Research Goals

The Research Platform will enable interdisciplinary research on the challenges of urban futures, by harnessing the diverse expertise brought in by the members of the platform as well as by the extended network of scholars that will contribute to the platform’s work. More specifically, our main goals are: 

  • to understand how current socio-economic, political, environmental and technological processes of change are at play in cities and how they will evolve in the forthcoming decades;
  • to unveil the dialectical relationship between urban space and socio-economic inequalities and spell out the political and cultural frames that produce spatial patterns of inequalities in cities.
  • to investigate the socio-cultural and environmental upshots of the economic transformations and technological innovations occurred in the last four decades, following the demise of the Fordist system.
  • to examine cities as political actors at the interface between government and multilevel governance, evaluating policy instruments as well as political conflicts.
  • to envisage urban promises, devising potential visions of the cities of tomorrow by drawing on data and knowledge generated through our research collaborative activities.
  • to innovate urban studies by elaborating a set of theoretical, analytical and methodological tools to better understand the complexity of today’s European urban systems.

Our Approach

To achieve these aims, we will not interpret urban trends as homogenous and homogenising phenomena. By way of contrast, we will underscore the similarities and specificities of different urban (embedded in different national) contexts. Through the conceptualisation of urban change as a multidimensional issue, we thus propose to investigate urban futures by shedding light on the variety of potential urban scenarios. By rejecting a normative approach, we will unravel the social, cultural, economic and politico-institutional mechanisms underlying the convergences and divergences across cities in Europe and beyond to track the impact of ongoing transformations. From an operational standpoint, our research activity will revolve around specific interdisciplinary research questions, which pertain to the five areas of research. These questions address the contemporary challenges cities face in Europe and beyond.