This project seeks to create a partnership between academics from Swedish and Brazilian universities who are currently researching on the fields of urban movements, urban sociology, and urban planning. More specifically, it will build a new collaborative network among scholars from the Institute for Housing and Urban Research, Uppsala University (Sweden), and from the School of Architecture, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Belo Horizonte, Brazil). By bringing together a group of social scientists, architects and urbanists, from all career stages but with an important number of early career scholars, this project seeks to strengthen their ongoing research and higher education activities, whilst offering them the opportunity to collaborate with international peers and to learn from their different theoretical framworks, case-studies and research findings

With a focus on different geographical, economic and social realities, the Swedish and Brazilian researchers who will collaborate in this project agree in the speedy proliferation of processes of urban development, which have transformed both European and Latin American cities into primary locations for the implementation of a neoliberal agenda. The increasing gentrification of neighbourhoods, the commercialization and privatization of housing stocks and public space, the displacement, evictions, criminalization and marginalization faced by urban communities, are only a few expressions of urban neoliberalism and its negative consequences for the lives of disadvantaged residents. These strategies, however, have been challenged and disputed by collective actors mobilised for the “exercise of collective power over the process of urbanization” (Harvey, 2012, p.4), reclaiming their right to the city (Lefebvre, 1991); and rejecting the increasing commodification of the urban spaces.

Although several similarities can be found between the past and ongoing analysis developed by the Swedish and Brazilian scholars, to date they have focused on their particular regions, without engaging in an intercontinental perspective of urban neoliberalism and its contestations. Furthermore, and as urban movements (such as housing activism and grassroots coalitions concerning urban commons) have rarely been studied from an intercontinental perspective, this project seeks to contribute to filling this gap, by bringing together different case studies researched by the project partners in Latin America and Europe. This will allow a systematic comparison of the movements’ features, structures, praxis, and outcomes, in order to advance a cross-national approach for the study of urban movements. The main aims of this project are as follows:

  1. To build a collaborative and international partnership among scholars from Uppsala University (Sweden) and Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (Brazil) focused on the fields of urban movements, the right to housing, and the right to the city.
  2. To foster international academic discussion and knowledge exchange of research on urban movements, the right to housing, and the right to the city in European countries and Brazil.
  3. To develop an innovative comparative and cross-national approach beyond the divide Global North/Global South for the study of urban movements in Europe and Latin America.
  4. To strengthen academic collaboration and outreach impact through the project partners’ exchange and involvement in teaching and dissemination activities both in Sweden and Brazil.
  5. To support the early career development of young researchers and doctoral students through scientific exchange, training, and dissemination activities.

Previous activities

  • Uppsala, 17-18 December, 2019. First workshop. 16 attendees. Two fieldwork visits.
  • Two Brazilian PhD students were visiting researchers at the IBF (Dec. 2019 – Dec. 2020).
  • Belo Horizonte, 9-11 March, 2020. Second workshop. 22 attendees. Two fieldwork visits.
  • One Swedish PhD student was a visiting researcher in Belo Horizonte (March 2020).
  • Uppsala, 8-10 December, 2021. Third workshop.
  • Two Brazil-based PhD students and two Post-Doc were visiting researchers at the IBF (March 2022 – June 2022).
  • Three Sweden-based PhD and two Post-Doc were visiting researchers in Belo Horizonte (2022 – 2023).
  • Belo Horizonte, 3-6 March, 2023. Fourth workshop – Militant and Activist Research around the World. 25 attendees.
  • A website for the project was designed.
  • A collective edited book is in progress, with one round of reviewed chapters already done. 19 chapters.

Future activities

International conference. The Common City Conference

Uppsala (Sweden) 11-13 September, 2024

How is the common city of the future to be produced, created, built and imagined? How are different forms of urban commoning experienced worldwide? What obstacles and struggles should we expect in creating and fostering the urban commons? What are the key facilitating conditions, forms of organising and possible institutions for maintaining the urban commons? How can we define the common city in ways that help overcome capitalist urban and social relations? To what extent are the struggles for the right to the city, and for housing and urban justice at the core of urban commoning?

Keynote speakers: Don Mitchell, Rita Velloso, Irene Molina, Dominika Polanska and Miguel A. Martínez.

The conference will be focused on three strands:
1) Urban struggles for the right to the city and urban commons
2) Activist research: methodological reflexivity and practical experiences
3) Housing and Urban (In)Justice in Global North & South contexts

Deadline to submit an abstract (up to 300 words): 1 April, 2024.

Submissions are received through the following form: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSezGxBV53piFC2cEWm0YJki0EvqbfrZ5-BBXt2ZyX00KbNlbQ/viewform