Developing Urban Futures

Public lecture hosted by LSE Cities and LSE Festival: New World (Dis)Orders

Following on from the Developing Urban Futures Urban Age Conference orgainised by LSE Cities in Addis Ababa in November 2018, this event explored urban dynamics in rapidly changing Sub-Saharan African cities, and discussed how current models of planning and governance succeed or fail, addressing specific urban conditions on the ground.

Continuing population growth and urbanisation will add 2.5 billion more people to the world’s cities by 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. Today, around 40 per cent of Africans are urban dwellers, about 500 million people. In the next few decades this number will swell to over 1.4 billion. Ethiopia is moving at great pace from a predominantly rural economy to an urban one, with Addis Ababa growing at an annual rate of about 4% —twice the rate of Beijing or Jakarta.

Estimates suggest that two-thirds of the investments in urban infrastructure to 2050 have yet to be made and decisions taken now will affect generations of city dwellers well into the 21st century.

The event drew on recent comparative research by the Urban Age Programme across Sub-Saharan African cities including Addis Ababa, Lagos, Kampala and LSE Cities’ research on the governance of transport and sanitation infrastructure in the Ethiopian cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. Understanding the boundaries between infrastructure systems tends to be neglected in urban research. Yet it is here, at these infrastructure interfaces, where many critical questions for cities arise: who governs, who decides, who funds, who connects?

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    Jo Beall

    Professor Jo Beall is a Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE and has conducted research in Africa and Asia on urban development and governance as well as cities in situations of conflict and state fragility. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Open University. She has written numerous books and articles on a wide range of topics.

    Ricky Burdett

    Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the London School of Economics (LSE), and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age project. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, and 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 International Architecture Exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 2006. With Deyan Sudjic he is co-editor of The Endless City (2007) and Living in the Endless City (2011) and, with Philipp Rode Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (2018).

    Alcinda Honwana

    Alcinda Honwana is a Centennial Professor at LSE based in the Firoz Lalji centre for Africa and the Department of International Development. She is also a Visiting Professor of Anthropology and International Development at the Open University, where she held a Chair in International Development and has been an Inter-regional Adviser on social development policy at the United Nations. Honwana developed extensive research on youth transitions, social movements and youth politics in Africa. Her latest books: Youth and Revolution in Tunisia (2013) and The Time of Youth: Work, Social Change and Politics in Africa (2012).

    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).

    Sue Parnell

    Susan Parnell is the Global Challenges Chair, University of Bristol & Emeritus Professor, University of Cape Town. She has been actively involved in local, national and global urban policy debates around the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal and is an active advocate for better science policy engagement on cities. She co-founded the African Centre for Cities and held previous academic positions at Wits University and the School of Oriental and African Studies as well as visiting research fellowships from Oxford, Durham and the British Academy. She was a Leverhulme Visiting Professor at UCL and Emeka Anyaoku  and visiting Chair, University of London. Recent books include Building a Capable State: Post Apartheid Service Delivery (Zed, 2017) and The Urban Planet (Cambridge, 2017).