The Lisbon Early-Career Workshop in Urban Studies

Imaginaries of inhabitation, or, the future of planetary dwelling

3st edition – 8-10 November 2023

 Instituto de Ciências Sociais da Universidade de Lisboa (ICS-ULisboa), Lisbon


Keynote speakers:

  • Michele Lancione (Politecnico di Torino)
  • Stephanie Wakefield (Life University)
  • And Abel Polese (Dublin City University) – session on “Academic Survival”


The Urban Transitions Hub, the AESOP Young Academics Network and project “UrbanoScenes: Post-colonial imaginaries of urbanisation”, with the support of Research Group SHIFT: Environment, Territory and Society of ICS-ULisboa, will host the third edition of the Lisbon Early-Career Workshop in Urban Studies, from 8 to 10 of November 2023. Circa 30 PhD candidates and early-career scholars will have the opportunity to present and discuss their research projects and/or findings during a 3-days event organised as a space of exchange, debate and learning.

The topic for this edition is “Imaginaries of inhabitation, or, the future of planetary dwelling”. From the global housing crisis and the Covid-19 pandemic, all the way to the looming climate catastrophe, the present predicament seems to be one where the very possibility for inhabiting is being increasingly put under stress. In and outside the urban, human and non-human animals alike seem to be increasingly struggling to find their space, place and time to dwell, to reside. Urban, geographic, sociological and anthropological critique, indeed, have explored and exposed the multiple scales and plural subjectivities of the global crisis of inhabitation. Consider, as just some examples, to the role of debt, in the fields of housing and social reproduction, in foreclosing the future,[1] to the long-term implications political ecology of global austerity,[2] to the transformations of animal dwelling in the context of urbanisation[3] or to the challenges for breathing amid respiratory diseases and the oppressive atmosphere or racism.[4] Think, in broad terms, about the slow violence of the Anthropocene,[5] the controversial calls for geo-engineering our way out of the planetary crisis,[6] the growing attempts to transform urbanised spaces and places for human and other forms of life[7] or, more generally, about the many non-Western populations that already experience the (violent) end of the world as they knew it, and the necessity to find new ways to re-inhabit it.[8]

Drawing from this breeding ground, in this workshop, we encourage participants to think prospectively, imaginatively and speculatively on what futures there may be for our common planetary dwelling. We aim to discuss projects and paper drafts that address the imaginaries of inhabitation at multiples scales and from diverse perspectives (human and other): from the seeds for different housing policy/politics, to the trajectories of more-than-human kinship, interbeing and intermingling; from the catastrophic/hopeful political ecology of the Anthropocene to the new ways of breathing in a pandemic planet; even to arguments for thinking ‘beyond’ inhabitation.[9]

It is not specific topics or themes that we aim to discuss, but attempts to think the future of planetary dwelling through the lenses of urban studies, geography, spatial policy and planning, architecture, anthropology, and so forth. What we are keen to receive are projects and papers that deal with inhabitation – in the widest possible sense – by exploring its imaginaries, futures, desires and anxieties.

As the main goal of the workshop is to offer a space for discussion and improvement of ongoing research, papers will above all consider theoretical questions and development, preliminary analyses of empirical findings and reflections on epistemological/methodological dimensions – or a mix of two or more of these approaches.

The workshop will be composed of:

  • Plenary keynote sessions with following interactive debate;
  • Breakout parallel sessions – divided in groups, participants will present their paper (~20 min) and ‘defend’ it from comments by a mentor and other participants (~40 min.);
  • Session on “Academic Survival” and Q&A on strategies and tips for academic publishing, and post-PhD challenges;
  • Wrap-up session with discussion on lessons learned.

Who can attend the workshop

The workshop is open to PhD students and early-career scholars in the fields of urban studies, planning and geography, and all the social sciences and humanities with an interest on space.

A minimum of 8 seats will be reserved to members of the AESOP Young Academics, please mention in your motivation letter whether you are a member (registration to the YAs is free and open to all early-career scholars).

Application and registration

Applications open from 15 February 2020 to 30 March 2023.

Send an abstract for your presentation (max 500 words) and a short letter of motivation to and

Decisions will be sent by 30 April 2023.

Registration by 30 June 2023.

Submission of long abstract or short paper (max 5,000 words) to be distributed among participants by 30 September 2023.

Registration fee: 200€.

Thanks to the support of Research Group SHIFT: Environment, Territory and Society and project UrbanoScenes (funded by Fundação para a Ciência e Tecnologia; grant PTDC/GES-URB/1053/2021), at least four fee waivers will be offered, with the possibility of offering also some full bursaries (travel + accommodation). If you have no research funds and are interested in applying for a fee waiver or a bursary, please mention this in your motivation letter, briefly explaining the reasons why (priority will be given to scholars from low income countries, independent scholars and/or universities/departments with little or no research funds.

Organising and scientific committee

  • Simone Tulumello (ICS-ULisboa) – Coordinator
  • Andrea Pavoni (Dinâmia’CET-Iscte)
  • Luisa Rossini (ICS-ULisboa)
  • Lavínia Pereira (ICS-ULisboa)
  • Marco Allegra (ICS-ULisboa)
  • Olivia Bina (ICS-ULisboa)


  • Anna Viola Sborgi (University College Cork)
  • João Filipe Brito (ICS-ULisboa)
  • Fabio Bertoni (ICS-ULisboa)

Keynote speakers’ short bio

Michele Lancione is Professor of Geography at the Polytechnic of Turin, Italy, and Visiting Professor of Urban Studies at the University of Sheffield, UK. He is founder and co-director of the Beyond Inhabitation Lab (, co-founder and editor of the Radical Housing Journal and corresponding editor at IJURR. He currently runs a European Research Council project on Inhabiting Radical Housing, and an Italian Ministry of University project on Precarious Housing in Eastern Europe. His forthcoming monograph is titled ‘For a Liberatory Politics of Home’ (Duke University Press).

Stephanie Wakefield is Assistant Professor and Director of Human Ecology at Life University in Marietta, Georgia, USA. Her work critically analyzes the political, environmental, and technical dimensions of climate adaptation design. She is author of Anthropocene Back Loop: Experimentation in Unsafe Operating Space (2020) and coeditor of Resilience in the Anthropocene: Governance and Politics at the End of the World (2020), and she has published her work in numerous journals including Urban Geography, Urban Studies, Political Geography, and Environment and Planning E.


[1] Cavallero L, Gago V (2021[2019]) A feminist reading of debt. Pluto.

[2] Calvário R, Kaika M, Velegrakis G (2022) The political ecology of austerity. Routledge.

[3] Brighenti AM, Pavoni A (2021) Situating urban animals – a theoretical framework. Contemporary Social Science 16(1).

[4] Mbembe A (2020) The universal right to breathe. Critical Inquiry, April 13.

[5] Nixon R (2011) Slow violence and the environmentalism of the poor. Harvard University Press.

[6] Bratton B (2019) The Terraforming. Strelka Press.

[7] Cousins JJ (2021) Justice in nature-based solutions: Research and pathways, Ecological Economics, 180;

Welden E, Chausson A, Melanidis MS (2021) Leveraging Nature‐based Solutions for transformation: Reconnecting people and nature, People and Nature 3(5).

[8] De Castro EV, Danowski D (2017[2014]) The Ends of the World. John Wiley & Sons.

[9] Lancione M, Simone A (2021) Dwelling in liminalities, thinking beyond inhabitation. Environment and Planning D 39(6).