Sunday, January 02, 2011

Urban Utopianism Workshop @ Hong Kong Baptist University

(The original deadline for abstract submission has passed, but please contact the organiser to see if there is a place available)

Call for Papers

Urban Utopianism workshop

The utopian perspective, according David Pinder, is one that involves “the expression of desire for a better way of being and living through the imagining of a different city and a different urban life”. David Harvey charts a course to construct the future, or what he calls a ‘dialectical or spatiotemporal utopianism’. This approach underscores a study of the historical geography of capitalism to provide clues as to how a dialectical utopian project can be grounded in both the present and the past. In particular, it requires us to unravel the internal contradictions and then consider how to develop the collective mechanisms and cultural forms necessary for the realisation of alternative urban visions based on these contradictions. For Henri Lefebvre, the world space has been colonised by commodity capitalism and state management and planning. Nevertheless, out of the isotopias in urban space, there are heterotopias developed out of contradictions. Heterotopic spaces can further be developed into utopia, as the May 1968 Movement in central Paris, a utopia, originated from the earlier heterotopia of Nanterre has illustrated. More specifically, for Lefebvre, our utopia is the differential space. This search can be achieved by his much-celebrated regressive-progressive method. For the non-West, the search for utopia must work harder to counteract the hegemony of current urbanisation in co-determination with the world. It is the objective of this international conference (1) to identify the spatial contradictions, (2) to argue conceptually different ways to imagine a different city, (3) to propose ways to build the collective mechanisms/autogestion/the reformed state, (4) to detail cases of experiment all over the world, and (5) in particular, compare and contrast experiments in the developed, developing and socialist worlds.
Call for Papers
This workshop is interested in papers that focus on one or more of the following sub-themes:
  1. Conceptual discussion of utopia by invoking theoreticians like Foucault, Lefebvre, Gramsci, Harvey, and others;
  2. Documentation of experiments around the world including examination and critique of the present, into the possibilities of imagining a future transformation;
  3. Compare and contrast more than one cases in different categories of city and in various types of society;
  4. Cases of experiment in East Asia, in general, and Hong Kong, in particular.

Please send abstracts to Wing-Shing Tang ( at the Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, before the 31st December, 2010.
It is intended to publish some of the papers in a monograph.

1 comment:

Christophe said...

The theme of your workshop sounds interesting. Here are few links that you might find useful:
- Western utopia in Hong Kong:
- Planned towns in Hong Kong:
- This video of Microsoft uses Hong Kong to describe its vision of the future:
- Verticality in Hong Kong: