Full-time Academic Staff: Teaching Staff

Dr Ben A Gerlofs


Room 10.36

391 72840

Assistant Professor

BA (Aquinas College); MA (Syracuse); PhD (Rutgers)




HKU Scholar Hub

Dr. Gerlofs works at the intersection of urban, cultural, political, and historical geography. His current projects are concentrated around three major foci: 1) the political economy of urbanization in historical perspective; 2) the dynamics of contemporary urban social movements; and 3) processes related to neighborhood change, including but not limited to gentrification. Much of his work has explored these issues in the dynamic hyper-metropolis that is Mexico City—the most populous urban area in the western hemisphere—whose historic neighborhoods are being demographically and aesthetically altered at an incredible rate, and whose systems of governance are on the edge of wholesale renovation as the city sheds the guise of the Federal District and is reborn as the State of Mexico City for the first time since the Mexican Revolution. His current book project, A Right to Leviathan: Grassroots Politics and the Urban Revolution in Mexico City, interrogates the multivalent transformations of the Mexican capital from the last years of the Porfiriato to the present, and he is in the process of developing new comparative urban research based in Hong Kong.

Research Interests
  • Urban Geography
    (gentrification and neighborhood change, ethnography, global and comparative urbanism)

  • Political Geography
    (urban geopolitics, urban governance, social and political movements)

  • Cultural Geography
    (urban aesthetics, dialectics, ‘structures of feeling’)

  • Historical Geography
    (cultural landscapes, urbanization, ‘social formations’)


6 credits

Urban Geography: Growth, Function and Pattern of Cities

6 credits

Cultures, Social Justice and Urban Space

6 credits

Cities of the Western Hemisphere

Selected Publications


  • Ben A. Gerlofs, “Dreaming Dialectically: The Death and Life of the Mexico City Charter for the Right to the City.” Urban Studies (DOI: 10.1177/0042098019868102).


  • Ben A. Gerlofs, “Policing Perception: Postpolitics and the Elusive Everyday.” Urban Geography (DOI: 10.1080/02723638.2018.1558633).


  • Ben A. Gerlofs, “Así No (Not Like This): Resisting Postpolitics on Mexico City’s Avenida Chapultepec.” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research (DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12659).

Last Update: SEP 2020

Current Projects
  • A Right to Leviathan: Grassroots Politics and the Urban Revolution in Mexico City. This book traces the counters and disjunctures of Mexico City’s conflict-laden development from the Mexican Revolution to the present, employing the tools of historical, urban, and political geography, including ethnographic and archival methods.

  • “Toward a more robust international framework for neighborhood transformation and global urban change.” This project uses a novel aesthetic survey (a qualitative multi-method suite) to investigate ongoing processes of neighborhood change in paradigmatic areas of three international cities: Hong Kong, Los Angeles, and Mexico City.