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Dozentur Soziologie, Departement Architektur, ETH Zürich, 28. October 2016

Die Dozentur Soziologie befasst sich mit dem Zusammenhang von Bauen und gesellschaftlicher Entwicklung. Sie erarbeitet analytische und empirische Grundlagen für Lehre und Forschung, und sie stellt eine umfangreiche Expertise in Stadt- und Raumtheorie sowie eine breite Palette von sozialwissenschaftlichen Methoden zur Verfügung. Die theoretische und methodische Ausrichtung ist transdisziplinär und praxisorientiert angelegt, und auf die spezifischen Bedürfnisse in Architektur und Städtebau ausgerichtet.


Die Lehre soll den Studierenden die Fähigkeit vermitteln, Architektur und Städtebau in ihrem gesamtgesellschaftlichen Kontext zu begreifen und ihnen einen Einstieg in sozialwissenschaftliche Methoden ermöglichen. Die Soziologie ist mit Lehrveranstaltungen ab dem ersten Semester in allen Phasen des Studiums bis zu den Master-Arbeiten präsent und auch an mehreren Masters of Advanced Studies (MAS) beteiligt.


In der Forschung liegt der Schwerpunkt auf der transdisziplinären  Erforschung von Urbanisierungsprozessen in vergleichender Perspektive. Gegenwärtig laufen Untersuchungen zur Metropolitanregion Zürich und zu Havanna. Ein Projekt im Rahmen des Future Cities Laboratory in Singapur untersucht Urbanisierungsprozesse in Tokyo, Singapur, Pearl River Delta, Kolkata, Lagos, Istanbul, Paris, Mexiko-Stadt und Los Angeles. 





Die Dozentur Soziologie ist Teil des NSL – Netzwerk Stadt und Landschaft der ETH Zürich.



***** AKTUELL *****
NSL Kolloquium Herbst 2016:
Planetary Urbanization in Comparative Perspective 
November 11, 2016, 13:00 - 19:00
NSL Kolloquium Herbst 2016: Planetary Urbanization in Comparative Perspective 
November 11, 2016, 13:00 - 19:00
It is a great pleasure to announce the upcoming NSL Kolloquium which offers the great opportunity to meet two exceptional scholars and researchers in urban studies: AbdouMaliq Simone and Wing Shing Tang. In the second part of the event we will present in detail our comparative research project that we conducted in the last five years in the framework of the ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore. We are looking forward to sharing with you an afternoon full of interesting insights and debates.

Christian Schmid, Urban Sociology, Department of Architecture, NSL, ETH Zurich

Planetary urbanization

In the last decades, urbanization has become a planetary phenomenon. Urban areas expand and interweave, and novel forms of urbanization emerge. In this process, new urban configurations are constantly evolving. Therefore, an adequate understanding of planetary urbanization must derive its empirical and theoretical inspirations from the multitude of urban experiences across the various divides that shape our contemporary world. Urbanization has to be considered an open process, determined as much by existing structures as well as by constant innovation and inventiveness. This NSL Kolloquium presents different research perspectives on recent urban developments.


AbdouMaliq Simone is an urbanist and research professor at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity and visiting professor of sociology at Goldsmiths College, University of London. He has worked for three decades with practices of social interchange, cognition, local economy, and the constitution of power relations that affect how heterogeneous African and Southeast Asian cities are lived. His work deals with a multiplicity of propositions and capacities for relationships that remain untapped in popular districts across urban Asia and Africa, even though they are deployed everyday.

Wing Shing Tang has a Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge, England. He is a professor at the Baptist University of Hong Kong where he teaches Urban Geography and Planning. His research is on globalization and Chinese cities, urban planning in Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Shanghai and Beijing. He engages, beneath other approaches, with Henri Lefebvre’s theory of the production of space. In his talk he argues that Hong Kong has a distinguishable path of urbanization inflicted by British colonialism, yet in a space regulated by the Chinese spatial administrative hierarchy of town-within-country and customary land practices.

Comparative Urbanism

The second part of the colloquium presents an encompassing insight into the work and the results of the research project Planetary Urbanization in Comparative Perspective conducted in the framework of the ETH Future Cities Laboratory Singapore. It is a comparative study of urbanization processes in eight large metropolitan areas across the world: Tokyo, Singapore, Hong Kong / Shenzhen / Dongguan, Kolkata, Istanbul, Lagos, Paris, Mexico City, and Los Angeles. According to the broad sample of cities brought together in this research, a specific methodological design was applied mainly based on qualitative methods and a specifically developed method of mapping. The main goal of this project is an analysis and comparison of the variegated patterns and pathways of planetary urbanization in order to develop a new vocabulary that allows a better understanding and apprehending of the contemporary urban condition. In the course of this project, which is now in its final stages, the research team developed a series of new categories of urbanization. It will present and discuss the following categories: popular urbanization, plotting development, bypass urbanism, multilayered patchwork urbanization, incorporation of urban differences, and mass housing urbanization.

Research team: Naomi Hanakata, Pascal Kallenberger, Ozan Karaman, Anne Kockelkorn, Lindsay Sawyer, Christian Schmid, Monika Streule, Rob Sullivan, Tammy Kit Ping Wong


Registration by 3. November: Claudia Gebert, 

Detailed information:

The NSL colloquia ( are a bi-annual presentation of exceptional work under a rotating theme determined by the inviting professor. 


Urbane Qualitäten: Ein Handbuch am Beispiel der Metropolitanregion Zürich.


Kretz, Simon; Kueng, Lukas (Hrsg.): Urbane Qualitäten: Ein Handbuch am Beispiel der Metropolitanregion Zürich. Edition Hochparterre. Zürich, 2016.
160 Seiten, rund 70 Bilder und Pläne, mit Kopiervorlagen.







Neil Brenner and Christian Schmid, “Towards a new epistemology of the urban?” 

CITY, 19, 2-3, 2015, 151-182.


New forms of urbanization are unfolding around the world that challenge inherited conceptions of the urban as a fixed, bounded and universally generalizable settlement type. Meanwhile, debates on the urban question continue to proliferate and intensify within the social sciences, the planning and design disciplines, and in everyday political struggles. Against this background, this paper revisits the question of the epistemology of the urban: through what categories, methods and cartographies should urban life be understood? After surveying some of the major contemporary mainstream and critical responses to this question, we argue for a radical rethinking of inherited epistemological assumptions regarding the urban and urbanization. Building upon reflexive approaches to critical social theory and our own ongoing research on planetary urbanization, we present a new epistemology of the urban in a series of seven theses. This epistemological framework is intended to clarify the intellectual and political stakes of contemporary debates on the urban question and to offer an analytical basis for deciphering the rapidly changing geographies of urbanization and urban struggle under early 21st-century capitalism. Our arguments are intended to ignite and advance further debate on the epistemological foundations for critical urban theory and practice today.