Episode 60 – On Peripheralisation

How do “peripheries” form? And how does urbanization generate processes of peripheralization? Today, urban research is increasingly confronted with processes of extended urbanization that unfold far beyond cities and agglomerations: novel patterns of urbanization are crystallizing in agricultural areas and in remote landscapes, challenging inherited conceptions of the urban as a bounded and dense settlement type. While certain territories of extended urbanisation experience growth, others are affected by peripheralisation, experiencing deep socio-economic and ecological restructuring, marginalisation and inequality, and the re-articulation of power and privilege. These observations advocate for a radical reconceptualization of the experience of periphery at various spatial scales. 

In this podcast, we discuss peripheralization not as a static spatial condition, but as a dynamic process that is shaped by uneven urbanization and complex multi-scalar relations, strongly put forward through moments of “crisis”. We debate on perpheralisation processes which manifest in different scales and geographies and discuss both their socioeconomic and ecological implications, as well as the emancipatory potential in ex-centric territories in times of exception.

The podcast follows the intense discussions that took place this August in Athens, during the RC21 conference, in the context of Panel 26 entitled ‘Peripheralization. The production of ex-centric places as an ordinary process of extended urbanisation’ conveyed by Christian Schmid and Metaxia Markaki, hosting twenty-six international contributions. Warm thanks and extended credits to all participants of Panel 26.

Episode transcript


Metaxia Markaki

Metaxia is an architect, educator and urban researcher, currently completing her PhD at ETH LUS Institute on processes of peripheralisation unfolding in mountainous Greece. She has recently contributed to the edited volume Extended Urbanisation: Tracing Planetary Struggles (eds. Schmid, Topalovic) with the chapter “Contesting the Expropriation of Land and Nature: The Peripheralisation of Arcadia.” Together with Christian Schmid, she co-chaired in August 2022, the RC21 Athens Panel 26, “Peripheralisation: An ordinary process of extended urbanisation in times of exception.”

Twitter- @MarkakiMetaxia

Faiq Mari فائق مرعي

Faiq is an architect working in the field of architectural research, education, and design, with a focus on architecture’s potential as a tool for social and political investigation and action. He is currently a doctoral fellow at the Institute for the History and Theory of Architecture (gta) at ETH Zürich on the topic of “Commons of Palestine.”

Twitter- @faiqmari @araburbanism

Our guests:

Shubhra Gururani 

Shubhra is the Director of York Centre for Asian Research (YCAR) and Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at York University, Canada. Her research lies at the intersection of urban anthropology, cultural and feminist geography, and political ecology and focuses on peripheral urbanization, agrarian-urban transformation, property-making, and caste politics. She is currently conducting an anthropological study of disappearing water bodies and flooding amid real-estate led urbanization in India. Her essays have appeared in Urban Geography, Gender, Place, and Culture, Urbanisation, SAMAJ – South Asian Multidisciplinary Academic Journal and Economic and Political Weekly.  

Twitter- @gggrrrurani @GurgaonNature

Christian Schmid 

Christian is a geographer, sociologist and urban researcher, Professor of Sociology at the Department of Architecture at ETH Zürich. He has authored, co-authored, and co-edited numerous publications on theories of the urban and of space, on Henri Lefebvre, on territorial urban development, and on the comparative analysis of urbanisation. Together with architects Roger Diener, Jacques Herzog, Marcel Meili and Pierre de Meuron he co-authored the book Switzerland: an urban portrait, a pioneering analysis of extended urbanisation. Together with Neil Brenner he worked on the theorisation and investigation of emergent formations of planetary urbanisation. He is cofounder of the International Network for Urban Research and Action (INURA). Currently, he also leads a project on Territories of Extended Urbanisation and one on Agrarian Questions under Planetary Urbanisation, which is based at the ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore.

Michael Lukas

Michael is an Assistant professor in the Department of Geography at the University of Chile. His research focuses on the intersections of international political economy, urban political geography, and power relations in planning and governance in Latin American urbanization processes. Recently, he has been working on the role of corporate power and the extractive industries in urban development and governance in Chile and beyond. He is member of the international Contested Territories network, Editor of the peer-reviewed journal Investigaciones Geograficas and, together with Nadine Reis, the editor of the book Beyond the Megacity. New Dimensions of Peripheral Urbanization in Latin America, part of the series Suburbanisms.

Twitter- @Global_suburbs

Giulia Torino

Giulia is a post-doctoral Research Fellow at the Department of Geography and Teaching Associate at the Department of Politics, University of Cambridge. With a focus on Latin America and, more recently, the Mediterranean, her work centers around the changing politics of dwelling under global displacement and racial capitalism, at the intersection of urban and political geography, anthropology and sociology. Her current project “Extending Urbanisation: Migration, Labour and the Struggle for Place in the Black Mediterranean,” co-funded by the British Academy, explores the making of precarious forms of inhabitation at the nexus of transnational human movement, agro-industrial labor, and extended forms of urban life.

Twitter- @GiuliaTMqz

Introduction Voice: Dr. Nicolò Molinari, discussing his paper “Peripheralization processes and the emerging of new landscapes of conflict: between the Yellow Vests movement and the George Floyd rebellion.”

Podcast editing: Metaxia Markaki

LINKS RC21 Athens, Abstract Book, pp.149 -163: [https://az659834.vo.msecnd.net/eventsairwesteuprod/production-pcoconvin-public/c8fe34fbd5e8430b8a304b35ffb6a5bc ]

Shubhra Gururani : Engaging the Urban from the Periphery [https://journals.openedition.org/samaj/7131]

Christian Schmid : Henri Lefebvre and the theory of production of space [https://www.versobooks.com/books/4089-henri-lefebvre-and-the-theory-of-the-production-of-space]

Michael Lukas : Beyond the Megacity: New Dimensions of Peripheral Urbanization in Latin America [https://utorontopress.com/9781487509101/beyond-the-megacity/] Contested Territories [https://www.contested-territories.net/]