The webpage of the Espais Crítics collective has now links to the set of presentations of the conference in tribute to the late Neil Smith. It was a remarkable and yet kind of sad occasion, given Neil’s absence in what would have otherwise been a festive celebration of his contribution to critical geography and urban studies — as I mentioned in a previous post the conference was organized to coincide with the publication of the book on Smith by Luz Marina García Herrera and Fernando Sabaté Bel, who were working on the manuscript before he passed away. In any case, the event was rich and deep enough to resuscitate his spirit in Barcelona and the final visits and activities with social movements in Raval (see some photographs here) were perfectly attuned to Neil’s wise balance between powerful theoretical production and the solidarity and engagement with concrete struggles on the street.
The papers generally focused on the application of Smith’s analysis of gentrification to a number of diverse contexts, but there were also contributions addressing his work on uneven development, the production of nature and imperialism. I missed materials using the notion of the politics of scale, though. The keynote interventions (videos below) by García Herrera and Sabaté, Eric Clark, Tom Slater and Don Mitchell were highly interesting, the latter two providing superb climaxes for the two days of the conference (Slater in the first video from 1:29:50 on and Mitchell in the second video from 1:03:30 on).