Urbanisation, Infrastructures and Everyday Life

Conference Themes

Countries undergoing rapid urban transformations experience shifts in various infrastructural systems. 

However, there are explicit tensions between the apparent need to develop national infrastructures and the possible implications that this may carry for human health, social relations and environmental sustainability. For instance, unequal access to urban infrastructure – from sanitation to communication – can lead to stratified health outcomes. Differing everyday practices associated with competing coexisting infrastructures can result in exclusion and isolation of already marginalised groups. Resource-intensive and polluting modern infrastructures can trigger the degradation and loss of ecosystems and their services. 

This conference invites contributions concerned with: 

  • the design, planning, implementation, maintenance and use of urban infrastructures (including, but not limited to, sanitation, transportation, health care and education); 
  • the social meanings underpinning infrastructural systems and their processes; 
  • the wider environmental effects of urban infrastructures; and 
  • the human well-being outcomes of urban infrastructural transitions (public health in particular).

We are interested in systems approaches and perspectives that place everyday life at the centre and take into account multiple scales (from the human body to the global climate), critical resources and human social systems to understand and address infrastructure challenges. Whilst we are particularly interested in contributions with focus on East Asia, we welcome contributions on other experiences or comparative studies from other regions where they fit with the conference themes. 

The conference will explore research, policy and praxis on all aspects of infrastructures, their development and outcomes, including – but not limited to – the following:

  • Urban infrastructures and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs): e.g., water, sanitation, waste, or related systems across varying spatial scales 
  • Uses and experiences: everyday practices, individual and group experiences, well-being outcomes
  • Design and planning: circulating knowledges, policy mobilities, development paradigms, cultural bias, global/local relationships, politics and power
  • Implementation and maintenance: finance, resources, models
  • Transdisciplinarity: conceptual frameworks, research design and methodologies
  • Perspectives on urban socio-technical relations which exceed, or bring together, individual infrastructural sectors and systems (transportation, water, etc.)
  • East Asian and comparative case studies: historic and contemporary accounts 
  • Activist and community praxis, including decolonising approaches to infrastructural development, urban change, and resource/waste management 
  • Education and dissemination: strategies, tactics and lessons learned


  • Deadline for abstract submission: 30 September 2018 (abstract acceptance now closed)
  • Early bird & speaker registration: 15 November 2018 – 15 January 2019
  • Deadline for speaker registration: 15 March 2019
  • Conference: 1-3 May 2019

Organising Committee

Conference Convenors

Dr Deljana IOSSIFOVA, Manchester School of Architecture/Confucius Institute/Manchester Urban Institute, University of Manchester
Dr Alison BROWNE, Sustainable Consumption Institute/Geography/Manchester Urban Institute, University of Manchester

ECR Committee
Ms Cecilia ALDA VIDAL, Sustainable Consumption Institute/Geography, University of Manchester

Mr Hongru (Franz) HONG, Gasparatos Lab, University of Tokyo
Ms Demetra KOURRI, Architecture, University of Manchester


Ms Tabea HECKRODT, Confucius Institute, University of Manchester
Mr Kai XIAO, Dean of Office of Confucius Institute Affairs, Beijing Normal University

Scientific Advisory Board

Dr Daphne GONDHALEKAR, Urban Water Systems Engineering, Technical University Munich

Prof Zhenzhong HUANG, School of Law, Beijing Normal University 

Dr Sarah JEWITT, Geography, University of Nottingham
Dr Jieyu LIU, SOAS China Institute, SOAS 

Dr Anna PLYUSHTEVA, Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research, Vrije Universiteit Brussel  
Dr Choon-Piew POW, Geography, National University of Singapore
Dr Tatjana SCHNEIDER, Architecture, Technical University Braunschweig
Mr Ulysses SENGUPTA, Complexity Planning and Urbanism, Manchester School of Architecture 

Prof Jianwen WEI, China Academy of Social Management, Beijing Normal University
Prof Stefan WHITE, Place-Health Architecture Space Environment, Manchester School of Architecture

Prof Xiulan ZHANG, School of Social Development and Public Policy, Beijing Normal University

The conference is hosted under the auspices of the Manchester Urban Institute.

Support for Early Career Researchers

Bursaries for final year PhD students and Early Career Researchers (within three years of PhD) are available on a competitive basis. Registration fees for successful applicants will be waived and their travel and accommodation expenses reimbursed upon submission of valid receipts following the conference. 

In order to qualify for consideration, you should:

  • be in the final year of your doctoral programme or within three years of completion of your PhD
  • complete a brief statement (500 words max) explaining what you hope to gain from attending the conference and submit this together with a concise budget and your abstract using the online form

Selection will be made purely on the basis of the quality of the submitted abstract and statement. Successful applicants will be notified by 15 December 2018.

submit your application