ICS Seminar - Stephen Healy, Louise Crabtree-Hayes and Josh Wodak

Pandemic Urbanism: The City as Container / Incubator / Refuge

Event Details:

Date and Time: Thursday, 19 May, 11:30am - 1:00pm

Location: Building EZ, Conference Room 1, Parramatta South Campus, Western Sydney University

Chair: Vanicka Arora

Panellists: Stephen Healy, Louise Crabtree-Hayes and Josh Wodak


For a time, we had become comfortably accustomed to the city being described though positive qualifying adjectives—sustainable cities, caring cities, global cities, ordinary cities. Through the same period, the city even came to be described through organic metaphors of nature—the eco-city. Biomimicry was presented as one of the answers to making a good city. However, the COVID crisis has complicated our ways of imagining the urban. The city as refuge is now complicated. Both containing and incubating danger have become co-extensive with the COVID crisis. Resilience has become a catch-cry, even as the vulnerable have felt left behind. The idea of living with nature is now implicitly being questioned and ideas of medical and technoscientific control are being strongly reasserted.

Continuing the theme of the state of urgency—that is, emphasizing the culture and politics of living in a world that requires urgent responses—this seminar explores the theme of what happened to urban life during the pandemic and now ‘after’. What happened to the dominant imaginaries of a planet in which urban life dominates?