IRGLUS NEWS | VOL. 2, NO. 3 | JUNE 2015
The newsletter of the International Group on Law and Urban Space |
Lesson's from Seoul's Sampoong Department Store disaster

As part of the Guardian's History of Cities in 50 Buildings series, Colin Marshall writes about what the Sampoong Department Store disaster can teach us about development in rapidly urbanising cities around the world. 

'reckless corner-cutting, briberty and irresponsibility, far from isolated tendencies, had become endemic in a society desperate to develop as rapidly as possible, a sensibility which renders the law nothing more than an obstacle to prosperity.'  

Read more here


The 2nd Annual International and Comparative Urban Law Conference

The Fordham Urban Law Center and the Sorbonne Center for Study and Research on Environmental, Development, Urban and Tourism Law (SERDEAUT) will host a conference in the field of urban law on 29 June 2015 at the Sorbonne Law School, Paris.

The conference aims to cover themes that include:

  • Urban governance;
  • The structure and workings of local authority and autonomy;
  • Environmental sustainability;
  • Criminal Justice;
  • Urban public health;
  • Affordable housing;
  • Municipal finance;
  • Local government consumer protection; and
  • Family law and urban planning.

For more information, contact the Urban Law Center at Fordham University.

Have you visited the IRGLUS website? 
IRGLUS on Facebook

Urban Specialist, UNOPS

UN Habitat is looking to employ two Human Settlements Officers in Iraq. One officer will be based in Baghdad, and the other in Erbil. Requirements include an advanced university degree in engineering, project management, business administration, urban planning, architecture, or a related field. A minimum of seven years of working experience (including at the international level) in areas related to human settlements, project or programme management and/or development is required. Experience in post-conflict areas is an added advantage.

For more information, click here.


Welcome to yet another issue of the IRGLUS newsletter, coming to you from a Johannesburg rapidly coming to terms with the approaching winter. As always, it has been a busy few months, and our network keeps growing - the IRGLUS Facebook page received its 1000th “like” earlier this year, meaning that an increasing amount of people are involved, however peripherally, in our activities.

More concretely, IRGLUS recently put together a session on “Law and the right to the City” at an international conference on sociology of law held in Canoas, Brazil.  We include a write-up of the session by LaDawn Haglund, who acted as its chairperson, as our vignette for this issue of the newsletter. We are most grateful for LaDawn for her willingness to assist us in chairing this session, and also for compiling a report, with photos, of the event. This report can be viewed here.

One of IRGLUS’ main aims is to stimulate the production of research among our members, and to invigorate members’ research programmes and encourage collaborations through exposing us to each other’s research. In this respect, academic events such as the Canoas conference session and the IRGLUS workshop held at the Onati Institute for the Sociology of Law last year have been major milestones. In particular, we are looking forward to the publication of papers delivered at these events.

While we have recently received bad news that our proposal to compile papers from the Onati workshop into a book was not accepted by the publishers, several of these papers are in the process of being submitted and evaluated for publication elsewhere, and we will alert members when they ultimately appear. We will also be tracking the publication of the papers presented in Canoas earlier this month.

This said, we would like to remind members that we are happy to profile any particular publication in the field of law and urban space on the IRGLUS website or in the newsletter. Moreover, feel free to send us a short biographic profile of your research interests, activities and to include a list of recent publications to be profiled in the newsletter.

Please contact us, should you wish to do either.

We wish you all the best over the next few months, and hope to be able to report on more exciting happenings in the next issue

Thomas Coggin and Marius Pieterse
Global Co-ordinators

The RCSL/IRGLUS Session on Law & the Right to the City

Conference attendees discuss the role and reality of the “Right to City”
LaDawn Haglund
Members of IRGLUS met on May 6, 2015 at the International Conference Sociology of Law on the Move in Canoas Brazil, for a dedicated session titled “Law and The Right to the City”. The session featured three papers, followed by a lively discussion on the possibilities and challenges of a “Right to the City” framework for creating more just urban spaces.
In the first paper, “Human rights vs. right to the city: comparative evidence on the capacity of law to promote urban justice,” LaDawn Haglund (Arizona State University, USA) explored the question of how human rights, as pursued through law, might support a “Right to the City” framing of urban justice, as well as how a “Right to the City” and political economy framing might strengthen to urban struggles for human rights. Utilizing comparisons between Johannesburg, South Africa and São Paulo, Brazil, she showed how law was opening new spaces for justice struggles to occur, but underscored the importance of simultaneous non-legal interventions for promoting meaningful social transformation.
In the second paper, “Law and the right to the city: the search for definitions,” Bianca Margarita (University of São Paulo, Brazil) presented theoretical work by her and co-author Damin Tavolari on disagreements among “Right to the City” scholars on how to define this right. Exploring the work of several scholars, including the original framing by Lefebvre, the authors conclude that perhaps too much energy is spent trying to arrive at a “correct” definition and not enough on efforts to support urban justice movements as they emerge and on their own terms.
Finally, in his paper “Beyond the Island of Magic: Public Space Regulation in Florianopolis, Brazil,” Lucas Konzen (Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) explored how public space is regulated in tourist cities like Florianopolis. His analysis underscores the spatial segregations that emerged between residents of the city and the “tourist bubble,” as a result of concrete decisions to prioritize tourism over potential needs or demands of residents for public spaces and services.

To see more photos from the event, click here.

IRGLUS is highly dependent on its members. As such, we welcome contributions from our members. This could range from short vignettes, to photography, news and events.

We will contact various members directly to ask for these contributions, but if you would like to contribute to the next newsletter, please feel free to contact us.

We also welcome feedback on this newsletter, as well as the other initiatives we have implemented to give IRGLUS a stronger virtual institutional basis. 
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