here - Vrije Universiteit Brussel

Brussels Centre for Urban Studies
Visiting Fellows 2015
The Brussels Centre for Urban Studies is a new interdisciplinary research centre at the Vrije
Universiteit Brussel (VUB) that brings together urban researchers from various disciplines. Its aim is
to increase the visibility of VUB urban research and to develop and support research projects in the
domain of urban studies. The centre orientation is global, but particular attention is paid to the urban
dynamics of Brussels.
In order to realize these aims, the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies offers funding to a limited
number of visiting research fellows. Visiting fellows are encouraged to carry out study and research
in Brussels and to participate in the academic life of the Brussels Centre for Urban Studies and its
associated research groups. In order to ensure the interdisciplinary orientation of the fellowships,
the fellows will be based at two VUB research groups. For the year 2015, we have the pleasure of
welcoming the following visiting fellows:
editor of the Journal of Political Ecology since
Simon Batterbury
In the 1990s he lived and studied in Burkina
Faso and Niger, working on how farmers in
dryland Africa adapt to harsh environmental
and socio-political constraints and used
'development' projects and migration as part
of this. He has worked in East Timor on land
tenure conflicts, and in New Caledonia (on
indigenous responses to mining on Grande
Terre). Most of this research is "political
ecology" and is made relevant to policymakers
and activists. He has worked with
organisations and NGOs, set up a bicycle
advocacy organisation in London, and
organised many conferences and workshops.
University of Melbourne, Australia / Europe's
bicycle workshops as contributors to
community economies and sustainable urban
transport / From March to June 2015 / Visiting
fellowship at the Department of Human
Physiology (MFYS) and the Cosmopolis Centre
for Urban Research
During his 2015 visiting fellowship at the
Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, Simon
Batterbury will study urban bicycle
cooperatives in Belgium, France and Germany,
involving interviews and fieldwork in at least
three locations and considering how they
contribute to our understanding of urban
alternative economies. These cooperatives
function as non-mainstream, and sometimes
radical centres for promoting a community
non-profit ethos that supports grassroots
urban sustainability.
Simon Batterbury is Associate Professor of
Environmental Studies at the School of
Geography of the University of Melbourne. He
is from London (PhD, Geography, Clark
University, USA) and previously worked at
Brunel University, the London School of
Economics and Political Science and the
University of Arizona, was a visiting professor
at Roskilde University, taught at the University
of Colorado, and was a James Martin Fellow at
the University of Oxford. He has been co-
During his 2015 visiting fellowship at the
Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, Martin
Müller will work on a book manuscript on the
‘mega-event syndrome’. The key idea is that
the way in which mega-events are currently
planned and governed does not allow them to
become what they are often touted to be:
catalysts of efficient and equitable urban
development. What happens is quite the
opposite: they tend to impose their own
priorities on urban planning, often derailing
existing development planning and draining
funds from other projects.
Martin Müller
University of Zurich, Switzerland / The megaevent syndrome: why so much goes wrong in
mega-event planning – and what to do about
it / From March to June 2015 / Visiting
fellowship at the Management and Strategy
(MAST) research group and the Cosmopolis
Centre for Urban Research
Clotilde Bonfiglioli
Martin Müller is Swiss National Foundation
Professor and head of the Space &
Organization unit of the Department of
Geography at the University of Zurich. He was
previously assistant professor at the
Universität St. Gallen, completed his PhD at
the Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main and
was a visiting fellow at the University of British
Columbia in Vancouver, the University of
North Carolina in Chapel Hill and the
University of Oxford.
Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne,
France / Territorialities and language practices
within the Flemish periphery of Brussels: a
psycho-sociology of space / From March to
July 2015 / Visiting fellowship at the Centre for
Information, Documentation and Research on
Brussels (BRIO) and the Cosmopolis Centre for
Urban Research
A human geographer, Martin Müller works on
the planning, organisation and impacts of
mega-events such as the Olympic Games and
the Football World Cup. He has done much
work in Russia, where he has conducted
research on the 2014 Sochi Olympic Winter
Games and the 2018 World Cup. His
conceptual interests revolve around actornetwork theory, mobilities and the sociomaterial, translocal composition of the world.
He is a commentator in Neue Zürcher Zeitung
and DIE ZEIT and his research has received
coverage in media such as the New York
Times, ABC, Newsweek, Der Spiegel,
Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and Le Temps.
Clotilde Bonfiglioli is a PhD researcher in
human and political geography at the
Université de Reims Champagne-Ardenne. She
is also a member of the European Programme
MIME (Mobility and Inclusion in Multilingual
Her PhD project is on the links between
appropriation, focusing on the Flemish
periphery of Brussels (the so-called ‘Vlaamse
Rand’). Quantitative data demonstrating the
importance and presence of non-Dutchspeakers in this area are available, but her
work investigates the ways in which language
practices impact the organisation of the
different communities, from their routine trips
to their participation in public life (schools,
town halls, courts...). The collection and
analysis of qualitative data and quantitative
data will lead to linguistic-spatial models that
combine the tools and methods of
sociolinguistics with those of geography.
Visiting fellowship at Studies on Media,
Information and Telecommunication (SMIT)
and the Cosmopolis Centre for Urban Research
Tassilo Herrschel is a Reader (Associate
Development and Governance in the
Department of Politics and International
Relations at the University of Westminster. He
previously worked at Brunel University,
London, and the University of Bonn
(Germany), and was a Visiting Research Fellow
at the University of Gdansk and Senior
Research Fellow at the Leibniz Institute of
Regional Development and Structural Planning
(IRS) in Berlin.
During her 2015 visiting fellowship at the
Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, Clotilde
Bonfiglioli will follow and analyse the daily
routine trips of permanent residents of the
‘Vlaamse Rand’. The cartography resulting
from these analyses will provide clearer
insights into the patterns of conscious and
unconscious territorial avoidance and explain
the absence or presence of people in public
spaces as a result of their language practices.
Tassilo’s work is rooted in the wider field of
urban geography, bringing together a spatial
perspective and concepts of political
economy, with a particular focus on relational
and place-centric conceptualisations and
analyses of economic processes and political
and policy responses. This includes questions
of the relationship between formally
institutionalised (state) territory, and 'virtual'
functional spaces as de facto ‘new’
geographies. This raises questions about the
link between relational and situational
geographies. How can state power and
responsibility correspond with, and impact on,
these informal, dynamic processes? Answers
involve moving between different scales of
analysis, with a particular focus on the role of
increasingly dominant, and independently
acting, large urban (metropolitan) areas and
their function as interlocutors between the
local and international spheres. This includes
cities and regions acting internationally across
borders, thus challenging the established view
of this being the traditional role of ‘nation’states.
Tassilo Herrschel
During his 2015 visiting fellowship at the
Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, Tassilo
Herrschel will work on international urbanism
and develop Brussels as a case study of ‘smart’
city-regional governance in an international
comparison. He will also use the fellowship
period to prepare a workshop on Cities as
international actors: urban competitiveness
and/or state cohesiveness? Can smart-city
University of Westminster, United Kingdom /
From May to July 2015 / Smart city regional
governance and cities as international actors /
regional governance square the circle?, to be
held in Brussels in October 2015.
Architecture and Urbanism (Springer, 2011,
with N. Janssens). Her research has been
published in Architectural Theory Review, City
Culture and Society, Belgeo, Footprint, and
Conditions, and as book chapters in edited
volumes. She is currently completing a book
manuscript on the practice turn in
architecture, using case studies from Brussels
after 1968.
Isabelle Doucet
During her 2015 visiting fellowship at the
Brussels Centre for Urban Studies, Isabelle
Doucet will focus on architectural counterprojects in 1970s Brussels. Within the wider,
international, counter-cultural mood of the
time, counter-projects adopted a unique
position. Not only were they mobilised in both
activism and architectural culture; they also
combined the critique of an existing situation
with the formulation of alternative proposals.
Anchored in the local urban activism of the
Atelier de Recherche et d’Action Urbaines
(ARAU), the architectural education of La
Cambre, and the intellectual-historical work of
the Archives d’Architecture Moderne (AAM),
counter-projects offer instructive vehicles for
studying architectural critique as assemblages
of urban activism, disciplinary critique, and
formal and aesthetic test-grounds. During her
fellowship, Isabelle will expand and refine her
on-going research on counter-projects and use
this occasion to study the relevance of
architecture, in both analytical and projective
University of Manchester, United Kingdom /
From August to December 2015 / The city as a
conceptual-empirical assemblage: counterprojects / Visiting fellowship at the
Department of Architectural Engineering
(ARCH) and the Cosmopolis Centre for Urban
Isabelle Doucet is Lecturer in Architecture and
Urbanism at the Manchester Architecture
Research Centre (MARC), University of
Manchester. Her research focuses on the
relationship between politics, aesthetics, and
social critique in postwar architecture. She is
particularly interested in the repercussions of
the 'post-political' and 'post-theoretical' turn
for architecture, which she studies through
both historical and contemporary cases. She
has co-edited the special issue Agency in
Architecture (Footprint Journal, 2009, with K.
Cupers) and the edited volume Trans-