Online Conference Symposium 2022 — Socio-Spatial Georgia: Examining the Social Impacts of Large, Private Sector Urban Development in Batumi and Tbilisi

Conference Organizers:
David Sichinava,Tbilisi State University/Carleton University
David Gogishvili, University of Lausanne
Suzanne Harris-BrandtsCarleton University

Tuesday, 22 November 2022: Tbilisi time :15:00h –18:30h (CST -4/ GMT+4 / EST+9).*Keynote presentations and discussion at 17:00h–18:30hTbilisi time.

Over the past few decades, Eurasian cities have experienced overwhelming urban transformations through large-scale urban development. Driven by entrepreneurial principles or state-led developmentalism, they are increasingly shaping physical, social, and political landscapes. These forces have been active in Georgian cities, particularly the two largest, Batumi and Tbilisi, which have experienced socioeconomic restructuring, waves of gentrification, new architectural identities, heritage loss, and transformative city branding campaigns.

Scholars, students, and members of the public are invited to join a conversation around the rapidly changing skylines of Batumi and Tbilisi. This online event is connected to research funded by the Shota Rustaveli National Science Foundation. A series of afternoon presentations provide an overview of the research, including the metrics involved in measuring urban change through both qualitative and quantitative approaches. The grant researchers will further share specific case studies.

What has been the magnitude of large-scale urban development, and what are these projects’ rates of completion and vacancy? How have these developments had social impacts on their surroundings? In what ways can large, private-sector construction be understood relative to global market forces, processes of capital accumulation, and city branding? Does the increase in development in Batumi and Tbilisi warrant new planning laws and regulations to minimize social impacts?

The event will further host a roundtable discussion on the implications of large-scale urban development in the postsocialist Global East and beyond and presentations by two invited speakers: Dr. Carola Silvia Neugebauer (RWTH Aachen University, Germany) and Dr. Joseph Salukvadze (Tbilisi State University, Georgia).

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