“As scholars struggle to decipher current forms of urbanization, they are forced to confront the limitations of inherited approaches to urban questions, and consequently, to face the difficult challenge of inventing new theories, concepts, methods and cartographies that may better illuminate emergent spatial conditions, their contradictions and their implications.”
“A lab for theory? The starting point of the Urban Theory Lab-GSD is the strong contention that theory matters. While most labs are oriented towards empirical forms of experimentation, the UTL’s agenda is to proceed experimentally with theories, concepts, methods and maps.”
“Questions of theory and concept formation lie at the heart of all forms of urban research and practice. They are not mere background conditions or framing devices, but constitute the very interpretive fabric through which urbanists weave together metanarratives, spatial taxonomies, normative-political orientations, analyses of empirical data and strategies of intervention.”
“Our work combines conceptual and representational experimentation, theory-driven research and research-based pedagogy, as well as various forms of outreach and events programming within the Harvard-GSD community and at scholarly conferences and workshops around the world.”
“By revealing the pervasive yet often hidden metageographical assumptions that underpin contemporary uses of geospatial data, our work subjects them to critical interrogation and, where appropriate, radical reinvention via the cutting edge approaches to visual representation and critical cartography that are under development among faculty and students at the Graduate School of Design.”
“A new understanding of urbanization is needed that theorizes the evolving, mutually recursive relations between agglomeration processes and their operational landscapes, including the forms of land-use intensification, resource extraction, logistical coordination, socio-environmental transformation, core-periphery polarization and sociopolitical struggle that accompany the latter at all spatial scales.”
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