Departmental Research Projects
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).
- Everyday Sanitation: A comparative study of Mumbai's informal settlements
- McFarlane, C. City fragments: following urban worlds. University of California Press; 2021.
- McFarlane, C., Desai, R. & Graham, S. Everyday Sanitation: Informal Settlements in Mumbai. Durham University/AlphaGraphics; 2011.
- McFarlane, C. Learning the city: knowledge and translocal assemblage. Oxford: Wiley Blackwell; 2011.
- McFarlane, C. 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. 2011;1:107-110.
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. Spectacle, State, Modernity: A Commentary on Retort's “Afflicted Powers”. Geopolitics. 2007;12:206-222.
Chapter in book
- McFarlane, C. Urban fragments: a subaltern studies imagination. In: Jazeel, T. & Legg, S. Subaltern Geographies. Athens, GA: Georgia University Press; 2019:210-230.
- McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. Informal Infrastructures. In: Adey, P., Bissell, D., Hannam, K., Merriman, P. & Sheller, M. Handbook of Mobilities. Routledge; 2014:256-264.
- McFarlane, C., Desai, R. & Graham, S. Politics of sanitation: Informality and the constitution of urban metabolic life in Mumbai. In: Shrestha, K., Ojha, H.R., McManus, P. Rubbo, A. & Dhote, K.K. Inclusive Urbanization: Rethinking Policy and Practice in the Age of Climate Change. Guilford Press; 2014.
- Luque, A., McFarlane, C. & Marvin, S. Smart urbanism: cities, grids and alternatives?. In: Hodson, M. & Marvin, S. After Sustainable Cities?. Routeldge; 2014:74-90.
- McFarlane, C. Studies in Comparative Urbanism. In: Desai, V. & Potter, R. Companion to Development Studies. Hodder Education; 2014:296-298.
- Anjaria, J.S. & McFarlane, C. Conceptualising the City in South Asia. In: Anjaria, J.S. & McFarlane, C. Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia. New Delhi and London: Routledge; 2011:1-22.
- McFarlane, C. Sanitation in Mumbai's Informal Settlements: Governance, Infrastructure, and Cost Recovery. In: Bade, K.J, Lorentz, B. & Pries, L. Migration and Integration: Reflections on Our Common Future. Europaische Verlagsanstalt, Leipzig; 2011:123-136.
- McFarlane, C. Entries for 'Mumbai' and 'Squatter Movements'. In: Hutchison, R., Aalbers, M., Beauregard, R. & Crang, M. Encyclopedia of Urban Studies. London: Sage; 2010.
- McFarlane, C. Everyday interruptions: urban life in the global South. In: Graham, S.D.N. Disrupted Cities: When Infrastructure Fails. New York: Routledge; 2010.
- Marvin, S., Luque-Ayala, A. & McFarlane, C. Smart Urbanism: Utopian Vision or False Dawn?. Routledge; 2016.
- Graham, S. & McFarlane, C. Infrastructural Lives: Politics, Experience and the Urban Fabric. Earthscan-Routledge; 2015.
- McFarlane, C. & Waibel, M. Urban Informalities: Reflections on the Formal and Informal. Ashgate; 2012.
- Anjaria, J.S. & McFarlane, C. Urban Navigations: Politics, Space and the City in South Asia. London and New Delhi: Routledge; 2010.
- McFarlane, C. & Robinson, J. Experiments in Comparative Urbanism. Urban Geography, 33 (6, 765-773): 2012.
- Anderson, B. & McFarlane, C. Introduction and Conclusion to Special Issue on 'Assemblage and Geography'. Area, 43 (2): 2011.
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. Introduction: A Symposium on Global Shadows. Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, 29, 251-253 2008.
- Legg, S. & McFarlane, C. Ordinary urban spaces: between postcolonialism and development. Environment and Planning A, 40 (1, 6-14): 2008.
- Jeffrey, C. & McFarlane, C. Performing Cosmopolitanism: Introduction to the Special Issue. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26 (3, 420-427): 2008.
- McFarlane, C. & Rutherford, J. Political Infrastructures: Governing and Experiencing the Fabric of the City. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 32 (2, 363-74): 2008.
- Langley, P. Lewis, S. McFarlane, C. Painter, J. & Vradis, A. Crowdfunding cities: Social entrepreneurship, speculation and solidarity in Berlin. Geoforum. 2020;115:11-20.
- McFarlane, C. De/re-densification: a relational geography of urban density. City. 2020;24:314-324.
- Heslop, J., McFarlane, C. & Ormerod, E. Relational Housing Across the North-South Divide: Learning Between Albania, Uganda, and the UK. Housing Studies. 2020.
- Yap, C. & McFarlane, C. Understanding and Researching Urban Extreme Poverty: A Conceptual-Methodological Approach. Environment and Urbanization. 2020;32:254-274.
- McFarlane, C. The Urbanization of the Sanitation Crisis: Placing Waste in the City. Development and Change. 2019;50:239-1262.
- Bulkeley, H., Luque-Ayala, A., McFarlane, C. & MacLeod, G. Enhancing urban autonomy: towards a new political project for cities. Urban Studies. 2018;55:702-719.
- McFarlane, C. Fragment Urbanism: Politics on the Margins of the City. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 2018;36:1007-1025.
- McFarlane, C., Silver, J. & Truelove, Y. Cities within Cities: Intra-Urban Comparison of Infrastructure in Mumbai, Delhi and Cape Town. Urban Geography. 2017;38:1393-1417.
- McFarlane, C. & Silver, J. Navigating the city: dialectics of everyday urbanism. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2017;42:458-471.
- McFarlane, C. & Söderström, O. On alternative smart cities: from a technology-intensive to a knowledge-intensive smart urbanism. City. 2017;21:312-328.
- McFarlane, C. & Silver, J. The Poolitical City: “Seeing Sanitation” and Making the Urban Political in Cape Town. Antipode. 2017;49:125-148.
- Lancione, M. & McFarlane, C. Life at the urban margins: sanitation infra-making and the potential of experimental comparison. Environment and Planning A. 2016;48:2402-2421.
- McFarlane, C. The Geographies of Urban Density: Topology, Politics and the City. Progress in Human Geography. 2016;40:629-648.
- McFarlane, C. & Desai, R. Sites of entitlement claim, negotiation and struggle in Mumbai. Environment and urbanization. 2015;27:441-454.
- Desai, R., McFarlane, C. & Graham, S. The politics of open defecation: informality, body, and infrastructure in Mumbai. Antipode. 2015;47:98-120.
- Mizanur, M.R., Atkins, P.J. & McFarlane, C. '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. 2014;4:346-358.
- McFarlane, C, Desai, R. & Graham, S. Informal Urban Sanitation: Everyday Life, Poverty and Comparison. Annals of the Association of American Geographers. 2014;104:989-1011.
- MacLeod, D.G. & McFarlane, C. Introduction: Grammars of Urban Injustice. Antipode. 2014;46:857-873.
- McFarlane, C. From sanitation inequality to malevolent urbanism: the normalisation of suffering in Mumbai. Geoforum. 2013;43:1287-1290.
- Graham, S., McFarlane, C. & Desai, R. Water wars in Mumbai. Public Culture. 2013;25:115-141
- Anderson, B., Kearnes, M., McFarlane, C. & Swanton, D. On assemblages and geography. Dialogues in Human Geography. 2012;2:171-189.
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. Rethinking enclosure: space, subjectivity, and the commons. Antipode. 2012;44:1247-1267.
- McFarlane, C. Rethinking informality: politics, crisis and the city. Planning Theory and Practice. 2012;13:89-108.
- McFarlane, C. The entrepreneurial slum: civil society, mobility, and the co-production of urban development. Urban Studies. 2012;49:2926-2947.
- McFarlane, C. Assemblage and critical urbanism. City. 2011;15:204-224.
- McFarlane, C. Encountering, describing and transforming urbanism: concluding reflections on assemblage and urban criticality. City. 2011;15:731-739.
- McFarlane, C. On context: assemblage, political economy and structure. City. 2011;15:375-388.
- McFarlane, C. The city as a machine for learning. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2011;36:360-376.
- McFarlane, C. The city as assemblage: dwelling and urban space. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 2011;29:649-671.
- McFarlane, C. The Comparative City: Knowledge, Learning, Urbanism. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 2010;34:725-742.
- Jazeel, T. & McFarlane, C. The limits of responsibility: a postcolonial politics of academic knowledge production. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. 2010;35:109-124.
- McFarlane, C. Translocal assemblages: space, power and social movements. Geoforum. 2009;40:561-567.
- McFarlane, C. Governing the contaminated city: infrastructure and sanitation in colonial and postcolonial Bombay. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. 2008;32:415-435.
- Jeffrey, A., McFarlane, C. & Vasudevan, A. Guest Editors Introduction: Debating Capital, Spectacle and Modernity. Public Culture. 2008;20:531-538.
- McFarlane, C. Postcolonial Bombay: decline of a cosmopolitan city?. Environment and Planning D: Society and Space. 2008;26:480-499. Reprinted with permission in the South Asian Journal for Culture (2010).
- McFarlane, C. Sanitation in Mumbai's informal settlements: state, 'slum' and infrastructure. Environment and Planning A. 2008;40:88-107.
- Vasudevan, A., McFarlane, C. & Jeffrey, A. Spaces of Enclosure. Geoforum. 2008;39:1641–1646.
- McFarlane, C. Urban Shadows: Materiality, the 'Southern city', and Urban Theory. Geography Compass. 2008;2:340-358.
- Jazeel, T. & McFarlane, C. Responsible Learning: Cultures of Knowledge Production and the North-South Divide. Antipode. 2007;39:781-789.
- McFarlane, C. Crossing Borders: development, learning and the North-South divide. Third World Quarterly. 2006;27:1413-1437.
- McFarlane, C. Knowledge, learning and development: a post-rationalist approach. Progress in Development Studies. 2006;6:287-305.
- McFarlane, C. Transnational development networks: bringing development and postcolonial approaches into dialogue. The Geographical Journal. 2006;172:35-49.
- McFarlane, C. Geographical Imaginations and spaces of political engagement: Examples from the Indian Alliance. Antipode. 2004;36:890-916.
Available for media contact about:
- Citizenship, state and governance: Cities; urban development; urban politics; urban India.
- 2015: IAA - TESTING THE POTENTIAL OF SELF-BUILDING (£6319.05 from ESRC)
- 2014: Philip Leverhulme Prize (£70000.00 from The Leverhulme Trust)
- 2011: Assembling Smart Cities (£4700.00 from One NorthEast)
- 2009: EVERYDAY SANITATION (£175375.21 from ESRC)
- 2008: EVERYDAY INFRASTRUCTURE (£3816.00 from British Council Manchester)