Henri Lefebvre

Henri Lefebvre and the Theory of the Production of Space

Teaching and Publications:

Hen­ri Lefebvre’s theo­ry of the pro­duc­tion of space is one of the most important con­tem­po­ra­ry con­tri­bu­ti­ons to the ana­ly­sis of urba­niza­ti­on and socio-spa­ti­al pro­ces­ses. It is of spe­cial importance for the trans­di­sci­pli­na­ry rese­arch in social sci­en­ces and archi­tec­tu­re. The long-stan­ding enga­ge­ment of the chair of socio­lo­gy with this theo­ry resul­ted in many publi­ca­ti­ons. This theo­ry is also one of the focal points of tea­ching and ser­ves as an ana­ly­ti­cal base for many rese­arch pro­jects of the chair of sociology.


Chair of archi­tec­tu­re theo­ry, facul­ty of archi­tec­tu­re, ETH Zürich

Chair of socio­lo­gy, facul­ty of archi­tec­tu­re, ETH Zürich

Delft School of Design, facul­ty of archi­tec­tu­re, TU Delft

Jan van Eyck Aca­de­mie, Maastricht

While Lefebvre’s theo­ry has inspi­red, sin­ce the 1980s, much deba­tes about the cur­rent pro­ces­ses of urba­niza­ti­on, urban empi­ri­cal stu­dies based on this theo­ry remain still very rare. In order to pro­mo­te a deba­te on this topic, the chair of archi­tec­tu­re theo­ry and the chair of socio­lo­gy of ETH Zurich, the Delft School of Design and the Jan van Eyck Aca­de­mie, Maas­tricht orga­ni­zed two con­fe­ren­ces: Rethin­king Theo­ry, Space and Pro­duc­tion: Hen­ri Lefeb­v­re Today (TU Delft, Novem­ber 11–13, 2008) and Archi­tec­tu­re and Social Sci­en­ces: Urban Rese­arch and Design bey­ond Hen­ri Lefeb­v­re (ETH Zurich, Novem­ber 24–26, 2009). Both con­fe­ren­ces focu­sed on the appli­ca­ti­on and fur­ther deve­lo­p­ment of Lefebvre’s theo­ry in today’s empi­ri­cal urban rese­arch and design. They gai­ned signi­fi­cant inter­na­tio­nal atten­ti­on, and gathe­red scho­lars from various disci­pli­nes, inclu­ding archi­tec­tu­re, urba­nism, socio­lo­gy, geo­gra­phy, and poli­ti­cal sciences.

Book project:

Ákos Mora­ván­sky, Chris­ti­an Schmid, Łuka­sz Sta­nek; facul­ty of archi­tec­tu­re, ETH Zurich

Encou­ra­ged by the gre­at inter­na­tio­nal inte­rest in the two con­fe­ren­ces as well as by the high qua­li­ty of the pre­sen­ta­ti­ons, a book pro­ject was estab­lished, com­bi­ning a sel­ec­tion of the con­fe­rence con­tri­bu­ti­ons with com­mis­sio­ned essays. The ambi­ti­on is to advan­ce Lefebvre’s theo­ry bey­ond the limi­ta­ti­ons of cur­rent theo­re­ti­cal deba­tes; to deve­lop a gene­ral theo­re­ti­cal and metho­do­lo­gi­cal frame­work for the ana­ly­sis of con­tem­po­ra­ry urba­niza­ti­on pro­ces­ses; and to con­cei­ve new design tools in respon­se to today’s urban challenges.

Link to Publication


Goo­ne­war­dena, K., Kip­fer, S., Mil­grom, R. & Schmid, C.: Space, Dif­fe­rence, Ever­y­day Life: Rea­ding Hen­ri Lefeb­v­re. New York: Rout­ledge; 2008.

Chris­ti­an Schmid: Stadt, Raum und Gesell­schaft: Hen­ri Lefeb­v­re und die Theo­rie der Pro­duk­ti­on des Rau­mes, 2. Aufl., Stutt­gart : Franz Stei­ner, 2010

Con­fe­rence Pro­gram 2009

Łuka­sz Sta­nek, Chris­ti­an Schmid: Teo­ría, no méto­do: Hen­ri Lefeb­v­re, inves­ti­ga­ción y dise­ño urba­nos en la actu­al­i­dad. 2011