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WSA hosts online symposium ‘Epidemics, Planning and the City’

11 May 2022

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On 22 April The Welsh School of Architecture hosted a joint symposium event from Planning Perspectives and the International Planning History Society entitled ‘Epidemics, Planning and the City.’

The symposium was a product of the development of a special issue of the Planning Perspectives journal (issue 37.1); ‘Epidemics, Planning and the City’ which was guest edited by Head of School Professor Juliet Davis and published in March 2022. It was initiated at the start of the global Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, a time of speculation on how cities would need to adapt in order to mitigate the risks of this highly transmittable, largely airborne disease.

The goal of the special issue was to gather historical research on how cities and planners have confronted epidemics / pandemics in the past, including how they have constructed the challenge of infectious diseases and developed visions, processes and strategies to contain, isolate and treat them. The arising papers showcase many different times, places and cultural contexts, and also a panoply of different epidemics which cities through history have not only had to adjust to but also been changed by.

The symposium featured the majority of authors who were part of the special issue, as follows:

  • Julie Collins, Peter Lekkas: Consumption crusade: the influence of tuberculosis on the emergence of town planning in South Australia, 1890–1918
  • Jacopo Galli - Hypochondria as a form factor. The role of colonial anxieties as shapers of buildings and urban spaces in British Africa
  • Samantha Martin - The pathogenic city: disease, dirt and the planning of Dublin’s Wholesale Fruit and Vegetable Markets
  • Antonio Carbone - Epidemics, the issue of control and the grid: a nineteenth-century perspective from Buenos Aires
  • Mrunmayee Satam - Influenza pandemic and the development of public health infrastructure in Bombay city, 1919–1935
  • Noel Manzano - The cleanliness of otherness: epidemics, informal urbanization and urban degeneration in early twentieth-century Madrid
  • Giorgio Talocci, Donald Brown, Haim Yacobi - The biogeopolitics of cities: a critical enquiry across Jerusalem, Phnom Penh, Toronto

The symposium ended with a discussion on common themes and overlaps in the papers. Participant Julie Collins said: ‘I really enjoyed listening to some fascinating research being presented on historical aspects of Epidemics, Planning and the City from across the globe - from Dublin to Buenos Aires and beyond.’

For more information on the Planning Perspectives journal and to view more editions please visit the Taylor-Francis website.

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