Spatial Reconfigurations of Work in Cities Seminar

Spatial Reconfigurations of Work in Cities, a two-day Seminar at the University of Portsmouth, UK, will be on 20/21 April 2017, funded by the Urban Studies Foundation in a series of events entitled ‘Reconceptualising Urban Landscapes of Work’.

Work is increasingly organized outside employer-employee systems, people hold multiple jobs and an increasingly mobile workforce works in multiple places including own homes, other people’s homes, co-working spaces, warehouses, virtual spaces, public spaces and ‘third-spaces’ (Daniel and Ellis-Chadwick 2016; Pink et al., 2015; Gough, 2012; Brennan-Horley, 2010; Felstead et al., 2005). These new realities of practices and places of work emerging in cities, and the consequences for urban systems, are still patchy and poorly understood.

As the first of three seminars exploring the spatial reconfiguration of economic practice in contemporary ‘developed economy’ cities, this 2-day seminar will focus on changing urban labour markets, commuting and work-patterns, new work technologies, new urban work sites and creative spaces. It aims to rethink existing concepts in urban research such as ‘the journey to work’, clustering, formal vs. informal work(spaces), private vs. public spaces and corporate vs. social spaces.

Key themes for the Portsmouth seminar are:

How have the working rhythms of cities changed and what does this mean for urban systems in terms of infrastructure, urban design and planning?

  • Where is formal, informal and precarious work undertaken; in what urban sites, industries and places, and what spaces do these create?
  • What are the mechanisms and outcomes of activity clustering in cities? Or is ‘the cluster’ an outmoded concept?
  • What new urban workspaces/geographies are emerging around the ‘platform’ economy?
  • What are the varying material outcomes of new working practices and technologies in contemporary cities in ‘developed’ economies?

Bringing together researchers from diverse disciplinary backgrounds, the seminar promises a lively mixture of paper presentations, panel sessions and informal networking. Currently confirmed speakers are: J. Hong and P. Thakuriah (UBDC, University of Glasgow) on ICT and commuting patterns of workers; B. Burchill (University of Cambridge) on the new diversity of fixed and mobile workplaces; M. Pallares Barbera (Autonomous University of Barcelona) and M. d’Ovidio (University of Bari) on live-work spaces; T. Virani (Queen Mary London) and R. Gill (City University), O. Ibert and S. Schmidt (IRS, Berlin), C. Lorne (University of Manchester) and J. Merkel (City University) on ‘new’ collaborative urban workspaces.

The themes/discussions will be further developed at following seminars in Southampton (September 2017) and Athens (February 2018).

The seminar will run from 11:00 on Thursday 20th April until 16:00 on Friday 21st April. There is no fee. For further details of how to register for the event, please contact Carol Ekinsmyth, Department of Geography, University of Portsmouth  ( Queries welcome.

“We are most grateful to the Urban Studies Foundation for funding the gathering in Portsmouth of diverse experts to consider our changing urban landscapes, spaces and practices of work,” says Carol.

This seminar will be hosted at the University of Portsmouth’s Portland Building.

The seminar is funded by the Urban Studies Foundation and jointly organized by Dr Carol Ekinsmyth (University of Portsmouth), Dr Darja Reuschke (University of Southampton) and Dr Maria Tsampra and Dr Alex Afouxenidis (EKKE, Athens).

One Comment

  1. Avatar
    Catherine Teeling
    3 years ago

    I would like one attend this seminar.
    Where will it be held?


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