Urbanization and the land question go hand in hand, in fact the land question is at the core of urban transformation on a global scale. In this lecture, Ute Lehrer will look at the suburban land question, where we can still find central aspects of the transformation process from a use value of land to an exchange value as a commodity within a capitalist society. She will also make reference to the land question that is posed within a colonial context, namely that of stewardship versus ownership.
The unique quality of land is that it is transitional, and it is so along three dimensions: geographical, historical, and cultural. Besides these three dimensions, this lecture will also focus on exchange and use value of land, as well as the specificities of the suburban land market.
The four key aspects of suburban land markets are:
- the globalization of capital and culture,
- the steady commodification of land, and currently
- a boom in land prices.
All this together has led to the fact that urban forms have become more similar, if not even the same, around the globe. And this observation seems to be true not only for the core of cities but also the suburban regions. The lecture will end with a visual investigation of different land forms found in the peripheries of today’s global cities.
Discussant: Prof. Dr. Henning Nuissl, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Ute Lehrer is a Full Professor at the Faculty of Environmental Studies, York University. She holds degrees from University of Zurich, Switzerland, and University of California, Los Angeles in urban planning, art and architectural history, sociology and economic and social history. Ute Lehrer has previously taught at Brock University and SUNY Buffalo, was a researcher at the Swiss Federal University of Technology in Zurich, and held visiting positions at Université de Montpellier, France, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, and University of Manchester, UK. She was the recipient of several awards, including UCLA’s Chancellor Fellowship, UC Berkeley’s Research Fellowship and the American Institute for Certified Planners. She was the Vice-President North America of the Research Committee 21, ISA, and is currently Editorial Board Member of the International Journal for Urban and Regional Research.
Taking a critical and comparative approach, her research interests include urban design and land use; housing, gentrification and the condominium boom; discourse and mega-projects; as well as the social construction of public space. She has published widely in social science journals and edited books. She was the Principal Investigator, and is currently the collaborator in several Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)-funded research projects, including on Global Suburbanisms.