Centre for URBan research (CURB) ‌


Paul Jones

A Cultural Political Economy of Urban Visualisations: 'Architecture' and Capitalist Futures

Paul Jones, The University of Liverpool

Wednesday 1st June, 4-5:30pm. W/243


How are urban capitalist projects articulated and made meaningful? Architectural models are

representational forms that can be used in such a way as to make visions of capitalist futures more

resonant. This paper explores the additional force afforded by the deployment of digital

architectural models to the Liverpool Waters project, a planned £5.5bn development of that city’s

waterfront. Analysing the models as interpretive representations whose practical use generates

context and rationale for the project, the argument is that models allow for: i) visual connections to

be forged between Liverpool and waterfront ‘global cities’ elsewhere; ii) a foregrounding of the

dramatic scale and character of the transformation proposed by the project (including via a

problematisation of the site’s present uses); and iii) a basis for other sets of claims concerning

Liverpool Waters to cohere, as illustrated by the public consultation exercises in which models

became presentational devices allowing for the visualisation of social claims concerning the

development. Accordingly, architectural models are here to be understood as consequential in their

effect, with the display and presentation of models allowing for the co-ordination and integration of

other, otherwise disparate, economic claims concerning the future. Precisely due to the other types

of mobilisations that such modelling makes possible, critical research must engage with the

interpretative frames that architectural models seek to establish and exploit.

* Paul Jones is a Senior Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Liverpool. His research centres

on the political economy of the urban; recently this has included studies of architecture and the

built environment, digital models, regeneration photography, and – with Michael Mair – analysis of

the Private Finance Initiative, supermarkets, and contemporary state reform.

Paul Watt

Assemblage urbanism and the London housing crisis: the Focus E15 campaign encounter Deleuze and Guattari

Paul Watt, Birkbeck, University of London

Wednesday 8th June, 4pm-5.30pm. W/243




The Sociology of Contemporary Urban Life

The Sociology of Contemporary Urban Life

Thursday 16th and Friday 17th June 2016

For more informaton or to register, please visit the conference website

This two-day conference, co-organised by the Department of Sociology and the CURB (Centre for Urban Research) at University of York, is an attempt to provide a lively, open-minded forum for urban sociologists to gather and discuss the challenges of conducting the craft of urban sociology in a fragmented, hierarchical urban world, an urbanized planet where the very concept of ‘the city’—traditionally the unit of analysis for urban sociologists—faces unprecedented levels of scepticism.  The conference aims to explore the contours of contemporary urban life in a critical manner, using the urban as a common prism through which to explore links between economies, cultures, politics and aesthetics.  The conference will also begin to address the distinctive role that urban sociology has played, does play and may in the future play in the broader academic endeavour of Urban Studies. Several leading urban sociologists have already agreed to speak at this event including Fran Tonkiss, Michael Keith, Emma Jackson, Phil Hubbard, Ayona Datta, David Pinder and Richard Sennett (a public lecture). However, we also intend to run a limited number of open streams and will be considering abstracts for papers that connect empirically or theoretically with the four interconnecting themes of the event. Abstracts should be sent to both Gareth Millington (gareth.millington@york.ac.uk) and Daryl Martin (daryl.martin@york.ac.uk) by Friday 25th March please. Decisions on abstracts will be made the following week. We especially welcome contributions from early career researchers.