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° ASU03 Engels
Tags: cities , health , urban planning , environment , urban studies , philosophy , history , law , development policy , politics and society

CityLAB focuses each year on an important topic related to urban studies and approaches this subject from a variety of perspectives. This five-day summer school is organised by the University of Antwerp's Urban Studies Institute.


Come and explore the complicated relationship between cities and states, now and in the past! In this CityLAB, a range of scholars from a variety of disciplinary backgrounds and focussing on cities and states in the North as well as the South will introduce you to their research. You will also hear from urban professionals and high profile urban politicians how they see the current position of cities in relation to national states and have the opportunity to discuss your research with other participants and senior scholars. If you are interested in how cities and states differ (or have differed) in the way they govern societies and with which impact on social inequality, power relations, ecological conditions and living in diversity, you should definitively consider applying to our summer school.

Target group: PhD and post-doctoral researchers from disciplines across the social sciences and humanities who are interested in and/or work on shifting city-state relations today as well as in the (historical) past. Urban professionals and Master students are considered for participation as well.


Cities and nation states have historically maintained a complicated relationship. In the late Middle Ages, notably in Europe, cities and states were competing to become the dominant entity through which society is politically organized and governed. At the same time, cities and the modern political institutions they nurtured served as building blocks for nation-state formation.

While over the past two centuries cities were effectively ‘caged’ within national (welfare) states, since the 1980s, global societal trends like economic globalization, migration and climate change are eroding national boundaries and loosening the political control of national states over their territories and populations. Moreover, policy trends like devolution and subsidiarization are redistributing the state’s regulatory capacity and responsibilities towards regions and municipalities.

All these socio-political processes provide actors in cities more autonomy to pursue their own strategies and interests locally as well as nationally and internationally with regard to societal challenges such as poverty, diversity, climate change, democracy and culture.

In this interdisciplinary summer school, we aim to bring junior and senior scholars from a variety of disciplines to explore and discuss how, when and why the relationships between cities and states have evolved and are still evolving. We are particularly interested in how cities and state have differed and differ in the way they govern societies and with which impact on social inequality, power relations, socio-ecological flows and living in diversity.

Summer school topics

The following are illustrative (though not exhaustive) topics we would like to discuss in the summer school:

The summer school consists of lectures by international as well as Antwerp-based scholars, high profile urban politicians and urban professionals in the field of city-state relations. There will be ample opportunity for participants to present their ongoing research on the topic and get feedback from other participants and senior scholars. A detailed programme, including confirmed speakers, will be available by the end of February 2023.

  • Urban governance and regulation
  • Urban conflicts and contestation
  • Urban civil society and self-organisation
  • Seeing like a city/state
  • (Contested) sovereignty
  • City networks and city diplomacy
  • Urban entrepreneurialism
  • New municipalism
  • Urban social innovation
  • State rescaling
  • Welfare state restructuring

Target groupStudy credits (ECTS)Previous themes

  • 2013: CityLAB I: Interdisciplinaire summer school ‘Naar een duurzame Grootstad’
  • 2014: CityLAB II: Suburbanism
  • 2015: CityLAB III: The productive City
  • 2016: CityLAB IV: The City as a Market Place
  • 2017: CityLAB V: The Smart City: An Interdisciplinary Perspective
  • 2018: CityLAB VI: City Aesthetics and Citizenship
  • 2019: CityLAB VII: The Sustainable City
  • 2022: CityLAB VIII: Creating Healthy Cities

What CityLAB participants from

previous editions


"I liked the fact that it is an interdisciplinary and 100% international summer school. The concept and programme were great, as well as the food and care!" (2019)

"The way the lectures were given was very involving and organizers welcomed questions and discussion right in the process of the lecture. Very diverse students helped to see the problem from the angles I would never even imagined existed." (2018)

"An excellent course. I would highly recommend similar courses to colleagues." (2017)

"The summer school had a very interesting and diverse group of participants; a programme that crosses disciplines; and a good combination of talks and field trips." (2018)

Read more about previous editions


3 ECTS credits are awarded upon successful completion of the programme.

Type opleiding:
Kort- en langlopende opleidingen, Micro-credentials
Bio-ingenieur, Gezondheidswetenschappen, Kunst en cultuur, Sociale wetenschappen
2022 - 2023

Stadscampus, University of Antwerp, Belgium

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