Neil Brenner

Neil Brenner is Professor of Urban Theory at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), where he teaches classes on critical urban theory, urban political economy, and socio-spatial theory and works closely with architects, landscape architects, planners, and cartographers to develop new approaches to understanding, representing, and influencing contemporary urban transformations. His most recent book, Implosions/Explosions, to be released in 2014, will build upon Henri Lefebvre’s ideas to elaborate the methodological foundations for investigating 21st-century forms of global urbanization. Other books include New State Spaces (2004), a study of urban governance and state spatial restructuring in Europe during the second half of the 20th century, and several volumes on the need for a critical approach to urban questions in the age of neoliberal capitalism (including Cities for People, Not for Profit: Critical Urban Theory; The Right to the City, co-edited with Margit Mayer and Peter Marcuse; and Spaces of Neoliberalism, co-edited with Nik Theodore). Also at Harvard GSD, Brenner directs the Urban Theory Lab, a research collective that uses the tools of critical urban theory, historical geopolitical economies, and radical cartography to decipher emergent patterns of urbanization, dispossession, and struggle under 21st- century capitalism. The Lab’s current work explores the urbanization of Earth’s most remote places—”extreme territories” such as the Arctic, the Amazon, the Sahara Desert, the Himalayas, and the Gobi steppe, as well as the oceans and the atmosphere. Brenner is also currently collaborating with Christian Schmid of the ETH-Zurich on a book project entitled Planetary Urbanization.

Why we love Neil Brenner:

• Neil has made enormous contributions to the field of critical urban theory, including his book New State Spaces, which uses theory, historical analysis, and cross-national case studies to provide an innovative analysis of new formations of state power that are currently emerging in cities

• As director of the Urban Theory Lab at the Harvard GSD, he engages the ever-present issues presented by urbanization and 21st century capitalism

• Neil studies urbanization by exploring some of the world’s remote places, like the Arctics, the Amazon, and the Gobi steppe