Urban vacancy, occupation and commoning: advancing a global comparative urbanism

Suraya Scheba, Cian O’Callaghan, and Andreas Scheba

Funding period: 1 June 2023 – 30 September 2024
Type of funding: Seminar Series

Host institutions: University of Cape Town (South Africa), Human Sciences Research Council (South Africa), TU Wien (Austria), and Trinity College Dublin (Ireland).
Dates: June 2023 (virtual research symposium, Cape Town/hybrid), December 2023 (workshops, Cape Town), May 2024 (conference/workshop, Vienna), and August 2024 (conference panel and training workshops, Dublin/Cape Town).
Lead organisers: Dr Suraya Scheba (University of Cape Town), Dr Cian O’Callaghan (Trinity College Dublin), and Dr Andreas Scheba (Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa)
Team members: Dr Kathleen Stokes (National University of Ireland, Galway), Dr Justin Kadi (University of Cambridge), Prof Simon Guentner (Vienna University of Technology), Dr Judith Lehner (Vienna University of Technology), Dr Nate Millington (University of Manchester), and Ms Diana Sanchez-Betancourt (Human Sciences Research Council, SA).
Contact: Dr Suraya Scheba

Abstract: The ambition of this project is to convene a global cohort of scholars to advance innovative conceptual and methodological approaches around urban vacancy, occupation, and commoning. In engaging across Southern and Northern geographies-drawing together scholars working in cities in South Africa, Europe, and Latin America – we adopt a relational and global comparative approach to thinking the urban.

The seminar series features a collective of established scholars and ECRs. Our team has extensive experience conducting comparative, collaborative transnational research cutting across the North/South divide (Latin America, Europe, and South Africa), and brings together distinct genealogies of urban thought. The dynamic relationship between vacancy, occupations and commoning has been extraordinarily productive; however complex geographical variegation creates barriers. The seminar series will address this challenge through a) learning from embedded discussions involving academics, occupiers and social movements, b) developing a global comparative urban approach, c) training ECRs to develop grounded and international collaborations.