Designing Urban Infrastructure

Investing for now or tomorrow?

An event of the Urban Age Global Debates series hosted by Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and LSE Cities

This event was one of the series of five public Global Debates celebrating ten years of the Urban Age programme. The debates discussed five core themes that have been the focus of research and debate at the Urban Age since 2005. The event series was organised by LSE Cities and Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society, in association with Guardian Cities.

The OECD estimates that around US$ 53 trillion is required for investment in transport, energy efficiency, telecommunications, and water and waste infrastructure over the next 15 years. Yet, as the world rapidly urbanises, investment in urban infrastructure is lagging behind. Lack of vision, loss of nerve, absence of public funds and low levels of interest from investors all exacerbate this. Nonetheless some cities across the globe are demonstrating resilience and capacity for innovation.  While there is a consensus that investment in physical and social infrastructure can increase productivity, facilitate connection and promote social good, there are severe challenges and barriers to investment. Architect Norman Foster, who has been at the forefront of urban change in cities across the world, focused on the role that design can play in tackling social, economic and environmental futures, providing the context for the examination of the broader challenges of using infrastructure to help improve quality of life and the environment in cities in the UK and abroad.

Event materials

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Profiles

  • Norman Foster

    Norman Foster

    Norman Foster founded Foster + Partners in 1967. It is now a worldwide practice, with project offices in more than twenty countries. Over nearly five decades the company has been responsible for a strikingly wide range of work, from urban masterplans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings, offices and workplaces to private houses and product design. Since its inception, the practice has received 685 awards and citations for excellence and has won more than 140 international and national competitions.

  • 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.

  • Andrew Adonis

    Andrew Adonis

    Andrew Adonis is the founding chair of the new National Infrastructure Commission, an independent agency to assess Britain’s future infrastructure requirements. Adonis is a reformer, writer and Labour peer who was Minister for Schools and Transport Secretary under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. He now sits on the crossbenches of the House of Lords to underpin the independence of the commission.

  • Deyan Sudjic

    Deyan Sudjic

    Deyan Sudjic is Director of the Design Museum in London. He was the founding editor of Blueprint magazine (1983-1996), editor of Domus (2000-04) and the architecture critic of the Observer (1998-2006). Before joining the Design Museum in 2006, Sudjic was Dean of the Faculty of Art, Architecture and Design at Kingston University and Visiting Professor at the Royal College of Art. Sudjic has published widely on design and architecture. His most recent book, Shiro Kuramata, was published by Phaidon in June 2013.