Michael Keith Seminar: The Future of the Future City?

Monday 15 May 2017
10:45 - 12:45 BST
Sir Alwyn Williams Building, Level 5, Glasgow, G12 8QN

The Urban Big Data Centre is pleased to host a free seminar with Michael Keith, Director of COMPAS, Co-ordinator of Urban Transformations (The ESRC portfolio of investments and research on cities), and Co-Director of the University of Oxford Future of Cities programme.

The seminar will take place on Monday 15th May, at 11am. The talk will be approximately 1 hour long and a buffet lunch with networking opportunities will follow.


The Future of the Future City? The Sustainable Metropolis and the Possibility of an Interdisciplinary Urbanism

Michael Keith, University of Oxford

Controlling, dreaming, predicting and making the future of the city has been the focus of scholarly investigation, artistic visions and technocratic aspiration for many centuries. But in the contemporary moment we see a proliferation in the number of claims that are made about how we measure the future city, how we make visible its form and shape its settlement. In this talk I shall consider the historical contingency of claims making around urban futures but also the manner in which might engage with its deterministic dimensions, emergent forms and ethical dilemmas. The talk will consider the promise (and promises) of attempts to make visible the urban as a ‘lab’ or ‘observatory’ through which we might ‘see like a city’. The talk will consider the concerns, opportunities and limits of such an urbanism to address the realities of the 21st century metropolis and how such work might nuance an interdisciplinary scholarly register.

Michael Keith’s most recent books are:

China Constructing Capitalism: Economic life and urban change (published autumn 2013, jointly with Scott Lash, Jakob Arnoldi and Tyler Rooker)

Migration: the COMPAS Anthology (2014, jointly edited with Bridget Anderson)


Session timings will follow this approximate schedule:

10:45am - 11:00am: Arrival with tea/coffee and biscuits provided

11:00am - 11:05am: Introduction from Prof. Vonu Thakuriah, Director, Urban Big Data Centre

11:05am - 12:05pm: Michael Keith Talk

12:05pm - 12:45pm: Buffet lunch provided over networking

Short Bio

Michael's research focuses on migration related processes of urban change. His most recent work is the monograph China Constructing Capitalism: Economic Life and Urban Change (2014). His next will be a book for Cambridge University Press, entitled: Power, Identity and Representation: Race, Governance and Mobilisation in British Society.

He has experience outside the academy as a politician for twenty years in the east end of London, serving in the 1990s and early 2000s for five years as leader of a London local authority, Chair of the Thames Gateway London Partnership and a commissioner on the Blair government’s response to the 2005 London bombings, the Commission on Integration and Cohesion.