Review of 2015 LSE Cities Executive Summer School

10 July 2015

Last week, LSE Cities participated in the LSE Executive Summer School Programme with the course ‘London and Global Cities: Governance, Planning and Design’. Now in its second year, the course once again attracted an incredibly diverse cohort of early-to-mid career professionals from both the public and private sector. Students included the Mayor of a mid-sized town in Kazakhstan, a vice president for a major American philanthropic foundation, a senior consultant to the Government of Dubai, a communications executive from Shell, a Director of Resources for the European Commission, the Head of Urban Planning of the City of Rotterdam, and the Chairperson of a Board for Responsible Tourism in Turkey. In total, we welcomed 18 senior executive and mid-career participants from 15 countries and four continents, providing for a week of lively discussion and exchange.

‘London and Global Cities: Governance, Planning and Design’ is designed to be an intensive five-day exploration and analysis of how London is governed and managed, drawing parallels with other major cities. Participants spent a week understanding the ‘London model’ of governance and urban development that has helped to transform the city over the last 30 years.

Led by Ricky Burdett, Tony Travers, Philipp Rode and Savvas Verdis, the course drew on LSE Cities and LSE London’s research work. It explored the longer-term development of London (in the context of other global cities) so as to provide students with an understanding of the key challenges facing both mature and rapidly-developing metropolitan areas. Key themes included governance, planning and design, infrastructure, transport, housing, inequality and economic competitiveness.

All participants attended classes given by the core teaching group and guest lectures by key members of London’s political, development, transport and housing sectors. Guest speakers this year were Tessa Jowell, Professor of Practice at the LSE; Isabel Dedring, London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport; Greg Clark, City Advisor; Rick Robinson, IT Director at Amey; and Tom Saunders, Senior Researcher at Nesta. In addition, Ricky Burdett led a site visit to King’s Cross which included a presentation by Argent followed by a walking tour of the redevelopment.

The lectures and site visit were complemented by interactive seminars that asked students to work in teams to address key policy challenges such as congestion charging. For the final day of the course, students were briefed on the Royal Docks Redevelopment in East London and again worked in small groups to propose alternative development schemes for the site which they then had the opportunity to present to Dan Bridge, the GLA’s Principal Development Manager for the Royal Docks site.

The course was very well received by the students and will be hosted again next summer.