Cities: Governance, Planning and Design

LSE Cities Executive Education short course

An intensive exploration of how global cities can be governed, planned and designed to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

Applications for the LSE Cities Executive Education course 2019 are now open. Apply here.

Led by senior faculty members of both LSE Cities and LSE London (Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor Tony Travers, Dr Savvas Verdis and Dr Philipp Rode), the course draws on world-class research on the dynamics of growth in major urban centres. It explores long-term development goals of cities in the developed and developing world providing students with an understanding of the key challenges facing both mature and rapidly-developing metropolitan areas.

This five-day course will include classes given by the core teaching group; guest lectures by key members of London’s political, development, transport and housing sectors; and site visits.  Previous site visits have included London’s newest redevelopment area surrounding King’s Cross, and the expanding Canary Wharf development in East London.

This executive course is suitable for:

- Senior executives searching for insights into how cities are governed, planned and designed.

- International governments and intergovernmental organisations working in the field of urban development or sustainable urbanisation.

- Professionals within private sector companies, for example providers of city infrastructure, that are active in global urban markets.

- Individuals looking to understand the implications of rapid urban development on city governance and social inclusion.


Through lectures, seminars, workshops and site visits, the programme looks at how cities around the world are dealing with major urban challenges such as urban inequality, climate change and affordable housing. Through international project and policy case studies, students will gain a greater understanding of how cities are achieving long term sustainable outcomes through better analysis, planning and governance.


How different tiers of government work effectively to bring positive change. The course will look at the functioning of public-private coalitions; different leadership models; the consequences of particular government systems; the challenge of reform; fiscal autonomy and relations with other tiers of government.

Planning & design

How cities plan for long term goals in an integrated way and how does urban form shape social, economic and environmental outcomes. Topics include: city planning, branding and image; making the city liveable; density vs sprawl; tall buildings, skyline and streetscape; metropolitan vs neighbourhood needs; preserving a balance of land uses; heritage vs modernity; the benefits and challenges posed by private developers in driving redevelopment; citizen involvement in planning; justifying quality design against other priorities.


How cities finance and fund long term infrastructure. Topics include: how land use and infrastructure planning are brought together in integrated spatial plans; the development and maintenance of physical infrastructure; planning for rapid population growth; access to private finance; decision-making and climate change; private competition vs public management.


How cities coordinate their transport and development plans and promote compact and connected cities? Topics include: the co-benefits of transportation; dealing with congestion; assessing the appropriate role for private and public transport; planning ahead of population growth; shifting modalities from cars to sustainable transportation; cycling and walking; the use of fees and charges to provide incentives; the challenge of managing freight and deliveries.


How cities control increasing house prices. Topics include: managing land costs; subsidising homes for the poor; attracting and managing foreign buyers; density vs sprawl; matching housing to population growth and transport; regeneration of former industrial land and buildings.

Economic competitiveness

How cities promote inclusive growth? Topics include: competitive advantage of sectors; investment; better deal between the public and private sectors; innovation; the role of new industries; linking skills to jobs; the entrepreneurial city agency; development agencies and their role in economic development.

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