The horizontal metropolis | Call for Papers

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the horizontal metropolis


The VIII edition of U&U International PhD Seminar will be held at EPFL and hosted by the Symposium Latsis 2015. The two events will share conferences and common debates over the course of three days – 12,13,14 October 2015.


The general theme for the 2015 U&U Seminar is “The Horizontal Metropolis: a radical project”. Horizontal Metropolis is both an image and a concept, it is a lens through which to view the form of the contemporary city, conceptualizing it and constructing it as a project. It refers to a specific spatial condition characterized by a horizontality of infrastructure, urbanity, relationships, and by closely interlinked, co-penetrating rural/urban realms, communication, transport and economic systems. Contemporary urban figures such as Città diffusa in Northern Italy, Desakota in Asia or ville horizontale in Africa, fine grained settlement dispersion in Flanders, or Zwischenstadt in Germany are just some of the examples able to effectively describe this emergent urban condition, increasingly related to the dispersion of the urban fabric within the agricultural landscape. The Horizontal Metropolis concept considers these figures as beyond a simplistic center/periphery opposition, revealing the dispersed condition as a potential asset, rather than a limit, to the construction of a sustainable and innovative urban dimension.

Historically this specific spatial condition has provided test cases for the elaboration of original urban theories. Today the radical nature of the change underway is forcing these territorial constructions to face new challenges, paradoxes and crises, from a social, economical and environmental point of view.

The fundamental hypothesis of both the Seminar and of the Symposium is that the Horizontal Metropolis, as spatial capital and agent of transformation, may be supportive of a radically innovative urban and territorial project – and thus considered as an original urban ecology.

The U&U International PhD Seminars and the 2015 Latsis Symposium will investigate the “Horizontal Metropolis”, its space, its traditions, and its contemporary relevance as an energetic, ecological and social design framework. The dual aim of the event is to connect the specific questions arising in different urban contexts to larger international reflections and processes, and to valorize a multidisciplinary approach in discussing the Horizontal Metropolis.


The symposium intends to investigate the Horizontal Metropolis through three main fields of research:

1 | The Horizontal Metropolis: spatial and natural capital

2 | The Horizontal Metropolis: issues and challenges of a new urban ecology

3 | The Horizontal Metropolis: a transcultural tradition

With the help of ongoing research and contributions from the participating universities, the Seminar and the Symposium aim at documenting and discussing the changes underway in urbanism and the urban condition. A wide variety of research forms and interdisciplinary approaches such as urban analysis, design research, case studies and theoretical elaborations, are expected to nurture and to critically develop the theme.


The seminar invites full papers that present a coherent piece of research or dissertation chapter, as well as short papers that address methodologies, research questions or articulate a starting point for PhD research. Both full (4000-5000 words) and short (2000-2500 words) papers will be organized in thematic sessions. In addition to the seminar proceedings, a selection of seminar contributions will be published subsequently.

Abstracts should be submitted by April 30th 2015 via email to:

Read the full call in the official seminar page.

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