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An urbanising world: triumph or tragedy?

Public lecture hosted by LSE Cities

Prof. Herbert Girardet’s public lecture was based on his new book, Creating Regenerative Cities, published by Routledge in October 2014. Is an urbanising world a ‘triumph of the city’, or an environmental tragedy in the making? He argued for a fundamental conceptual shift in the way we organise our urban systems, and for thinking and acting beyond ‘sustainable development’.

In Girardet’s view large modern cities have effectively tried to declare their independence from nature. We tend to see cities as centres of the universe rather than as appendages of ecosystems and climate systems. How can we assure that modern cities develop a regenerative relationship to the living world on whose health they ultimately depend?

Girardet is a prolific author, speaker and consultant. His new book has been described by Huffington Post as one of the world’s three best green books of 2014.


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  • Herbert Girardet

    Professor Herbert Girardet works internationally as a consultant urban ecologist. He is a member of the Club of Rome and honorary member of the World Future Council. The sustainable development strategies for South Australia he developed as inaugural ‘Thinker in Residence’ in Adelaide in 2003 have been largely implemented. He is currently consultant to Bristol, European Green Capital 2015.

    Herbert is a UN Global 500 Award recipient and an honorary fellow of the Royal Institute of British Architects. He is author and co-author of 50 TV documentaries and 13 books, most recently CITIES, PEOPLE, PLANET – Urban Development and Climate Change, Wiley, 2004 and 2008; A RENEWABLE WORLD – Energy, Ecology, Equality, Green Books, 2009; and CREATING REGENERTIVE CITIES, Routledge, October 2014.

  • Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies and Director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. He sits on the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, is a Council Member of the Royal College of Art and Trustee of the Norman Foster Foundation. He was Chief Advisor on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural advisor to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He was Director of the Venice Architecture Biennale in 2006 and curator of the Global Cities exhibition at Tate Modern in 2007. Burdett has been on architectural juries for high-profile projects including Tate Modern, London’s Aquatic Centre, Rothschild Bank Headquarters, Holland Green and Elizabeth House and has worked on major regeneration projects across Europe and the USA, including the 8-million sq ft redevelopment around Penn Station in New York City. He was appointed CBE in the Queen’s 2017 New Year’s Honours List.