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Invitation: Urban Futures at Risk Scholars Group launch event on 22 May

Who, how and at what levels can urban dwellers and their cities contribute to a sustainable, peaceful and just future? These are the questions addressed by the Scholars of Urban Futures at Risk Scholars Group

Announcing the launch event of the Urban Futures at Risk Scholars Group at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin on 22 May, 2023. The event will take place in the facilities of the Institute of Social Science. The Urban Futures at Risk Scholars Group was initiated by the Georg-Simmel Centre for Urban Studies's director Prof Talja Blokland to explore urban citizens engagement, agency of local activists, political participation, sustainability, integration and urban identities in cities in crises.

Cities become more and more important in local and global challenges. From the ideal of citizens of the world, we have moved to define cities as sites of citizenship. This makes urban settings relevant to agency in new ways. Pandemic, war, autocratic developments and climate crisis compromise ideas of individual and collective futures which tended to be taken for granted in privileged urban settings. At moments of crises, war and oppression, however, such routinized ideas become irrelevant and need reconsideration. Cities provide a special context to define and develop various scenarios of futures; they also connect large-scale structures and everyday life in various ways, and expose the agency of future-making.

Working from individual projects, the Scholars of Urban Futures at Risk Scholars Group addresses the broader question of who, how, and at which scales urban citizens and their cities can contribute to sustainable, peaceful and just futures. The scholars of this group share disruptions of their own lives by war and oppression. This provides a shared lens on agency and future from below, especially for urban futures at risk – but also the urban scholarship at risk.