CfP RGS-IBG Session on Urban Borderlands: Conditions, Processes and Implications

Organised by Deljana Iossifova (The University of Manchester, UK) & David Kostenwein (ETH Zurich, Switzerland)

Urban enclaves are increasingly shaping our cities. A globalized real estate market and socioeconomic inequality contribute to the emergence of enclaves like favelas, slums and gated communities. Urban borderlands are the sociomaterial spaces in-between sociospatially dissimilar adjacent parts of fragmented cities: in-between urban enclaves, built and un-built, old and new, modern and traditional, rich and poor, planned and unplanned, formal and informal, permanent and temporary, local and migrant. Although often dominated by lines of divisions, such as walls and fences, urban borderlands can enable the inter- and transaction between disparate and otherwise disjointed social groups, infrastructures and ecosystems.
We are interested in the genealogy of borders, boundaries and borderlands in the city, including – but not limited to – the following: the processes of boundary delimitation; the triggers (such as insecurity or mistrust) and consequences of bordering; the occupation, appropriation, use or abandonment of in-between spaces; the strategies and tactics for maintenance and negotiation of borderlands; the transformation of individual, group and neighbourhood/city identities; human-environment interactions in urban borderlands. We are particularly interested in research that draws on systems theory.

We welcome theoretical contributions as well as those aimed at informing policy, design and planning for more appropriate decision-making that fosters the integration of underprivileged socioeconomic, ethnic or otherwise marginalized urban groups or species.
We invite the submission of abstracts from participants across all stages of their career and any discipline or geographic region. We are planning a Split Session with one (or more) paper sessions followed by a World Café discussing opportunities for future collaboration.

Please submit your abstract (max. 300 words) including your name, affiliation and title of your talk by 31 January 2020 to Dr Deljana Iossifova ( and David Kostenwein ( Please include ‘RGS-IBG Urban Borderlands Session’ in the subject of your email.