Ordinary Streets

An ethnography from local to global

Ordinary Streets was an ethnographic and visual exploration of the spaces, economies and cultures of ‘street’, and engages with issues of immigration, adaptation and urban multiculture.

The street is emblematic of the ordinary city, a common urban currency that transmits direct forms of exchange and expression. As a space constituted by ‘ordinary’ citizens, it has a volatile and a convivial capacity: a register for explosive protests as well as quieter, sustained transformations. We turned to the commonplace logic of street to explore everyday transformations and how find out how these are differentially represented through small independent shops, local interest groups, and local government organisations. We aimed to analyse the street in ways that would have significance for policy and planning, as well as interests around immigration and the socio-spatial ‘scapes’ that spans local and global realities. Peckham Rye Lane was the focus of research, an intensely active retail strip in south London appropriated by successive waves of immigrants, and shared with established residents. Fieldwork began in January 2012 and a team of researchers with backgrounds in sociology, architecture and international affairs surveyed, drew, and observed the street.

Nicolas Palominos, architect and graduate of the Cities Programme,  led on the graphic design of this project. Adriana Valdez Young, also a graduate of the Cities Programme, and Sadiq Toffa, contributed a rich array of street images and analysis. Adriana completed her MSc dissertation in 2012 on: Selling & Planning Rye Lane: How cultural permutations of street trade can shape the urban plan. She was awarded the LSE Cities Programme Prize for Academic Achievement.


Project Team

Project coordinator

Suzanne Hall


Thomas Aquilina, Suzanne Hall, Nicolas Palominos, Hamza Siddiq, Sadiq Toffa, Adriana Valdez Young


LSE Cities events

6 October 2015 | ‘Ordinary Streets’ film launch 

10 October 2013 | Global migration and urban renewal 

10 October 2013 | Word on the Street: City vocabularies of migration and diversity 

5 June 2013 | Multilingual Streets: London's litmus strips of change 

12 June 2012 | City, street and citizen: the measure of the ordinary 


4 July 2014 | Keynote: ‘Super-diverse Capital: Migration and city-making’, LSE Groups 2014: Identity and place research conference, 4 July 2014. 

24 June 2014 | ‘Super-diverse Capital: Spatial networks in migrant cities’, IRIS conference on Superdiversity, University of Birmingham, 24 June 2014. 

28 April 2014 | ‘The Social Life of Adaptable Space’, Adaptable Suburbs Conference, Bartlett UCL, 28 April 2014. 

10 October 2013 | Organiser: ‘Word on the Street: City Vocabularies of Migration and Diversity’, international conference hosted by LSE cities, 10 October 2013. 

31 August 2013 | ‘Author meets critic’, panel discussion of City Street and Citizen, Research Committee 21 annual conference on Cities, 31 August 2013. 

24 June 2013 | ‘City, Streets and Citizens’, invited presentation, UN Conference on Future of Places, Stockholm, 24 June 2013. 

14 June 2013 | Keynote: ‘Cities in the Global Era: Global migration and multilingual streets’, Cities in the Global Era Postgraduate Conference, Department of European and International Studies, Kings College London, 14 June 2013. 

15 April 2013 | Association of Convenience Stores Global Summit, invited panellist, Birmingham, 15 April 2013. 

2 April 2013 | ‘Rescaling the Transnational City’. British Sociology Association (BSA) annual conference, London, 3 April, and BSA Theory Symposium, London, 2 April 2013. 

25 September 2012 | 'The evolving high street', ESRC funded project with the University of Southampton 'The Future of the High Street', London 

5 July 2012 | 'Trans-ethnography and city scales', ESRC Research Methods Festival, University of Oxford 


10 February 2014 | ‘Locating Urban Migartion: From Census to street’, LSE London series on ‘Migration and the Transformation of London’, 10 February 2014. 

14 January 2014 | ‘Locating Urban Migration’, Department of Geography, University of Southampton, 22 January 2014. 

22 November 2013 | ‘The Future of an Inner City Town Centre’, invited presentation to the London Borough of Southwark planning and regeneration officers, Southwark Council offices, 22 November 2013. 

6 November 2013 | ‘Locating Urban Migration’, Seminar Series, Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, 6 November 2013. 

7 May 2013 | ‘Ordinary Streets’, presentation to the Southwark Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee, Southwark Council Offices, 23 April and 7 May 2013. 

30 April 2013 | ‘Invisible Infrastructure: Land subdivision as power’. Visiting Einstein Fellow, Seminar at Humboldt University, Berlin, 30 April 2013. 

5 April 2013 | ‘Establishing Thought Leadership in the Evolution of Town and City Centres’, roundtable discussion hosted by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Town Centres, House of Commons, 5 April 2013. 

13 February 2013 | ‘Rescaling the Transnational City’: Centre on Migration, Policy and Society, Oxford, 14 February 2013. 

1 February 2013 | ‘Ordinary Streets: Cultural diversity/economic diversity’, The Brixton Exchange, University College London and Anchor and Magnet, 1 February 2013. 

14 December 2012 | Keynote: ‘Street Commons: Crisis and Loose Cohesions ’, Keynote Address, Post-Crash City conference, University of York. York, 14-15 December 2012. 

3 July 2012 | 'Street Stewardship' Invited panellist, Association of Town Centre Management, Summer School, University of Bristol 

Public lectures

20 April 2011 | 'What kind of city does a street make?', Public lecture, School of Architecture, University of Cape Town 

11 March 2013 | ‘City, Street and Citizen’, Public Lecture, London Southbank University. London, 11 March 2013. 

6 May 2014 | ‘Locating Urban Migration’, IGK Public Lecture Series, Centre for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin, 6 May 2014. 

29 April 2013 | ‘Rescaling the Transnational City’. Humboldt University, Think and Drink Public lecture, Berlin, 29 April 2013. 

19 June 2014 | ‘Super-diverse Street: Towards a trans-ethnography’, MPI MMG Lecture Series, Max Planck Institute for Religious and Ethnic Diversity, 19 June 2014. 


14 November 2013 | ‘Learning Street Economies’, two part public seminar, Learning from Kilburn project, 14 & 21 November 2013. 

10 June 2014 | Keynote: ‘Ordinary Mobility: Framing social complexity, exploring migration’, Everyday Life and Ordinary Geographies Workshop, UCL, 10 June 2014. 

31 May 2013 | ‘Parallel Cosmopolitanisms: The (mis)alignments of Bellenden Road and Rye Lane’, Rethinking Centres and Peripheries ESRC Research Seminar, Goldsmiths, University of London, 31 May 2013. 

8 July 2013 | ‘The Creative Life of Rye Lane: Ecosystems of economic and cultural diversity’, Peckham Town Centre Workshop on Parallel Economies, Peckham Vision community group, All Saints Church Hall, 8 July 2013.



18 Mar 2015 | Suzi Hall presented research project ‘Ordinary Streets’ to Harris Academy students

24 Feb 2015 | LSE Cities Suzi Hall presented at Next Cities Seminar, Kings College London

4 Feb 2015 | LSE Cities Suzi Hall edits new issue on ‘Migration 2015’ for Discover Society

17 Nov 2014 | LSE Cities: Two new job vacancies

27 Oct 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzi Hall, visitorship at the University of Amsterdam, October 2014

2 Oct 2014 | Suzanne Hall awarded ESRC Future Research Leaders grant

22 Jul 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzanne Hall speaks to Al Jazeera UK

21 Jul 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzanne Hall’s research featured in The Guardian 21 July 2014

13 Jun 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzanne Hall’s public lecture at the Max-Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity

10 Jun 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzi Hall on urban migration at UCL

27 May 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzi Hall in conversation with Anna Minton Mon 2nd June 2014

7 May 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzi Hall gives public lecture at the Centre for Metropolitan Studies, TU Berlin

1 May 2014 | LSE Cities’ Suzi Hall presents at UCL conference on Adaptable Suburbs

25 Oct 2013 | Now available online: Global migration and urban renewal public lecture

18 Sep 2013 | Now available online: Suzanne Hall presents at Future Places, 2013

9 Jul 2013 | Suzi Hall workshop exploring creative economies in Peckham

21 Jun 2013 | Suzanne Hall presents at The Future of Places in Stockholm

17 Jun 2013 | Sharon Zukin reviews Suzanne Hall’s ‘City, Street and Citizen’ in the British Journal of Sociology

15 May 2013 | Suzi Hall’s “City, Street and Citizen” review

30 Apr 2013 | Suzi Hall at University of Humboldt’s ‘Think and Drink’ Colloquium

14 Mar 2013 | Suzi Hall’s City, Street and Citizen reviewed in International Journal of Urban and Regional Research

4 Mar 2013 | Austin Zeiderman and Suzi Hall debate Urban Controversies

23 Jan 2013 | Suzi Hall and Max Nathan discuss London neighbourhood brands

10 Jan 2013 | London Assembly report ‘Empty Shops on London’s High Streets’

13 Dec 2012 | Suzi Hall keynote lecture at York University

16 Nov 2012 | Ben Campkin reviews ‘City, Street and Citizen’ in LSE Review of Books

11 Oct 2012 | Theatrum Mundi public conference: Presence and Absence in the City

26 Sep 2012 | High Street Futures

6 Sep 2012 | No High Street Left Behind: Masterclass enthuses Town Teams Partners in England

24 Feb 2012 | BBC ‘One Planet’ features Suzi Hall on south London regeneration



Hall, S. (2012). City, Street and Citizen: The Measure of the Ordinary. London: Routledge.

Journal articles

Hall, S., and Savage, M. (2016). 'Animating the Urban Vortex: New Sociological Urgencies'. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 40(1), pp.82–95.

Hall, S. (2015). 'Migrant Urbanisms: Ordinary Cities and Everyday Resistance'. Sociology, 49(5), pp. 853–869.

Hall, S. (2015). 'Super-diverse Street: a ‘Trans-Ethnography’ Across Migrant Localities". Ethnic and Racial Studies, Themed Issue on 'Cities, Diversity, Ethnicity', 38(1), pp. 22-37.

2013 ‘The Politics of Belonging’, Identities: Global Studies in Culture and Power, Special Issue: Settling Differences in a Land of Strangers, vol.20, no. 1, pp. 46-53.

Hall, S. (2011). 'High Street Adaptations: Ethnicity, Independent Retail Practices, and Localism in London's Urban Margins'. Environment and Planning A, 43(11), pp. 2571-2588.

Book chapters

Hall, S., 2011. ‘Being at Home: Space for belonging in a London caff’, reprint from Open House International vol.34, no.3, in Dick Hobbs (ed), Ethnography in Context: The Urban Condition, vol. 1, London: SAGE.

Hall, S. (2014). 'Emotion, Location and Urban Regeneration: The Resonance of Marginalised Cosmopolitanism', in H. Jones and E. Jackson (Eds.), Emotion and Location: Stories of Cosmopolitan Belonging. London: Routledge, pp. 31-43.

Hall, S. (2014). 'World Wide Street', in B. Anderson and M. Keith (Eds.), Migration: The COMPAS Anthology. Oxford: Compass.

Research reports

Paccoud, A. 2013. Country of birth in the 2011 Census: a view of migration in London and English local authorities.


Future of London's Town Centres, report submitted by invitation to the Planning Committee, London Assembly, 10 January 2013.

Hall, S., 2012. London's High Streets: bringing empty shops back into use, submitted by invitation to the Economy Committee, London Assembly, 31 August 2012.

Hall, S. (2014). London’s High Streets: The value of ethnically diverse micro-economies. Report submitted by invitation to Just Space, in response to the London Plan.

Blog posts

Hall, S., 2012. 'For the future good of our high streets we need a better understanding of the social and economic life of local worlds in the context of global change', British Politics and Policy at LSE Blog, 14 February 2012.

Hall, S (2013), ‘Multilingual Citizenship’ in Discover Society, October 2013

Book reviews

Book Review: Lindsay Bremner, 2010, Writing the City into Being: Essays on Johannesburg 1998-2008 and Martin J. Murray, 2010 City of Extremes: The spatial politics of Johannesburg, Antipode, vol.44, no.2, pp. 1569-1571.



Pending images



Project coordinator
Suzanne Hall
Thomas Aquilina, Suzanne Hall, Nicolas Palominos, Hamza Siddiq, Sadiq Toffa, Adriana Valdez Young
Research Strand
Cities, Space and Society
2011 - 2013