On 7 February 2017 at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Theatrum Mundi will co-host with the LSE International Inequalities Institute the British Sociological Association seminar Design and ‘the Social’: Mapping New Approaches to Inequality in Design. The event will map out the contemporary social science research and thinking into design in order to explore how designers operate as social theorists, actors and activists. It aims to engage with the current and politically pressing debate on social inequality while negotiating the specificities of design as a profession that is both creative and commercial. Further details about registration, and the event’s call for papers, can be found here.
LSE Cities and Urban Age Director Ricky Burdett has published an article on inequality and patterns of urban growth for a special issue of the United Nations Development Programme’s (UNDP’s) Policy in Focus journal. The special issue of Policy in Focus builds upon discussions and debates initiated at the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) held earlier this year in Quito, Ecuador. The article highlights differing patterns of urbanisation across the world and their implications for economic and social development. Discussing, in particular, the acceleration of urban inequality globally, Professor Burdett argues for a more open form of urbanism that recognises how the spatial and the social are inextricably linked in cities. The full article and special issue are available here.
Theatrum Mundi is today hosting the final of three expert round tables to debate issues raised by Sadiq Khan’s plans to create a Cultural Infrastructure 2030 plan for London, asking if and how we can design the conditions for culture. The round tables have asked a variety of questions, including: What kinds of urban activities can be seen as culture, and which should be included in planning for provision? Along with cultures generating visitors and economic value, how should commercially unproductive cultures, or ones without audiences, be provided for? Beyond economics, what other benefits does cultural infrastructure bring to the city? What kinds of value are artists expected to create, and what do they get in return? What is special about spaces for culture and the conditions they create, beyond spaces for other types of production and gathering?
While previous round tables have addressed “infrastructures of performance” and “infrastructures of making”, the focus of this final discussion will be on “infrastructures of the virtual,” asking if there should there be special places in the city for virtual culture or if it needs a new kind of planning for infrastructure everywhere. The debate will be stimulated by provocations from writer Alice Honor Gavin, publisher Shumi Bose, sociologist Adam Kaasa, and housing activist/artist Tom Keene. More information on the round tables is available here.
The second intensive teaching period of LSE Cities’ Executive MSc in Cities begins this week at the London School of Economics and Political Science. The EMC is a flexible, tailor-made programme for urban professionals in the public, private and third sectors who want to improve the way their organisations understand and deliver change in cities. While week one, in September, focused on identifying and understanding the world’s major urban challenges, week two will introduce students to analytic frameworks for understanding the latest economic, environmental and social trends in cities, including key performance indicators and multicriteria assessments. It will also include a public dialogue and information session with Ricky Burdett and Roger Madelin on Tuesday, December 13. Enrollment for the 2017 EMC is now open: for further information, see here.
LSE Cities Research Officer and Coordinator of the Resource Urbanisms project Alexandra Gomes will present tomorrow for the final Feeling Good in Public Spaces dialogue organised by the Adaptation and Resilience in the Context of Change network (ARCC). The talk, hosted by Central St Martins as part of their Spatial Practices Lecture Series, will focus on sensescapes as “brush strokes” of an urban canvas and discuss urban environment aesthetics as a multi-sensory composition of visual, sound, smell and haptic characteristics. It will illustrate some preliminary results from Alexandra’s research, aiming at the creation of a comprehensive and open framework of analysis of how sensescapes can be defined and analysed. More information is available here.
The Quito Papers film and panel discussion series launches tonight at Pavillion de l’Arsenal, in Paris, France. The event will feature the screening of the film “The Quito Papers: towards the open city”, directed by Dom Bagnato and Cassim Shepard, with the collaboration of filmmakers in Beijing, Karachi, Lagos, London, New York, Quito, São Paulo and Mexico City. “The Quito Papers” is a research collaboration between Theatrum Mundi, NYU and UN-Habitat, developed in the run-up to the United Nations Habitat III conference held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. The series launch in Paris is supported by the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme under the Global Cities chair, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal and the City of Paris. The authors of the papers – Ricky Burdett, Saskia Sassen and Richard Sennett – will be joined by Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Urban Planning, Architecture, Grand Paris projects, Economic Development and Attractiveness. More information about the Paris event, and future events in London, Beijing and New York can be found here and here.
On December 1, LSE Cities and Urban Age Director Ricky Burdett presented a guest lecture at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health as part of Baroness Tessa Jowell’s course Health Policy and Leadership: Why Do We Know So Much and Do So Little? The lecture, which drew on a variety of case study cities from across the world, focused on the links between health, urban design and transport, while drawing on LSE Cities’ contribution to the recent Lancet series on urban health.