Against the commons: Elements for a Radical Planning Theory by Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago / TPOD, ACHT, THEMA, HITAM


Event details

Date 24.04.2024
Hour 12:3014:00
Speaker Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago
Category Conferences - Seminars
Event Language English

Can we approach the history of urbanization and spatial politics in a way that is both faithful to the predicament of vulnerable communities and operative to ongoing emancipatory projects? Can these narratives sustain a theory that speaks to broader analyses of social change and struggles for democracy? This lecture presents an attempt to address these questions by focusing on the speaker’s recent book, Against the Commons: A Radical History of Urban Planning. Tracing the struggle for the commons over three centuries, this book examines the role of spatial politics in the development of capitalism and the decollectivization of society. The talk will offer an overview of the conceptual framework and historical arc of the book, paying particular attention to its epistemological premises and political implications. The seminar is intended as an invitation to discuss the conditions that can turn spatial research into a foundation for an alternative theory of urbanization and an agenda of social transformation.

Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago is Associate Professor of Urban Planning at the School of Architecture (ETSAM), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. His work sits at the intersection of urban studies, critical theory, and social history, with a focus on how urbanization, design practices, and planning policies shape social change and community life. He is the author of Against the Commons: A Radical History of Urban Planning (University of Minnesota Press, 2022) and editor of Neil Brenner: Critical Urban Theory and the Politics of Scale (Icaria, 2017). He has an extensive record of over fifty publications in edited books and journals such as Antipode, The Architectural Review, Society and Space, Social and Cultural Geography, and Planning Perspectives, among others. Before becoming a full-time academic, he worked as an urban planner for over a decade.

Neighbours Lecture Series Vol. 3

13/3 - Pier Vittorio Aureli (EPFL). Architecture and Abstraction: Book Launch with Sarah Nichols, Christophe van Gerrewey, and Alfredo Thiermann
20/3 - Tatiana Efrussi (L’atelier des artistes en exil). Hannes Meyer’s Kinderheim Mümliswil: From Utopian 'Home' to National Memorial
27/3 - Sarah Gainsforth (Journalist). Challenging the New Housing Question
10/4 - Claire Zimmerman (University of Toronto). Industrial Architecture, Situated in the Twentieth Century
24/4 - Álvaro Sevilla-Buitrago (Universidad Politécnica de Madrid). Against the Commons: Elements for a Radical Planning Theory
1/5 - Spyros Papapetros (Princeton University). Pre/Architecture
8/5 - Anna-Maria Meister (Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz: Max Planck Institute, KIT and saai archive Karlsruhe). Fragile Objects, Coded Knowledge
15/5 - Platon Issaias (Architectural Association) & Ioanna Theocharopoulou (Columbia University). On the Polykatoikia and its Discontents

Practical information

  • General public
  • Free


  • The presentation of is part of the Neighbours Vol. 3 lecture series on the History and Theory of Architecture. It is organized jointly by Pier Vittorio Aureli (TPOD), Christophe van Gerrewey (ACHT), Sarah Nichols (THEMA), Alfredo Thiermann (HITAM) of the EDAR School.