Category Archives: LSE Cities

‘Governing Infrastructure Interfaces’ project heads to Addis Ababa University

16 October 2019

Nuno F. da Cruz, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow at LSE Cities, gave a lecture titled “The Governance of Strategic Planning and Infrastructure” to Addis Ababa University students at the Emerging City Lab in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on Wednesday, 16 October 2019.

The lecture explored the bearing that governance has on strategic spatial development and the rollout of key infrastructure projects. It included findings from two Addis Ababa case studies gathered through the LSE Cities Governing Infrastructure Interfaces project, which focuses on transport and sanitation infrastructure in Ethiopia’s two largest cities to investigate the relationship between development goals and the contribution made by new infrastructure.

The Emerging City Lab is hosted by the Ethiopian Institute of Architecture, Building Construction and City Development (EiABC) at Addis Ababa University. da Cruz will be sharing the project’s results with Ph.D. and Masters students from the university’s urban and regional planning, urban design, and housing and development programmes.

Click here for more information on the ‘Governing Infrastructure Interfaces’ project.

Climate Emergency and Cities: An urban-led mobilisation?

14 October 2019

LSE Cities has published a new discussion paper titled ‘Climate Emergency and Cities: An urban-led mobilisation?’ by LSE Cities’ executive director and associate professorial research fellow, Philipp Rode, which unpacks the Climate Decade’s priorities for urban climate action, policy and research.

In the past 12 months, we have seen an acceleration in climate policy debates, consciousness and activism that had long seemed unimaginable. Some might argue that this new momentum is “beyond politics” – that is open for debate. What is undisputable is that over the past year, particularly since the release of the 2018 IPCC report, the global climate policy community has been confronted with a powerful new narrative, put forth by an increasingly vocal and effective global “climate emergency” movement. A new generation alarmed by the climate impacts already before us has found its voice, eclipsing long-used arguments for sustainable development and future generations.

This discussion paper unpacks the climate emergency movement from the perspective of cities, examining what has changed over the last year, what the climate emergency framing adds to the well-established climate action narrative, and how cities and local governments fit into the climate emergency agenda. It concludes with priorities for policy-oriented research on climate and cities.

Click here to read the full paper

Catarina Heeckt to moderate session at C40 World Mayors Summit in Copenhagen

9 October 2019

LSE Cities Policy Fellow Catarina Heeckt will be one of the participants at the C40 World Mayors Summit taking place from 9-12 October in Copenhagen.

This year’s landmark event, operating under the theme ‘The Future We Want‘, will highlight bold climate solutions in Copenhagen and abroad. More than 70 mayors will convene for the event, as well as business leaders, scientists, investors, and youth activists. Keynote speakers include former New York City mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Heeckt will be moderating a session entitled “How do we solve city climate challenges through collaborative innovation?” as part of the Cities & Business Forum on Thursday, 10 October. The forum will explore how leading cities and businesses are taking responsibility in the climate crisis by stepping up their ambition, accelerating action by shifting markets towards the most effective solutions, and exploring new and innovative ways of partnering to create the future we want. The event, co-organised by the C40 City Solutions Platform & Access Cities, will explore different models for the innovative city – business collaboration and how city climate action can be accelerated through effective partnership models. During the session, officials from Tel Aviv-Yafo Municipality and the City of Singapore will reflect on their experiences collaborating with businesses to solve pressing sustainability challenges, followed by a panel discussion with representatives from the private sector.

The C40 Mayors Summit will also hold several events showcasing how cities worldwide are building a sustainable, healthier, resilient and more inclusive future through city leadership, affordable housing, tackling air pollution, sustainable food systems, and other solutions.

C40 Cities, a network of 94 of the world’s leading cities representing more than 700 million citizens and a quarter of the global economy, brings together mayors and other city leaders who are committed to ambitious climate action. The C40 Mayors Summit takes place every three years.

Making Addis Ababa greener, more connected, and more equitable

7 October 2019

The Addis Ababa Urban Age Task Force has been launched to support the Ethiopian capital advance its strategic urban development agenda. Addis Ababa, a city of about 3.4 million people set to grow by another million in the next decade, is planning to manage a period of intense urban change sustainably. The Addis Ababa Urban Age Task Force will serve as a support system for the Addis Ababa City Government through advisory activities and capacity building. It will also identify strategic pilot projects to address complex urban challenges around the themes of housing and urban densification, accessibility and streets, and green and blue infrastructure.

The Task Force, made up of 22 core and ex-officio members, is a partnership between the Addis Ababa City Plan and Development Commission (AACPDC), LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science, the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

For more information, visit the Addis Ababa Urban Task Force website.

Transforming Peripheries: Philipp Rode to speak at first Urban Land Conference

25 September 2019

Philipp Rode, Executive Director of LSE Cities, will be speaking at the very first Urban Land Conference on 26 September in Ulm, Germany.

While much has been said about traditional European urban cores, the peripheral suburbs and small to medium-sized cities that are home to millions of people remain underexplored. The Transforming Cities conference, organised by the Institute for Architecture and Urbanism at the Biberach University of Applied Sciences, will bring together
policymakers, urban planners, business leaders, academics and community groups to investigate various ways to shape the future of the urban periphery’s dynamic, yet fragmented, landscape.

Rode will join Suzanne Potjer (Project Lead at Urban Futures Studio, Utrecht) for the CONNECTED + BALANCED session, focussing on systematic experimentation and drivers for real innovation. Other sessions will include discussions on new governance, sustainability, and challenging inherited conceptions of the urban.

More information on the Urban Land Conference can be found here.

Coalition for Urban Transitions launches new report ahead of UN Climate Action Summit

24 September 2019

Just ahead of the UN Climate Action Summit, a new report titled Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity was launched by the Coalition for Urban Transitions. This report, a collaborative effort of more than 50 organisations that includes LSE Cities, outlines the immense social and economic benefits of creating compact, connected and clean cities with net-zero emissions, and presents a clear six-part action plan for national governments around the world.

The  Deputy Secretary-General of the United Nations, Amina Mohammed, accepts the ‘Climate Emergency, Urban Opportunity’ Report from Lord Nicholas Stern, Christiana Figueres, Ani Dasgupta and Mark Watts at the UN Climate Action Summit in New York.

The report clearly illustrates the imperative for national governments to support the development of clean, connected, and compact cities to drive economic prosperity and address the global climate emergency. The report shows that cutting 90% of emissions in cities is possible using proven technologies and would generate returns worth almost US$24 trillion by 2050 based on direct cost savings alone. But that city governments cannot drive a zero-carbon transition without the cooperation and support of national governments. Inclusive, zero-carbon cities must therefore be at the heart of countries’ long-term economic & social development planning. The main message of the report is that thriving cities make prosperous countries, and national governments must embrace this transition or risk being left behind.

LSE Cities has been a member of the Coalition for Urban Transitions since its inception, co-leading the workstream on national policy frameworks together with the OECD.

Learn more about our research and the work of the Coalition in the new report.

UrbanNext features Ricky Burdett and Philipp Rode in new video.

4 September 2019

In a new video produced by UrbanNext, Ricky Burdett, Urban Age and LSE Cities Director, and Philipp Rode, LSE Cities Executive Director discuss findings from LSE Cities’ recent book Shaping Cities in an Urban Age.

“One of the reasons why we have an accelerated conversation around global urbanisation goes back to a rather artificial shift, which some people argue happened in 2007, others 2008, which is the famous, 50 per cent to urban. By which I mean, more than 50 per cent of the world’s population living in urban areas.” – Philipp Rode

Interviews and film are by Ian Garrick Mason from UrbanNext.

LSE Cities publishes new paper in the Journal of the British Academy

18 August 2019

LSE Cities has published a new paper titled “Understanding infrastructure interfaces: common ground for interdisciplinary urban research?”. This article was written by Jo Beall, Zegeye Cherenet, Liza Cirolia, Nuno da Cruz, Susan Parnell, and Philipp Rode as part of the Governing Infrastructure Interfaces research project. It is featured in the newest issue of the Journal of the British Academy, edited by Caroline Knowles under the theme Cities and Infrastructure in the Global South.

Click here to read the full paper.

From the abstract, “Urban development is a complex, multidimensional process that no single discipline can understand, explain or address adequately. In the case of infrastructure, different disciplines address specific issues—technical problems, social dynamics, political power—yet in reality these often intersect. This article documents the experience of analysing the governance of infrastructure interfaces through a multidisciplinary case study of transport and sanitation in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Executive MSc in Cities Graduate: Ciarán Cuffe’s Story

12 August 2019

Written by Ciarán Cuffe, who graduated from the LSE Cities Executive MSc in Cities in 2019 and is the Green Party Member of the European Parliament for Dublin.

What a trip it has been! It has been a whirlwind since I kicked off on the Executive MSc in Cities at the LSE two years ago. I realised at some point that I’m one of those ‘boutique career’ people. I’m trained as an urban planner and architect, but I’ve spent a lot of my life in elected office as a city councillor in my home city of Dublin, Ireland and served two terms in the Irish Parliament. In one of those stints I was a Minister of State with responsibility for climate action as well as sustainable transport and travel. In more recent years I lectured at the Technical University of Dublin and set up an MSc Programme in Urban Regeneration.

However, in 2017 I wanted to broaden my knowledge, and find out more about global cities. I had been to China, teaching at the Gengdan Institute in Beijing and was fascinated by the dizzy growth of Asian cities in recent years. Undertaking an Executive MSc at the LSE seemed like the right choice to improve my understanding of contemporary urban issues. The Programme consisted of five intensive weeks on campus and plenty of reading and assignments in between sessions. Each week consisted of lectures from the core staff as well as guest lectures and workshops. Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies at the LSE and Course Director gave us wonderful presentations of contemporary cities around the world, while Philipp Rode introduced us to ways in which the green economy is reshaping cities. Professor Saskia Sassen explored the seismic shifts that globalisation brings to cities, and Suzanne Hall introduced us to the issues of global migration and urban marginalisation. Lecturers such as Henk Ovink the Netherlands ‘Water Ambassador’ showed us how Hurricane Sandy is reshaping the New York region, and the Mayor of Bogota Enrique Penalosa discussed issues of development in the Global South.

My fellow students on the Programme came from five continents to participate, and brought unique insights from their own cities such as Sydney, Oakland and Johannesburg. They brought different skills with them; property development and urban management; innovation expertise and urban design. Most of them were mid-career, and brought a wealth of life experience to the table. Debates were often heated as we worked together on group projects that tackled climate adaptation and infrastructure finance. Ultimately the course took me out of my comfort zone and pushed me to think differently about how urban regions develop and change.

Graduate Class 2017-19

For my final project I explored how my own city could decarbonise the transport sector. This tied into my role as chair of the City of Dublin’s Transport Committee, and involved interviewing senior experts in mobility and planning. Shortly after I submitted my consultancy report I kicked off my campaign for election as a Member of the European Parliament for Dublin. I ran on a platform of tackling climate change through focusing on transport and housing investment. I was elected in late May, and since July I have been a member of the Transport and Energy Committees of the European Parliament. I’m already applying some of the lessons learnt from the Programme in my work, and look forward to bringing my new qualification to bear on the urban challenges that the European Union faces in the years ahead.