The fourth and final event in the foresight seminar series run by LSE Cities as part of the New Urban Governance programme supported by the MacArthur Foundation took place in Madrid on the 4th of July 2016. This seminar entitled “Urban Pollution and Health Effects: What Can Cities Do?” was organised by LSE Cities in collaboration with Nerea Calvillo and hosted by ETSAM. In these seminars we sought to discuss the notion that ever more complex and interrelated urban challenges as well as technological change will require city institutions to adapt. A particular focus of the series is on the role of big data and real-time information which in many cities have already led to the establishment of new urban governance processes and structures. The final foresight seminar explored which innovations may assist Madrid and other cities in facing current environmental and health challenges. The participants also engaged in a more general debate on the policies that may alleviate pollution in cities and what are or should be the roles of local governments, citizens, as well as private and third sector actors in facing the problem and shaping these policies. Welcome notes were given by Juan Elvira Peña, Associate Professor at ETSAM, Michael McQuarrie, Associate Professor at LSE Sociology, and Nerea Calvillo, Assistant Professor at the University of Warwick.
The event was divided into two separate sessions with two presentations each. The first session, on sensing and monitoring the urban environment was chaired by Nuno Ferreira da Cruz and included presentations by Julio Lumbreras, Associate Professor at Technical University of Madrid, and Nerea Calvillo (who co-organised the seminar), followed by a discussion from the audience. The second session, chaired by Michael McQuarrie on the need for effective urban governance in facing health and environmental challenges, was delivered by Juan Barcena, Responsible for Air Quality at Ecologistas en Acción, as well as Rebeca Ramis, Researcher at Carlos III Health Institute, followed by another round of discussions.