School of Architecture, Planning & Landscape

Public Lecture Series 2016-17

Previous Lectures

Professor Roger Burrows

The 'Haves' and the 'Have Yachts': The Displacement of the 'Merely Wealthy' in London

This paper revisits the literature on gentrification in order to interrogate recent socio-spatial changes in some of London’s most affluent neighbourhoods.  If gentrification is understood as any process involving a change in the population of land-users in which the new users are of a higher socio-economic status than the previous user then, we ask: should processes currently occurring in such areas be considered as gentrification?  We re-examine Barnsbury, Islington, review work on Highgate, north London, and present new data on the experiences of established residents of Kensington’s W8.  We conclude that recent changes in land use and population in W8 involve intensive concentrations of wealth and housing reconstruction as plutocrats from all over the world move there.  We conclude that these plutocratic forms are specific, and unlike previous configurations of gentrification in their scale and intensity.

Roger Burrows is Professor of Cities at Newcastle University. He is committed to interdisciplinary working across the arts, humanities and the social sciences but also has a keen interest in creative and social technologies. His role at Newcastle is to bring together work on urban matters from across campus. He is especially interested in exploring how best the humanities and the social sciences can critically and productively inform developments in urban science.

Professor Burrows’ research interests are in urban sociology; social media; the social life of methods; and the public life of data. He has just completed a study of the impact of the 'super rich' on affluent areas of London. He is the author, co-author or editor of over 140 articles, chapters, books and reports. 

Dr Ayona Datta

Winners and Losers: ‘Good Governance’ and Hashtag Citizenships in the making of India’s 100 Smart Cities Challenge

Dr Ayona Datta is Reader in Human Geography at Kings College London.  Her research interests are in the critical geographies of smart urbanism, gender citizenships and urban futures in the global north and south. Earlier research examined the connections between transnational urbanism, migrant citizenship, and translocal geographies of belonging among East European construction workers in London. This research continues to develop theoretical and empirical work on slums and informal settlements in exploring how marginal social actors live through the violence of law and urban development in India. This is particularly related to the resultant transformations in gender relations and citizenship struggles that occupy social, political and environmental spaces of action.  Dr Datta's more recent research seeks to advance theoretical and empirical work on postcolonial urbanism through the examination of smart cities as experiments in urban innovation and digital citizenships.

Dr Jos Boys and Professor Rob Imrie

Rethinking relationships between disability and architecture

Thursday 2 February 

The first part of the lecture – by Professor Rob Imrie - will outline thoughts from a recently finished European Research Council project entitled Universalism, universal design, and the designed environment. It contends that architects rarely relate their design conceptions to the human body and its multiple forms of embodiment. Where the body is conceived of, it is usually in terms of a conception of the ‘normal body’, or a body characterised by geometrical proportions arranged around precise Cartesian dimensions. How should architects, and built environment professionals, respond to the dominance of bodily reductive conceptions in architecture in ways whereby the complexities of bodily interactions with (in) design are placed at the fulcrum of the design process?

The second part – by Dr Jos Boys - will explore how disability studies scholars and disabled artists are suggesting creative alternatives for thinking differently about both disabled and abled bodies; not as oppositional and fixed categories, but as dynamic and ambiguous relationships. Critiquing concepts of accessibility as a form of ‘retro-fitting’ (assumed) normal built space, Jos will suggest that design can instead start from human difference and the richness and variety offered by taking notice of bio and neuro-diversity. She will discuss examples from her recent book Doing Disability Differently: An alternative handbook on architecture, dis/ability and designing for everyday life (Routledge 2014) as a well as a forthcoming anthology Disability, Space, Architecture: A Reader.

Dr Julieanna Preston

Matter-ing, Practicing Care

What it is to practice care as a material body amongst other material bodies?

In this lecture, Julieanna Preston explores what care might be if extended to earthly matter: a boulder, a mountain, a river, an asphalt road, a timber pile and a chalk cliff. Indebted to the scholarly work of moral, social/political and feminist philosopher Virginia Held and contemporary philosopher and feminist theoretician Rosi Braidotti, this inquiry takes the shape of durational site-responsive performances. The complexity of environmental, social, political and climatic forces spatialise contingent and relational encounters that test the limits of empathy, intimacy, trust and power between a full spectrum of subjectivities.

This lecture introduces Dr Preston’s tenure as a Visiting Professor at Newcastle University School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape March-May 2017 and forecasts her upcoming performative interventions in the city and her interaction with postgraduate students across architecture, landscape architecture, visual art, performance and sound art on the topic of new materialism and practices material ethics.


Julieanna Preston is a Professor of Spatial Practice at the College of Creative Arts, Massey University, Wellington, New Zealand. Her research crosses architecture, art and philosophy and draws from her background in interior design, building construction, landscape gardening, material processes and performance writing. Julieanna has delivered live art performances and lectured on her creative and scholarly works in the United States, UK, Sweden, Australia, Scotland, The Netherlands, Canada and New Zealand. She received a Bachelor of Architecture from Virginia Tech (1983), Master of Architecture from Cranbrook Academy of Art (1990) and a PhD through creative practice from RMIT (2013). Recent works and publications include a sole authored book Performing Matter: interior surface and feminist actions (AADR 2014), Idleness Labouritory: Attuning and Attending (in collaboration with Mick Douglas, Syracuse, NY 2016) and Performing, Writing: A symposium in four turns (Wellington, NZ, 2017).