Over 60 speakers from 26 cities in Africa, Asia, Europe, South and North America will gather in Addis Ababa, using Ethiopia’s urban transformation as a platform to debate one of the most pressing problems of the 21st century: how to develop urban futures in rapidly urbanising countries that are inclusive, productive and sustainable? The conference will raise questions about the economic foundations of urban change and investigate how current models of planning and governance can achieve greater integration between productivity, accessibility and social justice.
Mayors and urban leaders of Addis Ababa (Ethiopia), Kampala (Uganda), Lagos (Nigeria), Medellín (Colombia), and Paris (France) will debate these questions with the key players in international and national organisations including the United Nations’ Economic Commission for Africa and Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Bank, the African Development Bank, United Cities and Local Governments, the Cities Alliance, GIZ, the World Resources Institute, Uber, McKinsey & Company and India’s National Institute of Urban Affairs. Urban decision-makers, researchers and commentators will join leading entrepreneurs, architects, planners and designers to explore how different urban models and infrastructures are impacting on urban and rural lives.
The two-day Urban Age conference explores the interrelationships between urban form and urban society. Jointly organised by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, it is considered the most authoritative interdisciplinary conference on global urbanism, bringing together presidents, prime ministers, governors, mayors, designers, planners, academics and activists. This is the 17th Urban Age conferences. Held since 2005, over 6,500 speakers and participants have met to understand the dynamics of cities as diverse as London, New York City, Shanghai, Istanbul, Delhi, Mexico City, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and Johannesburg.
Jantirar Abay, Minister for Urban Development and Housing, Government of Ethiopia and Takele Uma Banti, Mayor of Addis Ababa, will provide key insights into the country’s urban transformation. Babatunde Fashola, Minister for Power, Housing and Works, Nigeria, Jean Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris, Jennifer Musisi, Executive Director, Kampala Capital City Authority, Mohammed Adjei Sowah, Mayor, City of Accra, and Mpho Parks Tau, President, United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG) and former Mayor of Johannesburg, alongside Ulrich Hoerning, Deputy Mayor, City of Leipzig and Erion Veliaj, Mayor of Tirana, Albania, who will broaden the discussion to other contexts of urban change.
Vera Songwe, Executive Secretary, United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Alcinda Honwana, Inter-Regional Adviser on Social Development Policy, UN DESA, Geci Karuri-Sebina, Associate, South African Cities Network, Johannesburg, Somik Lall, Lead Urban Economist, World Bank and Saskia Sassen, Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, NYC will outline the unique challenges African cities face, impacted by local needs and global demands.
Edgar Pieterse, Director, African Centre for Cities, University of Cape Town, Fasil Giorghis, EiABC, Addis Ababa University, Addis Ababa, and other leading academics like Rahul Mehrotra, Professor of Urban Design and Planning, Harvard University, Cambridge and Gautam Bham, Indian Institute for Human Settlements, Delhi will ground the discussion, reflecting on the unique urban dynamics in rapidly growing cities.
The Urban Age “Developing Urban Futures” conference (November 29-30) will act as a platform for debate on the development trajectories of key sub-Saharan African cities, including Addis Ababa, Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, Accra, Cairo, Dar es Salaam and Cape Town alongside corresponding cases from the Indian subcontinent, Southeast Asia, South America, Europe and North Africa. It is organised around eight distinct sessions:
–Core challenges for African cities: What are trends driving urban growth and core challenges confronting city leaders, investors and civic institutions in Africa?
–Urban growth, productivity and innovation: How can better urban design and management help Africa’s continued urbanisation become a catalyst for productivity growth, rather than an extension of rural poverty?
–Planning fundamentals: What is the relevance of Latin American social urbanism, European urban retrofitting and Southeast Asia’s development state models in shaping the new urban realities of Africa cities?
–Delivering housing for all: What lessons can be drawn from national housing programmes in terms of funding, planning and participatory design for Africa cities rushing to deliver much-needed shelter?
–Transport transitions and technology: How can new policy measures and investments ensure that the smart mobility transition is aligned with broader strategic goals of urban development?
–Ethiopia’s urban transformation: How will the wholescale transformation of nation’s and city’s physical footprint balance the competing demands of modernisation with social inclusion and environmental responsibility?
–Financing urban futures: How will governments mobilise international and domestic resources to fund expenditure, increase tax-collecting powers and boost revenues?
–The inclusive city: Whose voice is being heard in the debate about the future city, how the physical fabric is being designed to promote social inclusion and environmental responsibility, and what institutions are in place to ensure that African cities are democratic, accountable, equitable and open?
One in three African nations will be represented at the conference, and Urban Age travel bursaries have been provided to participants from Khartoum (Sudan), Lusaka (Zambia), Lagos (Nigeria), Dar es Salaam (Tanzania), Nairobi (Kenya), Kampala (Uganda), Accra (Ghana) and Arba Minch (Ethiopia) to support broader accessibility. The conference will be livestreamed and is open to visitors who have registered at: https://urbanage.lsecities.net/conferences/developing-urban-futures-addis-ababa-2018
To coincide with Developing Urban Futures conference an Urban Age newspaper will be published with new research and contributions from keynote speakers and international urban experts. The conference is organised by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and in partnership with the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa; the Ministry of Urban Development and Housing, Ethiopia; the City Government of Addis Ababa; EiABC, University of Addis Ababa; the Forum for Social Studies, Addis Ababa; and the Ethiopian Civil Service University.