Brown Bag Seminar on "Locating the Peri-urban in the Age of the Planetary: Research Trajectories and Lessons from Manila’s Peri-urban Fringe" by Arnisson Andre C. Ortega


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Research Program Brown Bag Seminar

When: Jun 23 2016 - 12:00pm until Jun 23 2016 - 1:00pm
Where: John A. Burns Hall, Room 3012 (3rd Floor)

Recently, urban scholars have alerted us to a planetary-wide urban condition that virtually taken hold in all landscapes, places and natures. In a globalized world of unfurling relations and hypermobility, epistemologies that tend to designate territories as either urban or rural are deemed obsolete, yet analyses based on city-centric methodologies can potentially obscure interrelationships among places. What is needed then are new approaches to interrogating the processes and relations that underpin the production of new spaces and emergent socio-spatial configurations. Given this planetary provocation, how do we then conceptualize and analyze peri-urban regions? This presentation argues that peri-urban regions must be conceptually reloaded as transgressive spaces illustrating contestations in urban transformations and as restless zones produced through mobilities and circuits of labor, goods, culture and raw materials. Drawing from the case of Manila, I show the multiple ways its peri-urban fringe is embedded in an interconnected web of inter-scalar relations that not only connect it with the urban core but also with other regions of the Philippines and overseas. For urban demography, the task at hand is to go beyond methodological city-ism and reconfigure territorialist renditions of space. I propose several methodological maneuvers as starting points for mixed methods approaches in peri-urban studies. First, territorial granularity that makes use of available small-area data can potentially unravel grounded processes of urban transformations, veering away from tendencies to use categories and instead focus on specific variables. Second, an accounting of mobilities of residents living peri-urban lives may unravel the multiple social, economic and cultural entanglements of peri-urbanization. I demonstrate these methodological approaches using initial findings from the University of the Philippines-based project, “Spaces in Transition: Mapping Manila’s Peri-Urban Fringe.”

Arnisson Andre Ortega is an assistant professor at the University of the Philippines Population Institute. He received his Ph.D. in Geography at the University of Washington, Seattle.  He is an interdisciplinary geographer and critical demographer, with interests in urbanization, migration, GIS, counter-mapping, spatial statistics, and socio spatial theory. His research interrogates how neoliberal urbanism in the Philippines has facilitated a new round of property accumulation, the emergence of new middle class subjectivities, and the displacement of the poor. His recent projects have examined the rise of transnational suburbs and precarious suburbanisms in the Philippines and the role of alternative transnational economies in peri-urban developments.


Primary Contact Info:
Name: Sumeet Saksena
Phone: 944-7249