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A Closer Look with Award Winner Ricardo Cardoso

Monday, February 6, 2017  
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GPEIG Gill-Chin Lim Award for the Best Dissertation on International Planning

The Crude Urban Revolution: Land Markets, Planning Forms and the Making of New Luanda
Ricardo Cardoso, University of California, Berkeley

Ricardo Cardoso‘s work exhibits innovative, challenging, creative and poetic scholarship on the complex relations between crude oil resources, international oil deals, urban planning institutions, land and real estate markets and the emergence of new forms of urbanism in Luanda, Angola. The award committee received many excellent dissertations this year. It was a difficult choice. The committee was particularly impressed by the depth of his ethnographic fieldwork and archival research, by the complexity of his institutional analysis, by his theoretical and ethical insights, by his innovative scholarship and creativity, and by the quality of his writing.

In this dissertation, Ricardo explores the relations between crude oil resources, urban planning institutions and city form in Luanda, Angola. The impacts of international trade on urban development are crucial in the Global South, yet they remain under-researched. Ricardo’s work provides a very rich account of neo-liberalization processes that goes far beyond, and challenges, arguments on the curse of resource-rich-yet-poor nations in post-colonial settings.

ACSP recently connected with Ricardo to find out more about this accomplishment.

How did you feel when you won the award?
A number of emotions went through my head when I received Lucie Laurian’s email. I was somewhat surprised, very honored and extremely humbled. I was particularly happy to have won an award that honors Gill-Chin Lim’s contributions towards fashioning a more humanistic planning for our global age.

Who do you want to thank, if any?
I am grateful to have received a great deal of support throughout my doctoral studies. A number of institutions have helped out and many colleagues, friends and family have backed me up in multiple different ways during those years. I owe an immense debt of gratitude to all of them, but there is one person in particular I would like to thank again. To Paulino Damião, who showed me much of Luanda’s mundane magnificence and whose tremendous generosity humbles me much more than all the books I have read, um imenso obrigado.

What inspired you about this project?
A great deal of curiosity about Luanda as well as a good amount of frustration with the ways in which planning and its related disciplines were, for the most part, explaining and engaging with cities of the global south. My motivation for this project was to be able to offer a contribution for strengthening planners’ capacities to understand and act upon the many challenges of our contemporary urban world.

What’s next?
Part of my dissertation travels away from Luanda to make sense of how oil-backed transnational formations across the southern Atlantic reverberate in its contemporary development. I am now furthering this line of research. As a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at NYU I have embarked on a journey through Rio, São Paulo, and Brasília to investigate politics and practices of knowledge dissemination, and associated movements of resources, capital, and power going into Luanda; an inquiry into forms of Brazilian city-making in Angola. At a time of new nationalisms and bounded imaginations, the aim of this transoceanic project is to trace socio-historical and material contours of present-day modes of Atlantic urbanism.

Ricardo's Bio
Ricardo Cardoso is a Faculty Fellow in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis. He earned his doctorate in city and regional planning from the University of California Berkeley and he holds a master’s degree in urban development planning from University College London and a civil engineering degree from the University of Porto. Ricardo works on the politics of development and change in African cities with a focus on urban and planning theory. He also does research on the Portuguese planning system and he is interested in the fields of transnational urbanism and globalization studies. In his dissertation, “The Crude Urban Revolution: Land Markets, Planning Forms and the Making of a New Luanda”, an in-depth study of two decades of social, spatial, and institutional change in the capital city of Angola, Ricardo examines critical intersections between development trajectories, petroleum extraction, and urbanization on the African continent. At NYU, he is embarking on a new project focusing on Brazilian modes of city-making in contemporary Angola. Shifting the vantage point of his research to look at Luanda from Brazil, Ricardo is now studying the processes by which forms of urbanism have been traveling across the Southern Atlantic.

About ACSP Awards
Each year ACSP is proud to honor faculty and students who have distinguished themselves or made major contributions to the academy or to the profession via outreach efforts, public service or for service to ACSP, the Academy, or the profession. A complete listing and history for all awards can be found at

The ACSP Global Planners Educators Interest Group (GPEIG) recognizes superior scholarship in a doctoral dissertation completed by a student enrolled in an ACSP-member school. This grant is provided by the generous funding of Dr. Hyun-Chin Lim, a young brother of Dr. Gill-Chin Lim at Seoul National University and the Consortium on Development Studies (CODS) established by the late Dr. Gill-Chin Lim in 1982.

The 2016 Gill-Chin Lim Dissertation Award Committee includes: Committee Chair Lucie Laurian, University of Iowa; Ruth Yabes, University of Florida; Emel Ganapati, Florida International University.


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