• Urban Age Conferences

    Shaping the future of global cities

What are Urban Age Debates?

The COVID-19 pandemic has fundamentally challenged the nature of cities. The closure of borders and businesses and social distancing are having an impact in almost all cities worldwide and are threatening urban life as we know it. A reassessment of issues such as density, urban economy, mobility, governance and sustainability could be the result. Urban Age is now taking up these issues with the "Urban Age Debates", a series of five virtual events between 2021 and 2022 – a global investigation of urban futures after 2020.

Why Urban Age Debates?

Today, metropolises around the world are facing the challenges of a triple crisis - the corona pandemic, new demands for social justice, and the global climate crisis. In the urban context, too, the corona pandemic is acting as a catalyst for digitization and sustainability in particular. Issues such as working from home or shopping behavior, but also changing mobility, are having an impact on the social fabric of the urban population. The expert panels of the Urban Age Debates provide impulses for thinking and acting for a future of cities which benefits its inhabitants.

How do Urban Age Debates work?

The series of live virtual events will focus on what could and should happen in relation to five defining themes that have emerged as central for cities in the 2020s. Each debate is complemented by short videos featuring key urban actors, new data on city dynamics and surveys on how we may live, work, play and move in the post-2020 city.

The Urban Age Debates:

19th January 2021
Socialising Remote Work
Will changing patterns in knowledge work reduce or amplify the human need to meet in cities?

27th April 2021
Humanising the City
Can the design of domestic and urban space promote cohesion and healthier lifestyles? 

20th May 2021
Localising Transport
Towards the 15-minute city or the one-hour metropolis?

13th October 2021
Changing Cultures
How are cultural institutions reframing the relationship between the museum, the community and the city?

26th January 2022
Rationalising Shopping
Are new patterns of consumption an opportunity for reinventing urbanity?

These include leading urbanist, author and academic Richard Florida, award-winning architect Elizabeth Diller, urban researcher Edward Glaeser, artificial intelligence strategist Ayesha Khanna, and other leading architects, planners and urban experts from Asian, Latin American and African cities.

Updates, more details, and information on how to participate can be found on our social media or on this website under activities.

If you have any questions about the project, please contact Elisabeth Mansfeld.

What is the Urban Age Conference?

Continuing population growth and urbanisation will add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population by 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. The Urban Age Conferences, jointly organized by LSE Cities and Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, focus on the development of cities in rapidly urbanising countries. Since 2005, Urban Age Conferences have been held in 13 cities across four continents, most recently in Addis Ababa, Delhi, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro, London and at the Venice Biennale.

Why Urban Age Conference?

The aim of the Urban Age Conferences is to better understand the complex dynamics of contemporary urbanization: How do people, institutions, policymakers, investors and designers affect the physical form of cities? How do cities react to global trends like climate change and digitalization and how do cities adapt to that change? And how does that impact the way we live in them? How can cities meet the expectations that new urban dwellers place on them, and provide work, education, and other possibilities of a better life? The Urban Age Conference considers the fact that decisions that need to be taken now will affect generations of urban dwellers well into the 21st century.

How does the Urban Age Conference work?

By convening urban experts, policymakers, and practitioners from all over the world, the Urban Age Conferences investigate how current models of planning and governance succeed, raise questions about the economic foundations of urban change or how to achieve greater integration between efficiency, accessibility, and social justice. Discussions are structured around interlinked policy issues: well-being, housing and social inclusion; economic development, productivity, and urban form; urban accessibility, transport, and technology; and urban governance and infrastructure development.

More information about the Urban Age Conferences is available on the Urban Age website please contact Elisabeth Mansfeld, head of Cities programme.