Cities, Fragility and Conflict in an Uncertain World

Expert seminar hosted by LSE Cities

In an age of increasing connectivity and globalisation, global politics interplay with urban politics to produce manifold uncertainties. Cities become sites where local and international investors, governments, business corporations, non-government organisations and civil society interact to ameliorate uncertainties relating problems of economic shocks, rapid migration, infrastructural collapse, and environmental destruction. At the same time, ill-conceived economic policies and development initiatives continue to undermine state power and increase political uncertainties and civic conflict.

In this LSE Cities seminar Dr Aisa Kirabo Kacyira, Deputy Executive Director of UN-Habitat and former mayor of Kigali shares reflections on a new global program on cities in fragile and conflict-affected states. Drawing on her experiences in Kigali and the growing UN-Habitat program Dr Kirabo Kacyira will provide an overview of mechanisms for developing political momentum across cities and in generating detailed understandings of conflicts and post-conflict situations that place urban authorities at the centre of navigating fragility and conflict in an uncertain world.

By showing how urban local governments can play a central role in driving forward peace-building and state-building in such complex situations the seminar will seek to address a number of questions about the role of cities in conflict resolution and post-conflict reconstruction that offer important reflections for policymakers, practitioners and scholars.


Picture credit:  Flickr, (c) US Army Africa


    Aisa Kirabo Kacyira

    Dr. Aisa Kirabo Kacyira of the Republic of Rwanda is the Deputy Executive Director and Assistant Secretary-General for UN-HABITAT. In this role, she has been providing critical leadership to promote sustainable cities and human settlements globally engaging widely with governmental and non-governmental actors.

    Before joining UN-Habitat at the end of 2011, Dr. Kirabo was the Governor of Eastern Province, the largest province in Rwanda with a population of 2.5 million.

    Previously, she was Mayor of Kigali (2006 - 2011), one of the fastest urbanizing cities in the world. Under Dr. Kirabo’s leadership, Kigali won the UN-HABITAT Scroll of Honour Award in 2008 in recognition of high level of cleanliness, greenness, safety and the sustainable, affordable housing initiatives combined with pro-poor urban employment opportunities.

    James Putzel

    Professor James Putzel is Director of LSE's Crisis States Research Centre, and Professor of Development Studies in the LSE's Department of International Development.

    Austin Zeiderman

    Austin Zeiderman is an interdisciplinary scholar who specializes in the cultural and political dimensions of cities, with a specific focus on Latin America. He holds a PhD in Anthropology from Stanford University as well as a Master of Environmental Science degree from Yale University. His book, Endangered City: The Politics of Security and Risk in Bogotá (2016, Duke UP), focuses on how security and risk shape the relationship between citizens and the state in the self-built settlements of the urban periphery. Austin is also beginning a new research project on urban, environmental, and infrastructural transformations motivated by the promise of a post-conflict future in Colombia.

    Philipp Rode

    Philipp Rode is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. As researcher, consultant and advisor he has been directing interdisciplinary projects comprising urban governance, transport, city planning and urban design at the LSE since 2003. The focus of his current work is on institutional structures and governance capacities of cities, and on sustainable urban development, transport and mobility. Rode is co-directing the cities workstream of the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate and has co-led the United Nations Habitat III Policy Unit on Urban Governance. He is a Member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).