About brandenborn

I'm a faculty member in Urban Design and Planning at the University of Washington. I'm interested in how societies plan, who is involved and who isn't, and the differential impacts of decision making on communities. I particularly like to think about food systems, and democracy or participation in social life. I also have this thing for school buses in general, and one in particular. Vamanos!

Alternatives to the Present Conference

Source: http://architecturemps.com/cleveland/

A conference on urban alternatives, which can be attended via Skype or even a recorded talk, speaking to some of the issues we wrestle with. An opportunity for a paper or papers from one or many of us together…?


LSE Writing for Research – page of links to advice posts

Some useful points on writing for research, including dissertations as big book style or papers. Nice resource!

Progressive Geographies

I’ve linked to some of these before, but the LSE has now put together a page of links to their advice posts – Writing for Research.

There are lots more links and some discussions archived here.

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Upcoming Simpson Center lecture

Lecture at the  Simpson Center for The Humanities : The Same River Twice: Ethics and Entities in the Anthropocene

Etienne Turpin, Research Scientist

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Wednesday, April 5, 2017, 3:30-5 pm

Communications 120, Reception to follow in Communications 206

The Same River Twice: Ethics and Entities in the Anthropocene

What do contemporary urban ecologies teach human residents about ethics, epistemology, and media? First attributed to Heraclitus of Ephesus by Plato, the remark that we cannot step in the same river twice is at once a statement about the nature of perpetual change and an acknowledgement of a tension between sensation and abstraction in human understandings of nature. More than twenty-five centuries later, the Indonesian island of Java is now inhabited by more residents than lived on Earth during Heraclitus’s time, with many living in densely arranged megacities. In fact, the greater metropolitan area of the capital, Jakarta, has more than 30 million people residing alongside thirteen rivers that run from the mountains of the Sunda Arc to the Java Sea.

What can we learn from the residential knowledges and itinerant practices that characterize this megacity? By way of a survey of his recent design projects with anexact office, Urban Lab Network Asia, MIT, and PetaBencana.id, Etienne Turpin will suggest how the Anthropocene is being locally instantiated through a parametrization of life on earth. Considering the ethical and epistemic consequences of residential life in the city—including dispositions toward nonhuman entities, mediations that enable collaboration and contestation, and contributions to postnatural ecologies—the presentation will unfold some concepts and concerns emerging from this torrential formation.

Etienne Turpin is a philosopher and Founding Director of an exact office, a design research office in Jakarta, Indonesia. He studies and designs knowledge infrastructure and produces platforms, exhibitions, and publications by combining design, archival research, documentary, and ethnography. Turpin also works as a Research Scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he coordinates the Humanitarian Infrastructures Group and co-directs the PetaBecana.id disaster mapping project for the Urban Risk Lab. He is the editor of Architecture in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2013) and co-editor of Fantasies of the Library (MIT Press, 2016), Art in the Anthropocene (Open Humanities Press, 2015), and Jakarta: Architecture + Adaptation (Universitas Indonesia Press, 2013).

Organized by The Anthropocene, a cross-disciplinary research cluster of the Simpson Center for the Humanities. Co-sponsored by the Center for Creative Conservation, the Southeast Asia Center, and Urban@UW.

The University of Washington is committed to providing access, equal opportunity and reasonable accommodation in its services, programs, activities, education and employment for individuals with disabilities. To request disability accommodation contact the Disability Services Office at least ten days in advance at: 206.543.6450/V, 206.543.6452/TTY, 206.685.7264 (FAX), or e-mail at dso@u.washington.edu.

What would a new old system look like?

As we regularly check ourselves about the nature of governance, political economies, participation in the polis, oppression, exclusion, and power… perhaps one of our next readings ought to look to an older source of wisdom. We have touched on indigeneity, and have read some feminist scholars. But we haven’t really looked at anything that combined the two, and the book below apparently does that. This from a food systems list I’m on, from poster Debbie Hillman, a consultant in Evanston, Illinois:

New System?  If anyone wants to read about a model for the new system, I would recommend diving into the details of the Iroquois Constitution and the Iroquois League.  I think the answers have been right under our noses, in plain sight.

The most detailed book by far (that I have been able to find) is:
Iroquoian Women: The Gantowisas
by Barbara Alice Mann
2000, Peter Lang Publishing
“Gantowisas” is variously defined in the book as:
— clan mothers
— government women
— indispensable women
The chapter titles will give you an idea of the structure of the book and of the League itself.  To me, it reads like a poem:
1.  No-Face Husk Doll:  Women Wiped Clean from the Record
2.  The Direction of the Sky:  Gendered for Balance
3.  “They are the Soul of the Councils”:  Women’s Role in Political Life
4.  “Good Rule:  They Assist One Another”: Women’s Control of Economics
5.  “No Whips, No Punishments, No Threats”: Women’s Control of Social Life
6.  “Come, Let me Untangle your Hair”:  Women as Faithkeepers
Epilogue:  Now our Minds are One
Dr. Mann is a humanities scholar at University of Toledo.  She is also a member of the Seneca Bear Clan nation, which is part of the Iroquois League.  The book is both scholarly and fun.  Dr. Mann does not hold back, in truth-telling or in humor.

writing to be read aloud

Nice discussion on a topic that we’ve addressed in Becoming Poor. Note Massumi’s quote, too, bringing it eerily close.


Many years ago I spent a pleasant mid morning sitting in the sun being read to. The occasion was a writers’ festival in my home town of Adelaide, Australia and the reader was Louis de Bernières. He’d just completed his novella Red Dog (now a movie) and wanted to try it out on a real audience. When he announced that he was just going to read, and not talk and engage with the audience – the usual genre at these kinds of events – there was a collective frown. de Bernières was going to break the unwritten rules and we were going to be cheated.

Of course, nothing of the sort happened. de Bernières is an accomplished reader, the Red Dog stories were funny and elegantly written and the audience was highly engaged for an hour.

Writers-Week-4679-850x455 Adelaide Writers’ Week Whenever I think about reading aloud I remember this particular…

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Bob Lake at UW-T: Justice as Subject and Object of Planning 6/2/16

Urban Studies Annual Lecture Series

Justice as Subject and Object of Planning

Featuring Dr. Robert Lake, Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy, Rutgers University

Thursday, June 2/5:30-7:00PM

UW Tacoma/Carwein Auditorium 

About this Lecture

Considerations of justice have moved to a central place in planning theory following Susan Fainstein’s (2010) eloquent plea to elevate justice as the principal criterion for the evaluation of planning practice. Justice on this understanding is the object of planning, the normative end that planning practice should strive to achieve. Dr. Robert Lake explores the implications for planning theory and practice of making justice the subject rather than the object of planning. This formulation places justice at the center rather than the outcome of practice: of concern is planning as the practice of justice rather than the justice of planning practice. The question for planning in this mode shifts from “Is this a just outcome?” to “What is justice in this situation?” Drawing from John Dewey’s pragmatist philosophy, this question transcends the dualisms between subject and object, and process and outcome, by understanding outcomes as already formulated (what Dewey called ends-in-view) in the process of their production. A planning process that takes justice as its subject is anti-foundational and contextual rather than universal, anticipatory rather than retrospective, generative of solutions rather than evaluative of outcomes, culturally encompassing rather than project-delimited, and inclusively democratic rather than expert-driven. Examples from a variety of sources illustrate the practice of justice as the subject of planning.

For more information: 253-692-5880www.tacoma.uw.edu/urban-studies/lectures

Doreen Massey (1944-2016)

Progressive Geographies

I’m hearing news on twitter that Doreen Massey has died. This is very sad, for family and friends of course, but also for Geography, where her work had a major impact. She was one of the geographers whose work I knew about before I came into the discipline, mainly for her Spatial Divisions of Labour book but also her earlier collaborative book Capital and Land. Of course she went on to write several more books, including Space, Place and Gender, For Space and World City. I heard her talk a couple of times, once at the Soundings launch event, but only met her briefly. I can’t find an online announcement or obituary, but will link when I find one.

Update: the Open University has an announcement here.

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Jamie Peck at UW-T 2/10/16






One of the most enduring tropes in the field of urban studies is the claim, principally associated with David Harvey, that North American and Western European cities have since the 1980s embraced “entrepreneurial” modes of governance, spurred by deindustrialization, heightened capital mobility, competitive insecurity, the rollback of fiscal transfers, and so forth. What began as an entrepreneurial “turn,” conspicuously represented by turnaround cities like Baltimore and Manchester and Barcelona, has since become something like an interurban truism, a banal condition of existence both experienced and reproduced by the majority of cities, even as their own positions and prospects continue to vary. Tracing this zigzagging process of normalization through various subsequent moments, such as the embrace of creativity, the imposition of austerity, and the rise of new economisms, the lecture reflects on the causes and consequences of this remaking of urban hegemony over the past three decades.



WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 10, 2016 / 5:30 PM – 7:00 PM



For more information: 253-692-5880 or @uwturban@uw.edu

This lecture is FREE.


DR. JAMIE PECK IS CANADA RESEARCH CHAIR IN URBAN & REGIONAL POLITICAL ECONOMY AND PROFESSOR OF GEOGRAPHY AT THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLOMBIA, CANADA. With research interests in the political economy of neoliberalism, the politics of policy formation and mobility, economic governance, labor studies, and urban restructuring, his recent books include Fast policy: experimental statecraft at the thresholds of neoliberalism (Minnesota, 2015, with Nik Theodore), Constructions of neoliberal reason (Oxford, 2010), and the forthcoming Offshore (Oxford, 2016). Jamie Peck is the Managing Editor of Environment & Planning A and the coordinator of the Summer Institute in Economic Geography.