Monthly Archives: August 2012

Venice Biennale of Architecture in search for “common ground”

30 August 2012

Marking the start of the 13th International Architecture Exhibition in Venice (29th August to 25th November 2012), Biennale director David Chipperfield launched this year’s critical reader under the theme of ‘Common Ground’. At the book launch, which was chaired by Professor Ricky Burdett, Chipperfield explained that he chose this theme “to encourage my colleagues to react against the prevalent professional and cultural tendencies of our time that place such emphasis on individual and isolated actions. I encouraged them instead to demonstrate the importance of influence and of the continuity of cultural endeavour, to illustrate common and shared ideas that form the basis of an architectural culture“.

At another Biennale event, the restrospective exhibition ‘Unconscious Places’ was launched featuring a collection of German photographer Thomas Struth’s photographs of street scenes across the world, taken between 1977 and 2012. The exhibition was opened with a conversation between Struth and Richard Sennett, who also wrote the book to accompany the exhibition and was chaired by leading curator Hans Ulrich Obrist, of the Serpentine Gallery.

Sassen concludes high-profile debate series at London City Hall

17 August 2012

On Friday 10 August, the eminent sociologist Professor Saskia Sassen delivered a keynote speech on ‘Cities: Crucibles of Change’ at City Hall, bringing to a close the Mayor of London 2012 Debates. Sassen’s talk charted London’s future as a global city, calling it “an urban vector of its own” in a world that she claims is increasingly driven by urban geopolitics. The fully booked talk was attended by members of the public as well as a high-level panel of respondents, including Professor Richard Sennett (LSE), Ed Metcalfe (Institut of Sustainability), Andrew Carter (Centre for Cities), Daniel Moylan (London Legacy Development Corporation) and Professor Ricky Burdett (LSE Cities), among others.

Other leading thinkers that had been previously invited into the debating chamber were Jim O’Neill (Chairman of Goldman Sachs), Matt Ridley (Science Writer) and Jimmy Wales (Founder of Wikipedia). The debate, which was webcast live (#LondonDebates) on the GLA website and broadcast internationally by CNBC, can now be watched here.

On shaky ground: the making of risk in Bogotá

16 August 2012

How does risk become a technique for governing the future of cities and urban life? Using genealogical and ethnographic methods, a paper by Austin Zeiderman recently published in Environment and Planning A, tracks the emergence of risk management in Bogotá, Colombia, from its initial institutionalization to its ongoing implementation in governmental practice. Its specific focus is the invention of the ‘zone of high risk’ in Bogotá and the everyday work performed by the officials responsible for determining the likelihood of landslide in these areas. [access the paper]

Royal Geographical Society’s 21st Century Challenges

9 August 2012

In a new interview for the Royal Geographical Society’s 21st Century Challenges series, Professor Ricky Burdett shares his thoughts on a range of issues including sustainable cities, what makes a city successful, the future of London after the Olympics, and why life expectancy for a man falls by one year for each tube stop you travel east from central London.

Click here to watch the interview:


Beyond the Games: Securing a Lasting Olympics Legacy for London

7 August 2012

Professor Ricky Burdett joined a panel at City Hall yesterday to discuss London’s legacy ambitions and what future Olympic cities can learn from London.

The discussion, Beyond the Games – Securing a Lasting Legacy for London, brought together Liz Meek (Chair, Centre for London), Nick Raynsford MP (Member of Parliament for Greenwich & Woolwich), Professor Ricky Burdett (Director, LSE Cities and Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics), Paul Brickell (Executive Director of Regeneration & Community Partnerships, London Legacy Development Corporation), Mark Kleinman (Assistant Director of Economic & Business Policy, Greater London Authority) and Stuart Corbyn, (Chair, Qatari Diar Delancey Athletes Village).

The event was organised by Demos’ Centre for London in partnership with East Village London E20. For more details visit

Olympic legacy: creating a ‘piece of city’

3 August 2012

In the latest of our Olympic Series guest blog posts on the LSE’s British Politics and Policy Blog, LSE Cities’ Director Ricky Burdett argues that the regeneration of east London sparked by the 2012 Olympics is a 20-30 year project, as a new “piece of city” is being created. But, he argues, the social benefits of this groundbreaking project “will only be possible if city government retains control and ownership of the land, and puts in place checks and balances to ensure that land values and gentrification do not push existing communities in the vicinity out”. You can read the full piece here, and see more from the series, including contributions from Hyun Bang Shin and Mark Perryman, here.