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Overlooked cities: Shifting the gaze in research and practice in global urban studies

Read our newest publication in the Cities journal written by Erwin Nugraha, Julia Wesely, Hanna A. Ruszczyk,

Isolde de Villiers and Yimin Zhao 


There is growing scholarly attention to secondary and intermediary cities as their relevance for global urban development is increasingly recognised. We call urban academics, scholars, policymakers and practitioners to situate debates on these cities critically with the notion of “overlooked cities” to understand how knowledge from such cities is produced, circulated and negotiated in urban research and practice. This commentary aims to foreground the value, urgency and disruptive agency of individual and collective “overlooked cities” vis-`a-vis the historical and contemporary debates to pave the way for alternative agendas for global urban studies.

Citation: Nugraha, E., Wesely, J., Ruszczyk, H.A., De Villiers, I., and Zhao, Y. (2023). Overlooked cities: Shifting the gaze in research and practice in global urban studies. Cities Vol 133 .

To download the pdf version, click here.

Theorising from the overlooked city

Proposals for a research agenda and emerging network on secondary/overlooked/small cities.

Citation: Neves Alves S and Ruszczyk H.A. (2021). Theorising from the Overlooked City: Generating a research agenda / network on small / secondary cities, Digital Magazine

To download the pdf version, click here.

Overlooked Cities: Power, Politics and Knowledge Beyond the Urban South


The book unpacks the dynamics of ‘overlooked-ness’ in these cities, identifies emerging trends and processes that characterise such cities, and provides alternative sites for comparative urban theory. It is organised into two themes: firstly, politics and power and secondly, production and negotiation of knowledge.

The authors share a commitment to challenging the unevenness of urban knowledge production by approaching these cities on their own terms. Only then can we harness the insights emanating from these overlooked cities, and contribute to a deeper and richer understanding of the urban itself.

This collection of essays, focusing on 13 cities in nine countries and across three continents (Luzhou, China; Bharatpur, Nepal; Bloemfontein/ Mangaung and Pretoria/ Tshwane, South Africa; Zarqa, Jordan; Santa Fe, Argentina; Manizales, Colombia; Arequipa and Trujillo, Peru; Dili, Timor-Leste; Bandar Lampung, Semarang and Bontang, Indonesia) makes a timely contribution to urban scholarship. 

Citation: Ruszczyk, H. A., Nugraha, E., & De Villiers, I. (Eds.). (2020). Overlooked Cities: power, politics and knowledge beyond the urban South. Routledge.

Overlooked Cities has been featured as a Book Note in Environment and Urbanization.

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