LSE Cities

LSE Cities is an international centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science that carries out research, education and outreach activities in London and abroad. Its mission is to study how people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world, focusing on how the physical form and design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment.

LSE Cities

LSE Cities is one of a small number of research centres that contribute to LSE’s reputation as one of the foremost social science universities in the world. With the support of Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft – Das internationale Forum der Deutschen Bank, the centre builds on the interdisciplinary work of the Urban Age project, an international investigation of cities that since 2005 has studied the social and spatial dynamics of Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, São Paulo, Mumbai, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Berlin, Shanghai and New York City.

LSE Cities offers an innovative range of executive education programmes, including Executive MSc in Cities, Executive Summer Schools and short courses. Through the Cities Programme, Masters and PhD-level degrees are available within the LSE’s Department of Sociology. In addition, the centre holds an active public lecture programme with leading urban academics and practitioners.

Urban Age

The Urban Age project, jointly organised with Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft – Das internationale Forum der Deutschen Bank, is an international investigation of how the physical and social are interconnected in cities. Through, conferences, research and outreach, the Urban Age charts the diverse spatial, social, economic and political dynamics of global cities in different regions of the world. It carries out original research and contributes to policy debate on the key issues that shape urban society today. It assembles comparative data and visual information on how global cities perform across a range of physical and social parameters. Since 2005, the Urban Age has held conferences in 13 cities across four continents, including Delhi, Rio de Janeiro, London, Hong Kong, Istanbul, São Paulo, Mumbai, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Berlin, Shanghai and New York City.


LSE Cities’s research is divided into three major research units. These are focused on improving the theoretical and interdisciplinary knowledge base on urban development and advancing research in key knowledge areas by engaging with education in city governance, management, planning and design.

Cities, Space and Society

The shape of cities impacts on culture, health and well-being, and our ability to prosper economically. Insight into the impact of space provides opportunity to design more inclusive, resilient and sustainable built environments.

Cities and the Environment

This unit better understands how the design of cities, in particular transport mobility, urban form, resource efficiency and technology, can position cities as a solution to environmentally sustainable living.

Urban Governance

This unit investigates the links between architecture and democracy, how the relationship between metropolitan and other levels of government impacts on city design, and the impact of mega-projects on urban change.

Much of our research is carried out in partnership with institutions and individuals including:

  • African Centre for Cities
  • The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
  • Alan Baxter Associates
  • Bloomberg Philanthropies
  • The Brookings Institution, Washington DC
  • Ajuntament de Barcelona
  • The State of Bavaria and the City of Munich
  • Buro Happold
  • Bay Area Council Economic Institute
  • Centre for the Analysis of Social Exclusion, LSE
  • Cisco Systems
  • Deutsche Bank Research
  • Distrito Federal, Mexico City
  • European Commission
  • European Institute for Energy Research (EIFER)
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology
  • The Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, LSE
  • Greater London Authority
  • Hong Kong University
  • Indian Institute of Technology
  • LSE Kuwait Programme
  • MacArthur Foundation
  • Netherlands Ministry of Housing, Spatial Planning, and the Environment
  • Olympic Park Legacy Company
  • Ove Arup Foundation
  • Rogers, Stirk and Harbour + Partners
  • La Città di Torino
  • Seoul Development Institute
  • The State and City of São Paulo
  • World Health Summit
  • World Health Organisation
  • UN Habitat
  • United Nations Environment Programme
  • University of Cape Town
  • University of São Paulo


Graduate Education

The Cities Programme is an innovative centre for graduate teaching and research on urban issues. The Programme’s distinctive focus is on the relationship between the physical and social development of cities. It offers degrees at Masters and PhD levels. The MSc City Design and Social Science is based on interdisciplinary teamwork in research-based studios led by urban academics and practitioners. It draws directly from the exceptional range of expertise within and associated with LSE Cities.

The Cities Programme understands design as a mode of research and practice that shapes urban environments, responds to urban problems, and connects social, spatial and material forms in the city. It takes a multi-disciplinary approach to these issues, drawing on expertise and insights from the social sciences, architecture, urban design, urban planning and related fields.

LSE is an unrivalled centre for postgraduate study in the area of city design, urban and regional planning, urbanisation and development, and the economic, social, political and policy aspects of contemporary urban life. LSE researchers bring together a range of disciplinary expertise to link the urban social sciences with the design and governance of cities, urban infrastructure, environment and development, with a unique concentration of urban specialists in different subject areas – Development Studies, Economics, Geography and Environment, Government, Social Policy, and Sociology.

Executive Education

LSE Cities offers a two-year part-time Executive MSc in Cities and an intensive week-long Summer School course on cities for mid and late career professionals in the public and private sectors. We also provide tailored executive programmes for organisations such as municipalities and private firms.


LSE Cities hosts a wide range of international conferences, public lecture series, seminars and awards that span the core of our research goals, and work to consolidate a growing network of urban experts.

Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award

Established in 2007, the Deutsche Bank Urban Age Award recognises projects that improve the physical conditions of communities and the lives of their residents, establishing a network of urban initiatives at the grassroots level. The first award was given out in Mumbai (2007), followed by São Paulo (2008), Istanbul (2009), Mexico City (2010), Cape Town (2012), Rio de Janeiro (2013) and Delhi (2014).

Public lecture series at LSE

LSE Cities hosts a series of provocative and insightful public lectures, attracting the world’s leading urban academics, practitioners and politicians to discuss urban best practice, policy, and cutting edge theoretical and methodological debates. Videos and podcasts from LSE Cities public lectures are freely available online.

Workshops and Seminars

LSE Cities organises a wide range of research seminars and workshops, which explore the ideas and theories of the urban issues covered by the centre’s research units. These events encourage interdisciplinary discussion and debate between invited speakers and participants from academic, government, policy, design, industry and NGO backgrounds.