Inequality and the Built Environment: Historical Perspectives

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Date / time: 23 June, 10:00 am - 5:00 pm

Roehampton University

Inequality and the Built Environment: Historical Perspectives


Research and Knowledge Exchange Centre for History and Classics

Call for Papers, deadline – 27 May 2022

Workshop Event – Thursday 23rd June, 2022 | Roehampton University

Given recent attention on the unequal effects of Covid-19 on different social, racial and economic groups, as well as high-profile movements challenging racial inequality in the US and elsewhere, ‘inequality’ is one of the most defining, not to say divisive, issues of our times. The relationship between inequality and the urban environment has attracted particular attention, and follows many ground-breaking studies in economics, geography, politics and sociology which have identified and explained the growth of urban inequality in the 20th century. Ideas about how to tackle inequality, and provide support to and transform areas of social deprivation, have becoming pressing once again.

But the divisions between richer and poorer sorts of people in our towns and cities, and the ways in which inequality manifests and develops across time and space, predate the advent of class and capitalism as defining features of western and global society. In this exploratory workshop we want to consider the historical precursors to contemporary forms of urban inequality. The tensions between the transnational, national and local identities, and their interaction with urban space pose considerable challenges for different age-groups, socio/economic categories, and ethnic groups in contemporary European society. We take it as our starting point that there is a lot to learn on these matters from history.

Despite many academics working in these areas, there has been little opportunity in recent years to share ideas and interests at a dedicated event. The aim of this workshop is to bring together academics from disciplines across the humanities and social sciences in order to generate new discussions and directions in understanding urban inequality historically. Topics might include, but are by no means limited to:

  • The relationship between urban inequality and poverty/health/standard of living
  • The spatial and temporal dimensions of urban inequality
  • Urban Inequality and intersectionalism, inc. class/race/gender
  • Inequality and capitalism (inc. globalisation, Global South etc)
  • Activism, social movements and demands for equality
  • Historical/contemporary methods and techniques for measuring and understanding urban inequality (qualitative, quantitative, digital)
  • Structural inequalities and the law

If you would like to participate in this event, please send an abstract of no more than 500 words to either Dr Lewis Darwen ( or Dr Andrew Wareham ( by Friday 27th May 2022.

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