Professor Colin McFarlane
My work focusses on the experience and politics of the city. I explore how cities are known, lived and politicised. This includes research on urban densities, infrastructures, and learning across different cities, focussing in particular on the economic margins of the city. My current work seeks to understand:
1: The experience and perception of high densities in Asian cities (project website: https://www.dur.ac.uk/dencity/). This research examines how high urban densities – or ‘intensities’ - are lived and perceived in Asian cities, focusing on Mumbai, Dhaka, Hong Kong, Manila and Tokyo. It explores several themes that cut-across different sites in urban Asia: urban markets, waste and informality, urban mobility, vertical densities, and ways of seeing and knowing intensity. This research is supported through a European Research Council Consolidator grant;
2: The potential for urban equality in contemporary cities. This work examines the forms of knowledge, distribution and recognition required for equality in various cities across Asia, Africa and South America. This is a large project supported by an ESRC-GCRF grant, on which I am one of several co-investigators (https://www.urban-know.com).
I am author of 'Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage' (Blackwell), a book focussed on the intersections between urban inequality, materiality, resistance and learning, as well as related edited collections, including: 'Smart Urbanism: Utopian Vision or False Dawn?' (Routledge, with Simon Marvin and Andres Luque-Ayala), 'Infrastructural Lives: Urban Infrastructure in Context' (Earthscan-Routledge, with Steve Graham), 'Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia' (Routledge, with Jonathan Anjaria), and 'Urban Informalities: Reflections on the Formal and Informal' (Ashgate, with Michael Waibel).
My work has been previously supported by a Leverhulme Prize, an ESRC project on urban sanitation (https://www.dur.ac.uk/geography/everyday_sanitation/, with Stephen Graham and Renu Desai), and an ESRC project on urban social innovation (http://community.dur.ac.uk/pursi/, with Joe Painter, Paul Langley, Sue Lewis, and Antonis Vradis).
Department of Geography
Department of Geography
- Everyday Sanitation: A comparative study of Mumbai's informal settlements
- McFarlane, C. (2021). City fragments: following urban worlds. University of California Press.
- McFarlane, C., Desai, R. & Graham, S. (2011). Everyday Sanitation: Informal Settlements in Mumbai. Durham University/AlphaGraphics.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). Learning the city: knowledge and translocal assemblage. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell.
- Marvin, S., Luque-Ayala, A. & McFarlane, C. (2016). Smart Urbanism: Utopian Vision or False Dawn?. Routledge.
- Graham, S. & McFarlane, C. (2015). Infrastructural Lives: Politics, Experience and the Urban Fabric. Earthscan-Routledge.
- McFarlane, C. & Waibel, M. (2012). Urban Informalities: Reflections on the Formal and Informal. Ashgate.
- Anjaria, J.S. & McFarlane, C. (2010). Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia. Cities and the Urban Imperative Series. London and New Delhi: Routledge.
- McFarlane, C. & Robinson, J. (2012). Experiments in Comparative Urbanism. Urban Geography, 33 (6, 765-773).
- Anderson, B. & McFarlane, C. (2011). Introduction and Conclusion to Special Issue on 'Assemblage and Geography'. Area, 43 (2).
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. (2008). Introduction: A Symposium on Global Shadows. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 29, 251-253
- Legg, S. & McFarlane, C. (2008). Ordinary urban spaces: between postcolonialism and development. Environment and Planning A, 40 (1, 6-14).
- Jeffrey, C. & McFarlane, C. (2008). Performing Cosmopolitanism: Introduction to the Special Issue. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26 (3, 420-427).
- McFarlane, C. & Rutherford, J. (2008). Political Infrastructures: Governing and Experiencing the Fabric of the City. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32 (2, 363-74).
Chapter in book
- McFarlane, C. (Accepted). Learning from the City: a Politics of Urban Learning in Planning. In Companion to Planning in the Global South. Watson, V., Bhan, G. & Srinivas, S. Routledge.
- McFarlane, C. & Desai, R. (Accepted). The Urban Metabolic Commons: Rights, Civil Society, and Subaltern Struggle’. In Releasing the Commons: Rethinking the Futures of the Commons. Amin, A. & Howell, P. Routledge. 158-173.
- McFarlane, C. (2019). Assembling the everyday: incremental urbanism and tactical learning. In SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century City. Burdett, R. & Hall, S. Sage.
- McFarlane, C (2019). Fragments. In Keywords in Radical Geographical Thought: Antipode at 50. Jazeel, T. Kent, A., McKittirck, K. & Theodroe, N. Wiley.
- McFarlane, C. (2019). Urban fragments: a subaltern studies imagination. In Subaltern Geographies. Jazeel, T. & Legg, S. Athens, GA: Georgia University Press. 210-230.
- Lancione, M. & McFarlane, C. (2016). Becoming Infrastructure: Body, Waste and the City. In Urban Cosmopolitics: Agencements, Assemblies, Atmospheres. Blok, A. & Farias, I. Routledge. 45-62.
- McFarlane, C. (2016). Encountering was it (not) there. In Encountering the City. Urban Encounters from Accra to New York. Darling, J. & Wilson, H. Ashgate. 229-232.
- Graham, S., Desai, R. & McFarlane, C. (2015). De-Networking the Poor: Revanchist Urbanism and Hydrological Apartheid in Mumbai. In Beyond the Networked City: Infrastructure Reconfigurations and Urban Change in the North and South. Couthard, O. & Rutherford, J. Routledge.
- McFarlane, C. (2015). Learning cities. In Urban Theory: New Critical Perspectives. Jayne, M. & Ward, K. Routledge.
- McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. (2014). Informal Infrastructures. In Handbook of Mobilities. Adey, P., Bissell, D., Hannam, K., Merriman, P. & Sheller, M. Routledge. 256-264.
- McFarlane, C., Desai, R. & Graham, S. (2014). Politics of sanitation: Informality and the constitution of urban metabolic life in Mumbai. In Inclusive Urbanization: Rethinking Policy and Practice in the Age of Climate Change. Shrestha, K., Ojha, H.R., McManus, P. Rubbo, A. & Dhote, K.K. Guilford Press.
- Luque, A., McFarlane, C. & Marvin, S. (2014). Smart urbanism: cities, grids and alternatives?. In After Sustainable Cities?. Hodson, M. & Marvin, S. Routeldge. 74-90.
- McFarlane, C. (2014). Studies in Comparative Urbanism. In Companion to Development Studies. Desai, V. & Potter, R. Hodder Education. 296-298.
- Anjaria, J.S. & McFarlane, C. (2011). Conceptualising the City in South Asia. In Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia. Anjaria, J.S. & McFarlane, C. New Delhi and London: Routledge. 1-22.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). Sanitation in Mumbai's Informal Settlements: Governance, Infrastructure, and Cost Recovery. In Migration and Integration: Reflections on Our Common Future. Bade, K.J, Lorentz, B. & Pries, L. Europaische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig. 123-136.
- McFarlane, C. (2010). Entries for 'Mumbai' and 'Squatter Movements'. In Encyclopedia of Urban Studies. Hutchison, R., Aalbers, M., Beauregard, R. & Crang, M. London: Sage.
- McFarlane, C. (2010). Everyday interruptions: urban life in the global South. In Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails. Graham, S.D.N. New York: Routledge.
- Langley, P. , Lewis, S. , McFarlane, C. , Painter, J. & Vradis, A. (2020). Crowdfunding cities: Social entrepreneurship, speculation and solidarity in Berlin. Geoforum 115: 11-20.
- McFarlane, C. (2020). De/re-densification: a relational geography of urban density. City 24(1-2): 314-324.
- Chen, Hung-Ying, Chowdhury, Romit, McFarlane, Colin & Tripathy, Priyam (2020). Introduction: rethinking urban density. Urban Geography 41(10): 1241-1246.
- Heslop, J., McFarlane, C. & Ormerod, E. (2020). Relational Housing Across the North-South Divide: Learning Between Albania, Uganda, and the UK. Housing Studies 35(9): 1607-1627.
- McFarlane, C. (2020). The force of density: political crowding and the city. Urban Geography
- Yap, C. & McFarlane, C. (2020). Understanding and Researching Urban Extreme Poverty: A Conceptual-Methodological Approach. Environment and Urbanization 32(1): 254-274.
- McFarlane, C. (2019). The Urbanization of the Sanitation Crisis: Placing Waste in the City. Development and Change 50(5): 239-1262.
- Bulkeley, H., Luque-Ayala, A., McFarlane, C. & MacLeod, G. (2018). Enhancing urban autonomy: towards a new political project for cities. Urban Studies 55(4): 702-719.
- McFarlane, C. (2018). Fragment Urbanism: Politics on the Margins of the City. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 36(6): 1007-1025.
- McFarlane, C., Silver, J. & Truelove, Y. (2017). Cities within Cities: Intra-Urban Comparison of Infrastructure in Mumbai, Delhi and Cape Town. Urban Geography 38(9): 1393-1417.
- McFarlane, C. & Silver, J. (2017). Navigating the city: dialectics of everyday urbanism. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 42(3): 458-471.
- McFarlane, C. & Söderström, O. (2017). On alternative smart cities: from a technology-intensive to a knowledge-intensive smart urbanism. City 21(3-4): 312-328.
- McFarlane, C. & Silver, J. (2017). The Poolitical City: “Seeing Sanitation” and Making the Urban Political in Cape Town. Antipode 49(1): 125-148.
- Lancione, M. & McFarlane, C. (2016). Life at the urban margins: sanitation infra-making and the potential of experimental comparison. Environment and Planning A 48(12): 2402-2421.
- McFarlane, C. (2016). The Geographies of Urban Density: Topology, Politics and the City. Progress in Human Geography 40(5): 629-648.
- McFarlane, C. & Desai, R. (2015). Sites of entitlement claim, negotiation and struggle in Mumbai. Environment and urbanization 27(2): 441-454.
- Desai, R., McFarlane, C. & Graham, S. (2015). The politics of open defecation: informality, body, and infrastructure in Mumbai. Antipode 47(1): 98-120.
- Mizanur, M.R., Atkins, P.J. & McFarlane, C. (2014). 'Factors affecting slum sanitation projects in Dhaka City: learning from the dynamics of social-technological-governance systems'. Journal of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene for Development 4(3): 346-358.
- McFarlane, C, Desai, R. & Graham, S. (2014). Informal Urban Sanitation: Everyday Life, Poverty and Comparison. Annals of the Association of American Geographers 104(5): 989-1011.
- MacLeod, D.G. & McFarlane, C. (2014). Introduction: Grammars of Urban Injustice. Antipode 46(4): 857-873.
- McFarlane, C. (2013). From sanitation inequality to malevolent urbanism: the normalisation of suffering in Mumbai. Geoforum 43(6): 1287-1290.
- Graham, S., McFarlane, C. & Desai, R. (2013). Water wars in Mumbai. Public Culture 25(1_69): 115-141
- Anderson, B., Kearnes, M., McFarlane, C. & Swanton, D. (2012). On assemblages and geography. Dialogues in Human Geography 2(2): 171-189.
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. (2012). Rethinking enclosure: space, subjectivity, and the commons. Antipode 44(4): 1247-1267.
- McFarlane, C. (2012). Rethinking informality: politics, crisis and the city. Planning Theory and Practice 13(1): 89-108.
- McFarlane, C. (2012). The entrepreneurial slum: civil society, mobility, and the co-production of urban development. Urban Studies 49(13): 2926-2947.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). Assemblage and critical urbanism. City 15(2): 204-224.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). Encountering, describing and transforming urbanism: concluding reflections on assemblage and urban criticality. City 15(6): 731-739.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). On context: assemblage, political economy and structure. City 15(3-4): 375-388.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). The city as a machine for learning. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 36(3): 360-376.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). The city as assemblage: dwelling and urban space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 29(4): 649-671.
- McFarlane, C. (2010). The Comparative City: Knowledge, Learning, Urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 34(4): 725-742.
- Jazeel, T. & McFarlane, C. (2010). The limits of responsibility: a postcolonial politics of academic knowledge production. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 35(1): 109-124.
- McFarlane, C. (2009). Translocal assemblages: space, power and social movements. Geoforum 40(4): 561-567.
- McFarlane, C. (2008). Governing the contaminated city: infrastructure and sanitation in colonial and postcolonial Bombay. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 32(2): 415-435.
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. (2008). Guest Editors Introduction: Debating Capital, Spectacle and Modernity. Public Culture 20(3): 531-538.
- McFarlane, C. (2008). Postcolonial Bombay: decline of a cosmopolitan city?. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 26(3): 480-499. Reprinted with permission in the South Asian Journal for Culture (2010).
- McFarlane, C. (2008). Sanitation in Mumbai's informal settlements: state, 'slum' and infrastructure. Environment and Planning A 40(1): 88-107.
- Vasudevan, A., McFarlane, C. & Jeffrey, A. (2008). Spaces of Enclosure. Geoforum 39: 1641–1646.
- McFarlane, C. (2008). Urban Shadows: Materiality, the 'Southern city', and Urban Theory. Geography Compass 2(2): 340-358.
- Jazeel, T. & McFarlane, C. (2007). Responsible Learning: Cultures of Knowledge Production and the North-South Divide. Antipode 39(5): 781-789.
- McFarlane, C. (2006). Crossing Borders: development, learning and the North-South divide. Third World Quarterly 27(8): 1413-1437.
- McFarlane, C. (2006). Knowledge, learning and development: a post-rationalist approach. Progress in Development Studies 6(4): 287-305.
- McFarlane, C. (2006). Transnational development networks: bringing development and postcolonial approaches into dialogue. The Geographical Journal 172(1): 35-49.
- McFarlane, C. (2004). Geographical Imaginations and spaces of political engagement: Examples from the Indian Alliance. Antipode 36(5): 890-916.
- McFarlane, C. (2011). Book review forum: David Harvey, Cosmopolitanism and the Geographies of Freedom. New York: Columbia University Press, 2009; 352 pp.: 9780231148467, US$27.50/£19 (hbk). Dialogues in Human Geography 1(1): 107-110.
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. (2007). Spectacle, State, Modernity: A Commentary on Retort's “Afflicted Powers”. Geopolitics 12(1): 206-222.
Available for media contact about:
- Citizenship, state and governance: Cities; urban development; urban politics; urban India.