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The City in the New Millenium: An International and Comparative Perspective

Prof. Roger Keil and Prof. Shelley Hornstein

The City Institute mounted a workshop last May 2008 in order to bring together like-minded international university research centres devoted to matters urban and to see if we can begin to think about partnering with such centres. Initiated by the University of Bologna (and the future Museum of the City of Bologna) and in conjunction with their partner, the University of Denver Center for Civic Engagement, we, at York's City Institute, spearheaded a meeting at York. Bologna and Denver are currently discussing forging with the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. York University invited additional participants from the Freie Universität Berlin, in particular the JFK Institute for North American Studies and the Center for Metropolitan Studies at the Technical University of Berlin. The workshop focused on two pressing research themes:  Starchitecture, or spectacular cities; and Urban sprawl.  It is our hope to continue these discussions with a view to creating a joint course between some of the institutions in addition to developing institutional partnerships.

The aim of the partnership is to investigate jointly and in varying thematic research units:

  • The multiple urban communities that inhabit each city;
  • The relationship between the center and suburbia (the dramatic problem of the banlieus, or tent cites that have sprouted up in the outskirts of many European cities);
  • Immigration and the creation of new hybrid, transnational identities of the city;
  • The city as cultural space -- restoration and preservation of historical buildings vs. the totally new and the wrecking-ball;
  • The changing nature and functions of cities as sites of command and control over globalization processes;
  • Education, democracy, and human rights in the growing global village;
  • The problem of mobility and transportation;
  • Tourism and its implications;
  • Urban Identity and the Visual Arts.

The research will focus on the comparison of a few exemplary cities and their different experiences and transformations (such as Berlin, Bologna, Denver, Las Vegas, Toronto). The research will be interdisciplinary in nature and include the fields of sociology, economics, anthropology, archaeology, history, geography, environmental and urban studies, architecture, literature, visual arts, and the media.

Here is a link to the program from the workshop: Program

An external website was created for the workshop, which served as the introductory tool for this event and will be the template and communication platform for future collaboration. To access this site, click here.

A Y-File article was published about the workshop in May 9, 2008. Article

Funding for this project was made possible through an Internationalization Grant from the Office of the Vice-President Academic and the Office of the Vice-President Research & Innovation as well as York International, York's Centre for German & European Studies and Foreign Affairs & International Trade Canada.