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Urban Imaginaries of Prosperity: Ethics and Futurity 
Saffron Woodcraft (UCL)
Hanna Baumann (University College London)
Henrietta L. Moore (University College London)
Wednesday 6 July, 11:50-12:30 (UTC+1)

Short Abstract:

Rethinking urban prosperity through ethical imaginaries and future projects

Long Abstract

The city is frequently framed as a driver of prosperity, both on the individual and on the societal level ('the urban advantage' - Habitat III 2016). Yet prosperity is increasingly understood as a set of values which are contextually specific and defined not just by economic measures, but also by lived experience and aspirations. Following on from Moore's (2020) understanding of the urban as a 'response to questions of the ethical imagination' and 'as a way to cultivate the future', this panel examines the role of the imaginary of the city in people's conceptualisation of prosperity and the good life.

Submissions to this session may take the form of short papers (approx. 1,500 words) or alternative formats, including video, video with slides, slides with audio, podcast (approx. 10 minutes). They may address the following questions, among others:

- What is the link between rural-urban migration, lived experience and imaginaries of prosperous urban futures?

- How does a focus on lived experience and future urban imaginaries require us to rethink urban theory? 

- How can aspirations and imaginaries of locally-grounded decent lives help us rethink existing notion of 'the urban'?

- At which spatial scale is prosperity 'generated'? How is it distributed? And where and by whom is it experienced?

- At which temporal scale do urban imaginaries operate and transform?

- How can an urban ethical imagination be harnessed for progressive political projects, even in situations of ongoing and overlapping crisis and precarity?


This will be a paper-based panel, although contributions can take a range of formats, including video, video with slides, slides with audio, podcast/audio only or text only. The input should be between 8 and 12 minutes (or equivalent in words, i.e. 1,200-1,800 words, excluding references). Contribution by non-academic speakers are welcome. All contributions must be uploaded 2 weeks before the conference, and we strongly encourage engagement with the contributions prior to the live panel. The 40-minute panel itself will consist of 4 speakers, each of whom will reiterate their main argument for 2 minutes, followed by a 5-minute response from discussants. We will then have around 10 minutes for exchange with the audience.

Accepted papers: