“Challenges to open cities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East: shared spaces within and beyond”.

IHS, Rotterdam, The Netherlands

01-03 October 2009

IHS proudly hosted the 10th N-AERUS conference that took place from 1st to 3rd of October 2009.

Please have a look at the titles of the papers that were received by IHS for the conference. 

In our news-section you can find a report on the results of the conference.

The IHS team:
Forbes Davidson
, Marijk Huysman, Alonso Ayala, Anirban Pal & Maartje van Eerd
The N-AERUS Coordination Group:
Peter Gotsch, Harry Smith & Eleni Kyrou


The Network Association of European Researchers on Urbanization in the South (N-AERUS;  http://www.n-aerus.net) is a multidisciplinary network of researchers and experts working on urban issues in Developing countries. It was created in March 1996 by a group of European researchers. Its objective is to mobilise and develop the European institutional and individual research and training capacities on urban issues in the global South with the support of institutions and individual researchers with relevant experience in this field. N-AERUS will work in association with researchers and institutions in developing countries.

Open cities
The 10th N-AERUS conference intends to provide a discussion platform to explore one spectrum of contemporary urban processes by focusing on the diverse understandings of the notion of open cities. An underlying assumption is that contemporary cities in Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Middle East are driven by dual processes of spatial, social, cultural, economic and political integration and exclusion. Such processes help shape the openness, or the degree of being closed, of urban areas in reference to themselves or in relation to their hinterland and beyond. It is also assumed that there is a complex “open – closed” continuum determined by globalisation processes on the one hand and the need to maintain local identities and values on the other hand. Therefore the degree of being open, and/or closed, is understood as a relative notion depending on contextual and specific circumstances, which is on the other hand detached from biased judgements, e.g. socio-spatial segregation is not always (or necessarily) a negative condition, and if it is, it does not necessarily refer to marginal and poverty driven sections of the city.

In summary, when we think of open cities we make a distinction between openness within their boundaries, from a social, spatial and political point of view (socially segregated cities versus integrated cities), and cities as open across their outside boundaries (inclusive or exclusive cities).

We have received a large number of abstracts from researchers and practitioners from all over the world and have selected fifty of them to be presented at the conference. Papers were selected by an independent scientific committee composed by IHS and N-AERUS representatives, through a blind refereeing process.

Link N-AERUS conference to The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR):
The International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) is an international urban research biennale founded in 2001 on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. It promotes public understanding, thought and debate on architecture and urban design, its theory, practice, and role in society today. The 4th IABR, Open City: Designing Coexistence, opening on 24 September 2009, is exploring, documenting, and designing strategies for coexistence in today’s cities. The question how architects and urbanists can stimulate concrete forms of social, cultural, and economic coexistence, will motivate its program of exhibitions, publications, documentaries and radio broadcasts, debates, master classes, lectures, workshops and conferences, both in Rotterdam and Amsterdam. Updates on the IABR activities during the N-AERUS conference can be found both on the N-AERUS and IHS website.