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22nd N-AERUS Conference on “Thinking Urbanization from the Ground: Innovations in governance, policy, and placemaking in the Global South”


Thinking Urbanization from the Ground: Innovations in governance, policy, and placemaking in the Global South.

20-22 June 2024, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast

Download conference poster here!

N-AERUS Steering Committee and the Conference organising committee are excited to launch the call for abstract of N-AERUS 2024 conference. It will be a great opportunity to meet in person after years of pandemic and experimenting with hybrid methodologies.

In envisioning the future of cities, the World Cities Report (UN-HABITAT, 2022) states that the emergence of urbanization as a global megatrend is intertwined with other challenges that the world has faced in the last 50 years. With a rate of about 3 million people turning urban citizens every week, urbanization takes place in the context of climate change, natural disasters, intense droughts, pandemics. These processes intensify economic crises, inequality, informality, housing precarity, social discontent, and resource scarcity, including infrastructure, food, and energy. The urban poor are disproportionately affected due to their limited adaptive capacity making them more vulnerable. Various initiatives, including within the SDGs agenda have attempted  to address these issues through greater reliance on grassroots activities and bottom-up processes. Within this context, Thinking Urbanization from the Ground is a flexible, inclusive theme to bring together evolving Southern theories with practice. The conference aims to reflect on how global South practices engage with more transversal and hegemonic debates in planning, and how these contribute to addressing the impacts of urbanization. 

We invite abstracts on the theme above and related N-AERUS topics. We provide the following areas around which we plan to structure the conference.

COMMUNITY AND GRASSROOTS PLANNING INNOVATIONS: What can be learned from the works of community and social-based organisations on the sustainable production of their living environments? What planning, design and/or policy strategies have succeeded in addressing recession, inequality, informality, housing, social discontent, and/or resource scarcity? We hope to gather case studies from grassroots innovations in planning practice. We also aim to reflect on the legacy of John Turner and its relevance to think urbanization from the ground today. 

STRUCTURE & AGENCY IN GOVERNANCE AND POLICY: What are current innovations in policy strategies to frame organisation and partnership (central-local, local-local, public -private, others) that allow communities to contribute to governance processes? What type of community agency has been developed? How has this affected current structures and planning cultures? 

COMPARATIVE STUDIES: We invite contributions focusing on comparisons that help to highlight commonalities, differences, and bridges between planning cultures both North-South and South-South. We are looking to develop insights into the relational ontologies around the spatial turn of policy making. What relationships are in place for the creation of more equitable and sustainable places, cities, and regions are key questions.

N-AERUS is a trans-disciplinary network and we invite urban scholars and practitioners from the built environment disciplines, urban and human geography, anthropology, sociology, political science and beyond.


(Scientific) abstracts via online form (also here: forms.gle/d4a3X5YFf2ocvAXY7)
Abstracts for presentations within the conference sessions should introduce the topic, research objectives or purpose, case study(ies), methods, (expected) main findings, and contributions (theory/practice) in a length between 250-300 words. Selected papers will then be called for submitting full papers for the Special Issue

Special sessions: we encourage the submission of special sessions. Examples include interactive forums, excursions, or practical demonstrations. When submitting a proposal for a special session, please clearly indicate the session's objectives, expected participants (if applicable), the target audience, and the session type (250-300 words). As we will NOT be able to run a further call for papers for these special sessions, proposers will have to include a list of participants. Do email these to naerus2024@gmail.com

The scientific committee will review all submissions and notify participants of the acceptance by the 5 March 2024.

The School of Natural and Built Environment (SNBE) at Queen’s University Belfast (QUB: https://www.qub.ac.uk/) is the organising and hosting institution. The Conference venue will be the Lanyon building (main campus). This building opened in 1849 and is named after its architect Sir Charles Lanyon.

Host institution members
Dr Urmi Sengupta (u.sengupta@qub.ac.uk), Reader, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast 
Dr Cristian Silva (c.silva@qub.ac.uk), Lecturer, School of Natural and Built Environment, Queen’s University Belfast 

N-AERUS Steering Group members
Dr Antony Boanada-Fuchs, (anthony.boanada-fuchs@unisg.ch), University of St Gallen
Dr Anitra Baliga (baliga@ihs.nl), IHS, Erasmus University Rotterdam
Prof Andrea Rigon (andrea.rigon@ucl.ac.uk), Development Planning Unit, University College London.

For any conference-related queries please send an email to naerus2024@gmail.com

Selected abstracts and presentations will be invited to submit a proposal for a Special Issue (SI) in a highly ranked peer-reviewed Journal. 

To enable wider participation in the NAERUS conference the host institution may be able to provide a few bursaries towards meeting some of the cost of attending the conference. Bursaries will be made available on a competitive basis and subject to the criteria listed below. To be eligible you must be a national of a country on the DAC list of ODA recipient countries, have no support from your institution, and/or have no research grant, or other funding awards to attend the conference. It is a condition of the award that the bursary applicants must have paper(s) accepted for presentation and will confirm  travel bookings made within 31st March 2024.

Interested applicants should submit the funding request to the organising committee with reasons for participation and expected outcomes and impacts from the conference attendance through the same forms used to submit the abstract. 


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