Event Series May/June 2011

That resources are diminishing is a commonplace, but scarcity is about much more than the destruction of our natural resource base: it is a socially and economically constructed condition that affects us all, and will increasingly do so. If the 2000s was the decade of false abundance, then the 2010s will likely be defined through scarcity.

Scarcity Exchanges will open up the discussion as to what scarcity might mean, and its social, economic, and environmental implications. The series of exchanges brings together some extraordinary speakers around a single, and very pressing, issue.

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Tickets are free but please register on Eventbrite (http://scibe.eventbrite.com). For further details see www.scibe.eu

All talks start at 6.30pm in the Cayley Lecture Theatre at University of Westminster, Marylebone Campus, 35 Marylebone Road, London NW1 5LS

Dates of the events are listed below.


11 May 2011: Economies of Scarcity

Dougald Hine and Andrew Simms


Dougald Hine is a public thinker and social activator. Co-Founder of the School of Everything and Space Makers Agency, Dougald is now involved in a series of extraordinary initiatives around the role of the public intellectual and new forms of universities. Andrew Simms is a Fellow of the New Economics Foundation, and one of Britain’s leading economists looking at issues of the environment and social justice. He co-founded onehundredmonths.org and the Green New Deal, and is a prolific writer and broadcaster.

18 May 2011: Cities of Scarcity

Alfredo Brillembourg and David Satterthwaite


Alfredo Brillembourg is founder of the highly influential Urban-Think Tank (U-TT), co-editor of the widely-cited book Informal City: Caracas Case, Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at ETH Zurich, and, together with Hubert Klumpner, recipient of the 2010 Ralph Erskine Award for innovation in architecture and urban design. David Satterthwaite is a Senior Fellow at the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) and editor of Environment and Urbanization. He has been contributing to the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on urban adaptation since 1998 and has written or edited various books on urban issues.

25 May 2011: Scarcity and Consumption

Ed van Hinte and Steve Broome


Ed van Hinte is founder and chair of the pioneering Lightness Studios, a grouping of designers and thinkers who research and practice in the field of lightweight structures and products. He is author of numerous books including Lightness. Steve Broome is Director of Research at the RSA, having previously worked on a London New Deal for Communities programme, where he led evaluation and strategy, community safety and community development programmes. He has led the RSA’s Connected Communities programme.

1 June 2011: Concepts of Scarcity

Iain Boal and Lyla Mehta


Iain Boal is a social historian and co-founder of the Retort collective, an association of radical writers, artisans, and artists in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has taught at Harvard, Stanford, and the University of California, Berkeley and Santa Cruz. He is presently Research Fellow of the Birkbeck Institute for the Humanities, University of London. Lyla Mehta is a Research Fellow at the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and an Adjunct Professor at Noragric, Norwegian University of Life Sciences. She is a sociologist and her work focuses on the politics of scarcity, water and sanitation, gender, forced displacement and resistance, rights and access to resources and the politics of environment/ development and sustainability. Several of her publications have been concerned with scarcity including the recently edited work ‘The Limits to Scarcity: Contesting the Politics of Allocation.'

13 June 2011: Fabricating Scarcities

Saskia Sassen


Saskia Sassen is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology and Co-Chair of The Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University. Her recent books are Territory, Authority, Rights: From Medieval to Global Assemblages (Princeton 2008) and Cities in a World Economy (Sage 2011). Her books are translated into twenty-one languages. She contributes regularly to opendemocracy.net and HuffingtonPost.com

Scarcity Exchanges are part of wider research project, Scarcity and Creativity in the Built Environment, led by Jeremy Till at the University of Westminster, with partners at the Oslo School of Architecture and TU Vienna. The project is funded by HERA (Humanities in the European Research Area). For details of the project and Scarcity Exchanges see www.scibe.eu

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