On 27 November, the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – ‘Reporting From the Front’ – organised by La Biennale di Venezia, chaired by Paolo Baratta and curated by Alejandro Aravena concluded in Venice, Italy. The exhibition, which lasted 6 months and registered 260,000 visitors, featured LSE Cities’ Special Project “Conflicts of an Urban Age”, which explored the trends and implications of the past twenty-five years of global urban growth. It outlined global urban trends from 1990-2015, including comparison of how Los Angeles, Johannesburg, London, Manila, Kolkata, Accra, Madrid, Kinshasa, Singapore, Bogotá, Quito, Dhaka, Kabul, and Hong Kong have grown. A projection of future growth highlighted how accommodating the world’s urban population by 2030 at Los Angeles’ density would cover almost half of the European Union; at Hong Kong’s density, the global urban population would take up less than half of Italy.
Conflicts of an Urban Age also included seven case study cities – Shanghai, Addis Ababa, London, Istanbul, São Paulo, Mexico City, and Mumbai – to provide an in-depth understanding of the major changes that have impacted on equality and access to open space since 1990. Film-based animations provided analytical texture to the case study cities, while comparable statistics and analysis of spatial, social and environmental data provided insight into the consequences of planning decisions on the social and physical fabric of these cities. Two other sections – Solutions from Above and Solutions from Below – contrasted top-down interventions with smaller, community-led initiatives supported by urbanXchanger.
Julia King, a Research Officer at LSE Cities, will be speaking at the Women’s Equality Party Conference 2016 on Saturday, 26 November at Victoria Warehouse, Manchester. She’ll be on a panel entitled ‘Building a man’s world: how WE can shift the balance’, which will include proposals on how to reform infrastructure that is often built with only men in consideration. Julia will also present ‘City, street and citizen: inequality in an urban age’, which includes insights of her experience working as a researcher on LSE Cities’ Super-Diverse Streets research project.
On December 7, Theatrum Mundi will launch the first of four film screenings and panel discussions on the “Quito Papers” in Paris, France. With the support of the Kaifeng Foundation and in partnership with UN Habitat, NYU and LSE Cities, “The Quito Papers: towards an open city” will subsequently feature events in London (31 January 2017), Beijing (25 February 2017), and New York (TBC, April 2017). The series will include the premiere of a film commissioned to document the ideas put forward by the Papers and be followed by panel discussions with, among others, the papers’ authors: Ricky Burdett (LSE Cities), Saskia Sassen (Columbia University), and Richard Sennett (New York University & LSE). The launch in Paris is supported by the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme under the Global Cities chair, the Pavillon de l’Arsenal and the City of Paris, where the papers’ authors will be joined by Jean-Louis Missika, Deputy Mayor of Paris in charge of Urban Planning, Architecture, Grand Paris projects, Economic Development and Attractiveness.
LSE Cities’ Julia King will tonight present at the Central St. Martins campus in King’s Cross, London, as part of the Spatial Practice Autumn Lecture Series. The presentation, Architecture as a process not a thing, takes place at 630pm, and will discuss a variety of questions surrounding housing, sanitation infrastructure, urban planning, and participatory design processes. More information about the presentation and the lecture series is available here.
On December 1, LSE Executive Director Philipp Rode will give a keynote address at the 2016 Cosmobilities Conference in Bad Boll, near Stuttgart, Germany. His presentation, Towards New Urban Mobility: The role of urban form, will draw on LSE Cities’ work on New Urban Mobility in Berlin and London, while addressing the conference theme of “Shared Mobilities: New perspectives for societies on the move.” This will be the 12th Conference of the Cosmobilities Network, and will focus on the social, cultural, spatial, ecological and socio-economic consequences of new sharing concepts.
Professor Richard Sennett gave the keynote address at London’s social integration conference (#LondonIsOpen) on the need for cities to be open. The conference, which took place at London’s City Hall on 14 November, was attended by city leaders and mayors from across Europe who discussed how to build better, more unified communities. It was opened by London’s Mayor, Sadiq Khan.
In October 2016 the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development took place in Quito, Ecuador. The UN Conferences on housing/human settlements (Habitat) occur every 20 years (1976, 1996 and 2016). Habitat III was convened to reinvigorate the global commitment to sustainable urbanisation and to focus on the implementation of a New Urban Agenda for the next 20 years.
The New Urban Agenda is an action-oriented document which sets global standards of achievement in sustainable urban development, rethinking the way we build, manage, and live in cities in coming decades through drawing together cooperation with committed partners, relevant stakeholders, and urban actors at all levels of government as well as the private and third sectors. The ambitious document was adopted by United Nations member states during Habitat III.
LSE Cities and the Urban Age programme provided significant contributions to the official Habitat III programme and the establishment of the New Urban Agenda. This included:
Hosting an official Side Event (150 people) on Conflicts of an Urban Age which looked at whether spatial planning policy can tame urban growth and what the impacts of urban form are, if any, on productivity, the environment and social inclusion.
Organising one of three Urban Talks (2,500 people). ‘Designing the Urban Age’ featured Ricky Burdett, Richard Sennett, Saskia Sassen and Joan Clos. Unlike other events, which had several parallel events, Urban Talks were the only events available in their respective time slot.
An Exhibitionstand of Urban Age and LSE Cities material where, during the course of four days, over 5,000 people engaged with some of the core themes investigated by the Centre.
Participation of LSE Cities staff in events co-ordinated by other organisations.
Numerous meetings and networking opportunities with all levels of government, NGOs, private sector and leading academic institutions across the globe, and an important opportunity to establish strategic contacts in Africa and those involved with shaping Africa’s urban future.
On October 24, CityLab 2016 hosted a talk in Miami by LSE Cities Director Ricky Burdett on the India Smart Cities Challenge. Discussing the growing threat posed by uncontrolled urban sprawl, Professor Burdett outlined global urban trends and the role of innovation in addressing future environmental, social and economic problems. Drawing on the work of LSE Cities and Bloomberg Philanthropies in supporting and studying the Indian government’s Smart Cities Mission, he highlighted examples from a variety of Indian cities speaking to citizen engagement, competition, innovation and local agency. LSE Cities has previously worked with Bloomberg on the European Mayors Challenge.