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Club Nine

Open cities: between utopia and reality

UGlobe Café about social strategies in urban environments


Voertaal: Engels

Cities are the places where we work, sleep, party, go for walks, meet strangers – they are where life happens. Cities are the spaces where we can realise our ideals for a perfect society, where we can dream and create our own utopias. Or can we? How much are our imaginations for a peaceful cohabitation with neighbours from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds constrained by reality?  

In the upcoming UGlobe Café we will investigate this tension between utopia and reality by exploring how different cities around the world have dealt with tensions and what we can learn from them, especially regarding the aspect of inclusion.

For that purpose, Dr. Barnita Bagchi, a literary scholar focusing amongst other things on utopian thought, will provide insights into this field, helping us to connect it with our ideas of open cities. She will be joined by Dr. Kei Otsuki, an associate professor in the department of human geography and spatial planning who will focus on social cohesion, especially with regards to environmental considerations in African cities. This perspective will be complemented by a third speaker, Marielle Zill. A Phd-candidate in Urban Geography in the Human Geography and planning department of Utrecht University. Her research is centered around encounters, knowledge exchange, and (un)familiarity between asylum seekers and neigbourhood residents. Together these three speakers will enrich our perspectives and bring these utopian cities that seem so far from reach closer to us.

Op de foto: Barnita Bagchi, Kei Otsuki en Marielle Zill.

About the UGlobe Café 
The UGlobe Café is a unique collaboration between students of Utrecht University, the Utrecht University Centre for Global Challenges (UGlobe) and the knowledge and debate programme of TivoliVredenburg. In a joint editorial, topics are determined that bring knowledge outside the walls of the university in an accessible way.  

Foto door: Jonne Huotari