Álvaro Sevilla Buitrago

Álvaro is Associate Professor in the Department of Town and Regional Planning at the School of Architecture, Universidad Politécnica de Madrid. His work combines urban theory and history to articulate a social history of planning which confronts the geographies of capitalism with past and present forms of autonomy, commoning and self-management that resist hegemonic modes of urbanization. Using a perspective from below to contest conventional narratives and genealogies of our urban present, and drawing on various traditions of critical theory, this alternative reading pays special attention to struggles over everyday social reproduction and the mobilization of urbanism and spatial techniques to dispossess, displace and disempower subaltern classes and other marginalized communities. Álvaro is currently working on a book which explores these processes in cases from England, the US, Germany and Italy, spanning over three centuries of capitalist urbanization.

In recent years this historical investigation has bred related inquiries including the engagement with UTL projects and seminars during Álvaro’s collaborations as a frequent Visiting Scholar at the GSD. Articulating Marx’s analysis of the transition from feudalism to capitalism and the problematique of planetary urbanization, he has advanced the notion of ‘original extended urbanization’ to describe the logics of territorialization, enclosure and capture of land and labor power in pre-capitalist spaces. Expanding this approach, his 2015 article in Antipode provides a multiscalar, transhistorical theoretical synthesis to understand urbanization and capitalist spatializations through the dialectic of the ‘commons’ and enclosure. Álvaro’s work has also dealt with the deepening neoliberalization of urban policy and the emergence of new urban social movements in Spain in the wake of the Great Recession, the politics and role of landscape architecture in the forging of environmental hegemonies, and the creative destruction of community under capitalism and Fascism, amongst other research topics. He has published a critical edition of Neil Brenner’s work in Spanish in Icaria’s book series ‘Critical Spaces’ and maintains an active dialogue with other UTL researchers on key aspects of planetary urbanization and alterurbanizations.   

Selected publications:

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2019) Antinomies of space-time value: Fallowness, planning, speculation, in M. Chieffalo and J. Smachylo (eds.) New Geographies 10: Fallow, New York: Actar, 18–23.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (ed.) (2017) Neil Brenner. Teoría urbana crítica y políticas de escala, Barcelona: Icaria.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2017) Martin Wagner in America: Planning and the political economy of capitalist urbanization, Planning Perspectives 32, pp. 481–502.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2017) Aporías de una ideología urbanística: arquitectura, territorio y capitalismo en el trabajo de Martin Wagner, Scripta Nova, Revista electrónica de Geografía y Ciencias Sociales XXI, 565.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2017) Gramsci and Foucault in Central Park: Environmental hegemonies, pedagogical spaces and integral state formations, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 35, pp. 165–83.

       -  Companion essay on Society and Space‘s website: Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2017) Landscape struggles, environmental hegemonies and the politics of urban design.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2015) Capitalist formations of enclosure: space and the extinction of the commons, Antipode 47, pp. 999–1020.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2015) Crisis and the city: neoliberalism, austerity planning and the production of space, in F. Eckardt and J. Ruiz (eds.) City of Crisis. The Multiple Contestation of Southern European Cities, Bielefeld: Transcript, pp. 31-49.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2015) Outraged spatialities: the production of public space in the #spanishrevolution, ACME: An International E-Journal for Critical Geographies 18, pp. 90-103. Special section: Geographies of 15-M: crisis, austerity and social movements in Spain.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2014) Central Park y la producción del espacio público: el uso de la ciudad y la regulación del comportamiento urbano en la historia, Revista EURE – Revista De Estudios Urbano Regionales 40, pp. 55-74.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A.  (2014) Central Park against the streets: the enclosure of public space cultures in mid-nineteenth century New York, Social & Cultural Geography 15, pp. 151-171.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2013) Urbs in rure: historical enclosure and the extended urbanization of the countryside, in N. Brenner (ed.), Implosions / Explosions. Towards a Study of Planetary Urbanization, Berlin: Jovis, pp. 236-259.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2013) Debating contemporary urban conflicts: A survey of selected scholars, Cities 31, pp. 454–468.

Sevilla-Buitrago, A. (2012) Territory and the governmentalisation of social reproduction: parliamentary enclosure and spatial rationalities in the transition from feudalism to capitalism, Journal of Historical Geography 38, pp. 209–219.



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Álvaro in Bern, Switzerland.