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[AUTONOMA] International Conference on Urban Autonomy and the Collective City

The Brief

[AUTONOMA] is an initiative undertaken by a group of Onassis Foundation Scholars, and independent researchers, who joined their academic and professional background in Urban Design, Sustainability, Geography, and Urban Sociology to reflect on the vision of the collective city. [Speakers] Pier Vittorio Aureli /// Rafi Segal /// Cameron Tonkinwise /// Doina Petrescu /// Constantin Petcu /// Erik Swyngedouw /// Maria Kaika /// Stavros Stavridis /// Miguel Robles Duran /// Ethel Baraona Pohl /// Cesar Reyes Najera /// Nikos Belavilas /// Nikos Anastasopoulos ///Leopold Lambert


In a time when global financial institutions largely define the means of urbanization across the world, citizens have less and less agency in the decision-making processes related to the organization and reproduction of the urban environment. The financialization of urban development has significantly limited the potential of local communities to influence the form of cities, while strengthening the role of the local elites and the supralocal capital. The present crisis, largely born of this very developmental model, along with decades of deregulation of the welfare state have acted as a catalyst to the deterioration of living conditions and the strengthening of the democratic deficit at all levels.

Under  these difficult circumstances, Cornelius Castoriadis’ vision for an autonomous society as well as Henri Lefebvre’s challenge to redefine and envisage the environment we live in, away from the influence of globalized capital, are becoming once again relevant. Concurrently, the extended footprint of human development on the environment, which is utterly connected to the dominant model of production, consumption and urban growth, is revealing a complementary dimension to the meaning of autonomy as an alternative form of, not only social, but also ecological management.

In July 2016 [AUTONOMA] is bringing together in Athens, renowned scholars and practitioners from the fields of Architecture, Geography, Design, and Environmental Studies, in an effort to identify Urban Autonomy as a distinct area of research and explore its potential to address current and future socio-spatial challenges.



Start Date

July 1 - 2, 2016


Athens, Greece