Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Neil Smith 1954-2012 - A tribute

We are all deeply saddened by the news that Neil Smith has died at the tender age of 58. There is a small collection of his open access work on Environment and Planning D HERE. I met Neil in March 2012 following his lecture at King's College, London. He relayed an updated critique of Neoliberalism, in much the same vein as David Harvey, his Phd supervisor, had done in Euston four months earlier. During our conversation in the Geography Dept at King's, Neil talked of his love of bird-watching and how he liked nothing more than to take a boat out into the ocean and watch the sea birds soar in the wake. In academic terms, Neil Smith was a legend and no reading list should be without Uneven Development. He agreed to come along for a wade up the Ravensbourne the next time he was in London for any prolonged period, I had told him of the breeding kingfishers we have in Lewisham and he was fascinated by this. Myself, and my colleagues, all agree how lucky we were to finally meet the man behind the theories that spun such a cohesive web around our written work at UCL. It must be desperately sad for his students, in New York and Scotland, who must have looked forward to the new academic year with an enthusiasm only Neil Smith could generate.
Erik Swyngedouw left a note on the Centre for Place, Politics and Cuture's forum stating that Neil Smith was an inspiration for all, that is HERE. He will be missed hugely.