Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society Organization Logo Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society


Becoming Urban: Complexities in Contemporary Developing Cities

09.16.2020 10:00 AM – 09.16.2020 11:30 AM

Event Summary

Pablo Hermoso, Streets to Dream, 2017. Via Unsplash.

Much of the Chicago School’s scholarship has focused on the process of “becoming urban”: the process of becoming entangled in a set of urban networks, coming to identify with certain urban places, adopting urban norms and an urban outlook, and developing an acute sensitivity to social inequality. The process of urbanization in developing cities has differed markedly from the process that shaped European and North American cities a century earlier. Complexity is simply the way of life for these younger urban centers, with its agents uniquely adept at negotiating complexity in an organic and embodied way. This session brought together scientists and anthropologists of the urban to facilitate an exchange of global perspectives and experiences of navigating the complexities of becoming urban.

Co-sponsored by the Neubauer Collegium, the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, the Center for International Social Science Research, and the Program on the Global Environment at the University of Chicago. Co-hosted with Cognitive Edge, developer of the SenseMaker tool, which supports the distributed ethnographic process used as part of the Becoming Urban: Understanding the Urban Transformation of Migrants in Phnom Penh project at the Neubauer Collegium.


Anni Beukes


Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation

Marco Garrido


University of Chicago

Zhen Goh (moderator)


Cognitive Edge

Royal Mabakeng


Namibia University of Science and Technology

Ijlal Naqvi


Singapore Management University