This project is focused on the development of Lefebvre’s theory of the production of space in today’s empirical urban research and design. It brings together theoretical and empirical studies, based on Lefebvre’s theory, which have been carried out recently both at the ETH Zurich and the TU Delft.

The first result of this project was the symposium Rethinking Theory, Space, and Production: Henri Lefebvre Today held in Delft, November 11th-13th, 2008. The symposium in Delft gained a lot of international attention: In return of the call for papers, the organizers have received 94 applications from architects, urban planners, sociologists, geographers, and political scientists. Around a hundred participants attended the symposium, which gathered for the first time the most important researchers working on Lefebvre’s theory from different scientific cultures and disciplines. The symposium in Delft proved Lefebvre’s theory to be a stimulating and productive theoretical framework for researchers investigating contemporary processes of urbanization in architecture, urbanism, sociology, geography, and anthropology.

The conference at the ETH Zurich (Urban Research and Architecture: Beyond Henri Lefebvre, November 24th-26th, 2009) was met with equally broad international interest, showed in the 96 applications submitted from 34 countries. Rather than reflecting on case studies carried out by particular disciplines, this conference developed Lefebvre’s work beyond its historical context. It aimed at a general theoretical framework, sharpening Lefebvre’s analytical concepts, and conceiving new design tools in response to today’s processes of urbanization. This was pursued by focusing on key arguments of Lefebvre which proved to be productive for current theoretical and empirical approaches to the analysis of urbanization, and stimulating innovative paths for urbanism and architecture.

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