RC21 International Conference: ‘The Ideal City: between myth and reality. Representations, policies, contradictions and challenges for tomorrow’s urban life’ (27-29 August 2015 – Urbino, Italy)

The RC21 Conference 2015 (The Ideal City: between myth and reality…’) will be hosted by the School of Social and Political Sciences – Department of Economics, Society, and Politics at the University of Urbino Carlo Bo, Italy.


It has been organised to enable sociologists, geographers, urbanists, town planners, artists and other creative professionals to consider the complexities of interactions between utopian imaginings of “cities on paper” and the lived realities of everyday city life.

“By questioning utopian and ideal visions of the city – as represented in policies and public discourses – it aims at putting them in perspective considering actual agency and current structural changes. How does socio‐economic change – neoliberalization? – affect cities and their ideal “diverse” visions? How do poverty and inequalities challenge ideal views of a just city? How are ideal cities contrasting real cities affected by segregation and social exclusion practices? Do different ideals coexist? Does the crisis affect our urban projects? In which direction? Who wins who loses? How do visions and ideals differ across the globe and how are they questioned by increasingly similar challenges?”
(Source: http://www.rc21.org/en/conferences/urbino2015/).

One of the central themes (or “streams”) of the conference is “Images of the City,” and a call for abstracts has recently been issued to attract contributions for the session titled: “Investigating urban image making: actors, processes and tactics.”

The deadline date for the submission of abstracts is 31st January 2015, and authors of accepted abstracts are invited to send their completed papers by 15th June 2015 to: papers@rc21.org.

An extract of the call for papers drafted by the session organisers David Chapin (CUNY Graduate Center, USA), Scott Lizama (CUNY Graduate Center, USA), and Lidia K.C. Manzo (Politecnico di Milano, Italy) is quoted below:

Title: Investigating urban image making: actors, processes and tactics / STREAM B – Images of the city

“Public images contribute to define urban reality in many different ways. Social media technologies increasingly allow for the everyday circulation of ideas, discourses, representations and politics and highlight the potential for social action through practices of disordered spatial tactics, the ones that “…make use of the cracks that particular conjunctions open in the surveillance of the proprietary powers” as De Certeau put it (1984: 37). In this session we wish to examine the urban image making as a “process of ownership,” which is complimented by the researchers’ acceptance that visual recording is an entirely immersive experience.

  • What are the contemporary urban imaging tactics that can be considered proactive, socially motivated, and defiant of the institutional strategies implemented within the urban fabric?
  • What are the ways urban researchers are investigating the visual processes of protest for example?
  • What new technologies allow us to examine the urban tag/graffiti as a subversive act in more complex ways?
  • What is the role social media plays in urban visual tactics?

We are interested in attracting papers that explore how social media technology and the power of the visual image come together in specific contexts. Instagram, with its hashtagging and timecoding, for instance, allows us to understand the fluid aspects of a given space. Such images become, in fact, archives of evidence of socially mediated Certeauian tactics to navigate the contemporary urban strategies of what “public” space is and whom this “public” space is designed for.

We are looking for papers where the visual is driving the research, the conceptualization, methodology, and analysis around urban issues, and we encourage the submission of “traditional” papers as well as posters (70x100cm).”


For a full listing of conference themes, as well as further information about “Images of the City”, please see the conference website at http://www.rc21.org/en/conferences/urbino2015

The “Images of the City” session organisers can also be contacted directly via email c/o: Scott Lizama (lizamascott@gmail.com); Lidia K.C. Manzo (lidia.manzo@gmail.com); David Chapin (cdivad@mac.com).

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