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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 at LSE and Director of the Urban Age and LSE Cities, a global centre of research and teaching at LSE which received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2016-18. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board and was Director of the Venice International Architecture Biennale and Curator of the Global Cities Exhibition Tate Modern in London. He has previously been a member of the UK Government Airport Commission (2012-2015) and a member of UK Government’s Urban Task Force. In 2014, Burdett was a Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University (2010-2014). Alongside his academic activities, Burdett acts as a consultant to national and city governments, private companies and philanthropic agencies. He was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the 2012 London Olympics and Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism, Mayor of London (2001-2006). He is co-editor of ‘Shaping Cities in an Urban Age’ (2018), ‘The SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century’ (2017), ‘Living in the Endless City’ (2011) and ‘The Endless City’ (2007). Burdett was appointed CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to urban design and planning. Other trusteeships: Norman Foster Foundation.