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Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos 2017

08-12 November 2017, Funchal, Madeira


This conference brings together researchers from across the globe to explore urban life on islands and archipelagos.


Islands are often associated with peripherality, yet even remote, sparsely populated islands host urban centres. In the case of some small islands, physical separation from the mainland and spatial limitations can encourage dense urbanisation, the transport of products and ideas, improved defence infrastructure, construction of social capital, consolidation of political power, formation of vibrant cultures, population concentration, and ultimately the development of major cities.


Fostering dialogue between the fields of island studies and urban studies, this interdisciplinary conference will feature presentations that explore and critique the varied connections between the urban and the insular from a diversity of perspectives on culture, planning, politics, architecture, economy, and environment in island cities worldwide. We welcome papers and panels focusing on individual case studies as well comparative analyses and conceptual frames.


This conference is a collaboration between Island Dynamics and the University of Madeira’s Research Centre for Regional and Local Studies. Island Cities and Urban Archipelagos 2017 takes place in association with the III INSULA International Colloquium: Beyond Nature & Artifice.


This conference is a collaboration of Island Dynamics, INSULA, and the University of Madeira’s Research Centre for Regional and Local Studies (CIERL).


How to make a presentation.

Presentations are welcome on any aspect of urban island studies. The deadline for abstracts is 31 May 2017, but we recommend that you submit early so that you have time to take advantage of early registration rates. You can propose a presentation here.


Presentations are invited to address such questions as:

How can urban planning and urban design address challenges faced by island societies?

• Why are islands historically privileged sites for urban development?

•  How does islandness influence urban cultures?

•  What roles do island cities play in national, regional, and global processes?

How does urbanisation affect island environments?

• How does island city status affect distributions of political authority?

How do urban archipelagos relate to their hinterlands and oceanic environments?

How are island cultures reconstituted in urban diasporas?

What challenges do island environments pose to urban development and planning?

How does the mobility of island populations shape the development of island cities?




Keynote speakers.

Keller Easterling (Yale University)

Lindsay Bremner (University of Westminister)

May Joseph (Pratt Institute)

Olivia Bina (University of Lisbon)




About Funchal, Madeira.

The Autonomous Region of Madeira is an Atlantic archipelago to the west of Morocco. Madeira is a major tourism destination, but the islands are also famous for their wine, endemic flora and fauna, and natural beauty. Although remote from the Portuguese mainland, Madeira came to serve as a key point for transatlantic transport and exchange. Even today, the International Business Centre of Madeira free trade zone means that the islands have a financial reach extending far beyond their own coasts. Funchal (population 112,000) is Madeira’s capital. Founded in 1424, this historic city possesses a wealth of cultural heritage.


About the conference.

Conference presentations will be held on 9-11 November. 8 and 12 November will be devoted to cultural activities and excursions beyond the city.


Publication in Urban Island Studies.

Presenters are invited to submit papers for consideration at the online, open access journal Urban Island Studies. Because all papers are subject to peer review, publication is not guaranteed. There is no deadline for submission, but authors who wish to make an impact on research resulting from the conference may wish to submit papers by 30 May 2017. You can learn about the journal and how to submit a paper on the Urban Island Studies site.