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Speakers and programme announcement | Urban Age ‘Shaping Cities’ conference

Urban Age ‘Shaping Cities’ Conference
14-15 July 2016
La Biennale di Venezia

Over 40 speakers from 25 cities in Asia, Africa, Europe, South and North America will gather in Venice at our next Urban Age conference to debate one of the most pressing problems of the 21st century: How are cities shaped? By whom and for whom?  How are the conflicts of our increasingly urban age – inequality, climate change, urban growth and expansion, informality, democratic representation and urban stewardship – experienced and lived by the majority of urban dwellers? And, what can we do to make cities more tolerant, adaptable and sustainable?

Mayors and urban leaders of Barcelona (Spain), Bogotá (Colombia), Kampala (Uganda), Venice (Italy), Paris (France) and Safed (Israel) will debate these questions with the key players in international and national organisations including the United Nations, UN Habitat, the Cities Alliance, India’s National Institute of Urban Affairs and the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Urban decision-makers, researchers and commentators will join leading architects, planners and designers whose creative work and practical ideas feature in the world’s largest and most respected architecture exhibition organised by La Biennale di Venezia.

Pritzker Prize-winning architect Alejandro Aravena, who masterminded the global assemblage of provocative and socially engaging projects from around the world, will talk about social relevance and scales of intervention with Lagos-based Kunlé Adeyemi and Mumbai-based Rahul Mehrotra alongside emerging and established designers working in Delhi, Mexico City, Cape Town, Singapore and a number of European cities.

Sociologists Saskia Sassen and Richard Sennett, ethnographer and anthropologist AbdouMaliq Simone and economist Edward Glaeser will engage with the newly elected grassroots Mayor of Barcelona Ada Colau, the executive director of Kampala Jennifer Musisi and the recently re-elected Mayor of Bogota Enrique Peñalosa on how their cities are coping with radical change, rising inequality, lack of infrastructure and political restructuring.

The two-day Urban Age conference, organised by the London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, is designed to bring the world of cities and city-makers to Venice. With hundreds of projects displayed across the city for the 15th International Architecture Exhibition – La Biennale di Venezia, it provides an ideal context to feed fresh ideas to the United Nations Habitat III conference on Sustainable Cities to be held in Quito in October 2016. To this end, the Director of Habitat III and Under-Secretary of the United Nations Joan Clos will participate and provide closing remarks on what messages to take forward in formulating a New Urban Agenda to help shape the future of the 21st century.

The conference will take place at Teatro alle Tese, Arsenale, La Biennale di Venezia from 14-15 July 2016. The conference is open to visitors who have registered at and ticket-holders of the 15th International Architecture Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia.

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