Housing and the City

17th Annual International AHRA Conference

VIRTUAL CONFERENCE, hosted by the University of Nottingham

November 19 2020 - November 21 2020

***CALL FOR PAPERS EXTENDED UNTIL JUNE 30TH***

Given the changes to our lives brought about by the current Covid19 pandemic, we are sending a short additional call for papers for this year’s AHRA International Conference, Housing and the City, as follows:

Housing and the City After the Pandemic

The primary question asked by the original AHRA 2020 conference call was this: what does it mean to be at home in the city in the twenty-first century? As the world continues to fight the rapid spread of Covid19, we might not yet be in a position to substantively rethink this question, let alone to predict a new urban reality of segregation and containment. However, we invite you to reflect and speculate on how the effects of the pandemic will shape our lives, how it challenges our conception of the home and the city, and how it affects the complex relationships between the individual and the collective, the public and the private. We ask how it might affect the dynamism of the urban.

We invite contributions in the form of individual papers or roundtable discussions, as well as submissions in a range of media, for example film, artwork or photography, that reflect and speculate on how the pandemic will shape our urban lives into the future. 

Expressions of interest should take the form of an abstract of 300 words, accompanied by an image if appropriate, to be submitted via the conference website, by 30 June 2020.

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In the early twentieth century, a desire to master the workings of the city linked it explicitly to the provision of housing. The processes of ‘the urban’ became an ‘ism’, the multiplication of houses became housing. In the twenty-first century, we are, it seems, witnessing the rise of new modes of urban domesticity – of ‘co-living’ for young urban professionals, of ‘co-housing’ of various kinds, of ‘live-work’ units and of a kind of domesticated working. Sometimes, these trends are born of economic necessity; sometimes, they are driven by aspirations of inclusion, solidarity and sharing. In either case, they are promoted as desirable styles of life, experiments in housing and working that are linked to the promise of a new kind of collectivity, a new kind of city. Our concern is to investigate the link between housing and urbanism, if not to disentangle it, at least to interrogate it, in order to ask what these new forms of living and working might mean for the city and its future.

This conference aims to investigate the historical and theoretical genealogy of the following question: what does it mean to be at home in the city in the twenty-first century, in an age of evolving social and work patterns, increased geographical mobility and climate concern?

We invite contributions from a variety of disciplines such as architecture, urbanism, sociology, philosophy, geography, anthropology, as well as written and visual contributions from the arts, such as photography or film to explore this question.