Prof Wendy Pullan, Head of Department of Architecture and Director of Centre for Urban Conflicts Research, University of Cambridge

Dr Suzanne Hall, Director of LSE Cities Programme, Assistant Professor in Sociology, London School of Economics

Dr Ben Campkin, Director of the UCL Urban Laboratory and Senior Lecturer in Architectural History and Theory at the Bartlett School of Architecture


For more details and to submit an expression of interest, visit:

Hanna Baumann
PhD Candidate | Department of Architecture | University of Cambridge
385 King’s College, Cambridge CB21ST, UK

CfP LEEDS RC21, 11-13 Sep 2017: Towards a Global Urban Geopolitics. Bringing Geopolitics into the Mainstream of Comparative Urban Studies

Towards a Global Urban Geopolitics. Bringing Geopolitics into the Mainstream of Comparative Urban Studies
The session’s underling argument is that we need to re-think the contested and conflictive practices of the material and immaterial “planning/politics nexus” from a comparative perspective. In other words, on the surface different cities share and are developing growing similarities stemming from ethnic, racial and class conflicts revolving around issues of housing, infrastructure, participation and identity, amongst others (Rokem 2016). Our argument is founded on a joint critical reading of the growing literature on urban planning and politics from different urban settings with the aim of learning through elsewhere, rather than seeking out similarities (Robinson 2016) as part of a general call to bring geopolitics into the mainstream of comparative urban studies (Rokem and Boano forthcoming 2017).

The session main objective is to bring together a selected group of international scholars engaging with comparative urbangeopolitics. We are interested to explore the relational and contrastive value of comparisons across ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ contexts and especially cities from ‘South-Eastern’ non-conventional regions normally excluded from academic debates moving beyond the ‘North-Western’ theory producing usual suspects. In doing so, this session seeks to argue that it is timely to start learning from, and compare across different urban geopolitical contexts to promote urban spatial and social justice. Offering instead multiple access points, from which to explore the ever-expanding range of conflicts, contestations and cultural formations shaping our global urban future.

We invite papers that discuss and address (although not limited to) the following broad topics:

The role of urban geopolitics in different cities and neighbourhoods from a comparative perspective.
Comparing how urban conflicts and divisions shape spatial and social justice for urban residents.
Comparing planning and its (lack of) promotion of spatial and social justice under extreme urban geopolitical conditions.
The shifting roles of the neoliberal economy, ethnicity and race in shaping the futures of different contested cities.
Learning from comparing urban geopolitics across ‘Northern’ and ‘Southern’ cities.
Comparing urban geopolitics in cities from ‘South-Eastern’ non-conventional regions normally excluded from academic debates.

Organisers and their contact details:

Dr. Jonathan Rokem, University College London:

Dr. Camillo Boano, University College London:

References cited

Robinson, J. (2016) Thinking cities through elsewhere: Comparative tactics for a more global urban studies, Progress in Human Geography, Vol. 40 (1): 3-29

Rokem, J. and Boano, C. Eds. (In Press: forthcoming Summer 2017). Urban Geopolitics: Rethinking Planning in Contested Cities, Routledge.

Rokem, J. (2016) Learning from Jerusalem: Rethinking Urban Conflicts in the 21st Century, CITY, 20:3, 407-411.

Dr. Jonathan Rokem (Rock) FRGS
Marie Curie Research Fellow

The Bartlett School of Architecture
University College London
Contested Urbanism Project Website

e: / m: +44 (0)7435777399 / t: @contested_urban / UCL Iris Profile /

Secretary, Political Geography Research Group
Royal Geographical Society (with the Institute of British Geographers)

Recent Publications:
Rokem, J. and Allegra, M. (2016) Planning in Turbulent Times: Exploring Planners’ Agency in Jerusalem,
International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12379

Rokem, J. (2016) Learning from Jerusalem: Rethinking Urban Conflicts in the 21st Century,
CITY, 20:3, 407-411.

Rokem, J. (2016) Beyond incommensurability: Jerusalem and Stockholm from an Ordinary Cities Perspective,
CITY, 20:3, 472-482.

Cities, Communities and Homes: Is the Urban Future Livable?


Image. Front Doors. Paul McIlroy

Dates: 22-23 June 2017

Place: University of Derby

Organisers: AMPS | University of Derby

Keynote Speakers:

Richard Blyth, RTPI. Head of Policy and Practice. Royal Town Planning Institute

Hendrik W van der Kamp, ECTP-CEU. Vice President. European Council of Spatial Planners – Conseil européen des urbanistes


The complexity of our cities is well documented. The economies they are based on are multiple. Some are growing exponentially, others are shrinking. Some pride themselves on architectural heritage, others are seeking to build and rebrand. Some are old, some are new. Inevitably their urban fabrics vary. The communities that live in these places reflect these conditions. Some are are long-standing, others are new and in-formation. Sometimes they are active, on occasion homogenous. More generally they are diverse. These communities need, and want, a say in their futures. Some are well connect and affluent, others suffer deprivation and social exclusion. A constant in the mist of this complexity is their need to be housed – whether by themselves, the market, or governments.

This conference seeks to explore how the three issues of city development, sense of community and housing need, all combine to make lives in our cities livable – or not. How will our urban environments change in the near future? Are the cities we live in now likely to contract or expand? How will these changes impact on communities and the way they are housed? Will new technologies facilitate community engagement with planning? Will resident voices be heard by planners? Will unaffordable housing turn some cities into enclaves of the wealthy, or will the private sector and personal preference gate our communities?

Themes: Cities, Communities, Housing:

hosuing is a human right1Taking on these three fundamental and interwoven issues, this conference seeks to explore and document the way in which our thinking about living in cities cannot be isolated into categories. The urban plans we develop reflect larger socio-political forces which determine the houses we build and urban services we offer. In turn, a city’s public services promote inclusivity or exclusion. The housing we build determine the growth, survival or evolution of the communities we form. All contribute to the livability of our urban environments.

Contributing to the broader research areas of the organisation initiating the conference, Architecture, Media, Politics, Society (AMPS) and the concerns of academics at the University of Derby, this event is interdisciplinary by default. Its city emphasis seeks the perspectives offered by urban designers, planners, economists and policy makers. Its community alignment calls for the expertise of sociologists, community activists and residents. Its housing focus needs the expertise of architects, housing professionals and builders.

The conference encourages debate and exchange between disciplines, and will promote and publish multiple voices. It seeks to better understand the relationships between cities, communities and homes.

Cities, Communities, Homes : Full Description Here

Key Dates:

01 March 2017: Abstract Submissions (extended on request to 15 March)

01 April 2017: Abstract Feedback

01 June 2017: Registration closes

22 – 23 June 2017: Conference

01 July 2017: Full Paper Submissions (where applicable)

01 November 2017: Feedback for publication

01 December 2017: Publication of Full papers begins


The conference welcomes case studies; design proposals, research projects, investigative papers and theoretical considerations in various formats:

Conference Presentations (20 minutes)

Written Papers (3,000 words) *

Alternative Proposals Pecha Kucha; short films; photo essays etc.

In-person and virtual presentations (via Skype, etc.) are welcome.

Delegates are given the option to present their work at conference either with or without an accompanying full written paper.

* 3,000 word papers will be published online in the AMPS conference proceedings series, ISSN 2398-9467. Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions of their papers for inclusion in either:

1. A Special Issues of the Architecture_MPS journal.

2. The AMPS / UCL Press book series Housing-Critical Futures.

3. The AMPS / Libri Publishing book series Housing the Future.

All abstracts and papers are fully double blind peer reviewed.

Forms and Registration:

Delegate Fee: £200 | Audience Fee: £90

Download Submission Form: Submission Form_Abstract UoD

Correctly formatted and named example: Charlie_Smith_Yet another apartment block_Abstract UoD

Please send this fully completed document to | The document must be in Microsoft Word. | Subject line for emails: Abstract Submission UoD | File name for attachment: Name_Surname_Summary Title_UoD | Example file name: Charlie_Smith_Yet Another Apartment Block_UoD

See other related CONFERENCES

For more details:

This event is organised by the interdisciplinary research organisation AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society); its academic journal Architecture_MPS; and the University of Derby.

People: Dr. Graham Cairns, AMPS; Rachel-isaac-Menard, Architecture_MPS; Eleni Tracada, UoD. The event forms part of the AMPS program of events, Housing – Critical Futures.

For more details. Visit: