Episode 56 – Urbanization: A Contested Concept (Urban Concepts Series)

Urbanization has become central in recent political discourses, as well as a contested concept in experts’ spheres. This podcast of the Urban Political delves into the phenomenon of urbanization and traces back how the idea of “expanding cities” is causing disagreement in urban studies and leading researchers to raise questions that have haunted the discipline since the times of Georg Simmel. In this episode, Nicolas Goez, one of our new members of the editorial board at Urban Political, talks with Johanna Hoerning and Hillary Angelo about current discussions around urbanization, against the background of the so-called urban age. Join us in this discussion and tune in!

Episode transcript


Nicolas Goez

Nicolas studied Political Science and Interdisciplinary Latin American Studies at the Freie Universität Berlin. Currently, he is working as Lecturer and Researcher at the Chair of Urban Studies of the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar and is doing his PhD under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Maria Backhouse and Prof. Dr. Johanna Hoerning at the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Augsburg. Since 2019, he has been a Research Associate in the research project “Food for Justice” at the Freie Universität Berlin. He joined the Urban Political in 2022.

Our Guests:

Johanna Hoerning

Johanna is currently the Substitute Professor of Urban and Regional Sociology at the Hafencity University Hamburg. Her research focuses on urban and spatial theory, postcolonial theory, and housing and social movements.

Hillary Angelo

Hillary is Assistant Professor at the University of California – Santa Cruz. Her research focuses on understandings of the environment and its relationship to large-scale spatial and social transformations.


Angelo, Hillary, and Kian Goh. 2021. ‘OUT IN SPACE: Difference and Abstraction in Planetary Urbanization’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 45: 732-44.
Brenner, Neil. 2016. Critique of Urbanization: Selected Essays (Birkhäuser: Basel).
Buckley, Michelle, and Kendra Strauss. 2016. ‘With, against and beyond Lefebvre: Planetary urbanization and epistemic plurality’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34: 617-36.
Castriota, Rodrigo, and João Tonucci. 2018. ‘Extended urbanization in and from Brazil’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 36: 512-28.
Ghosh, Swarnabh, and Ayan Meer. 2021. ‘Extended urbanisation and the agrarian question: Convergences, divergences and openings’, Urban studies (Edinburgh, Scotland), 58: 1097-119.
Hoerning, Johanna. 2019. ‘Reassessing Urbanization Theory: Distinguishing and Relating Urban and Rural Political Spaces Zur Theorie der Urbanisierung: Urbane und rurale politische Räume unterscheiden und in Beziehung setzen’, Geographische Zeitschrift, 107: 209-29.
Jazeel, Tariq. 2017. ‘Urban theory with an outside’, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 36: 405-19.
Monte-Mór, Roberto Luís. 2021. ‘Extended Urbanization and Settlement Patterns in Brazil: An Environmental Approach.’ in Neil Brenner (ed.), Explosions/Implosions: Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization (De Gruyter: Berlin, Boston).
Paprocki, Kasia (2020). The climate change of your desires: Climate migration and imaginaries of urban and rural climate futures. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 38(2), 248-266.