The Cities Programme is an international centre dedicated to the understanding of contemporary urban society. Its central objective is to relate physical structure to the social structure of cities.
The programme is the graduate education branch of LSE Cities, which is hosted by the Department of Sociology, and offers degree courses at MSc and PhD level.
Cities Programme students and staff celebrate the launch of Infrastructural Urbanism, image courtesy of Catarina Heeckt.
Our latest Studio publication was launched on 7 June with the traditional party for our students, staff, alumni and guests - only this time held at Coopers restaurant instead of the New Academic Building. This year the City Design Research Studio focused on diverse forms of infrastructure in the city – social and community infrastructures, roads and rail, green and open space, waterways. We explored how spatial and social forms are transformed through infrastructural interventions. Approaching infrastructure as urbanism allowed us to explore crucial questions for understanding and intervening in today’s contested, unequal cities. To what degree are infrastructural systems ‘neutral’? How are they economised as sites of investment? How do built infrastructures relate to social practices? How can small-scale interventions centred upon infrastructures speak to larger-scale urban challenges? What political projects are encapsulated within urban infrastructures? Infrastructural Urbanism was edited by MSc City Design student Megan Groth, and is now available to read from this page: Cities Studio publications.
MSc international field trip
This year's MSc City Design and Social Science students visited Belgrade, Serbia from 15 - 20 February 2016 for the annual field trip, accompanied by Dr David Madden and Dr Gunter Gassner. Images from the trip (right) courtesy of Darren Gill, Caroline Freisfeld and Megan Groth. See more on the Belgrade webpage.
Miscellaneous City: chaos and coherence in Beirut, an essay by Ankit Bhardwaj and Melissa Chin based on their field trip to Beirut in 2015, can be read as a PDF here: Miscellaneous City.
MSc City Design and Social Science
Please note if you are considering joining the programme: applications are now closed for entry in 2016 and will re-open in October for 2017. Please follow the links on the contents panel left for more information about the programme, and see LSE's Graduate pages for more about the application procedure.
In Defence of Housing: forthcoming book
Dr David Madden and Peter Marcuse on the housing crisis occuring now in every major city in the world. How did this happen and what can we do about it? Everyone needs and deserves housing. But today our homes are being transformed into commodities, making the inequalities of the city ever more acute. In Defense of Housing: The politics of crisis will be published in August (ebook available now) by Verso Books.
Suzi Hall and 'Super-diverse streets'
The ‘Super-diverse streets’ project is an ESRC-funded research exploration of the intersections between city streets, social diversity and economic adaptations in the context of accelerated migration, led by Dr Suzanne Hall (Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Senior Research Associate, LSE Cities). It is a comparative analysis of ‘super-diverse’ high streets that aims to explore how urban retail economies and spaces are shaped by and shape migrant practices. Read more about the project on the LSE Cities webpage: Super-diverse Streets.
Divided Cities: urban inequalities in the 21st century
The twenty-first century has been declared ‘the century of the city’, but we need to ask what kinds of cities are emerging as increasing urbanisation goes together with worsening inequality. Why does urban inequality matter, and what is distinctive about urban inequalities now? Professor Fran Tonkiss, Director of the Cities Programme, gave a public lecture on these questions on 6 May 2015 at LSE.
Image right of Sao Paolo courtesy of Tuca Viera.
Listen to/watch the event podcast and video.
David Madden: The politics of urban knowledge
Dr David Madden published an essay in the journal CITY (Volume 19, Issue 2-3, 2015 entitled "There is a politics of urban knowledge because urban knowledge is political: A rejoinder to ‘Debating urban studies in 23 steps’". Read the article.
Cities Programme alumni
To find out about Cities alumni and some of their current occupations follow the Cities alumni and careers link under Contents. If you are a former student on the MSc or PhD programme and would like to be added to the list or update your details please contact us.
Cities by Design: The social life of urban form
Who makes our cities, and what part do everyday users have in their design? This book by Cities Programme director Professor Fran Tonkiss (Polity 2013) shows that city-making is a social process, and examines the close relationship between the social and physical shaping of urban environments. For more details see publisher's webpage.
The second volume of the Cities PhD researchers' publication citiesLAB is available to read from our PhD page, or go straight to citiesLAB 2: The politics of design
City, Street and Citizen
On 12 June 2012 Dr Suzanne Hall discussed her book City Street and Citizen: The Measure of the Ordinary (Routledge) with Caroline Knowles, Professor of Sociology and Head of the Centre for Urban and Community Research, Goldsmiths. This event was co-hosted by LSE Cities and the Sociology Forum. Listen to City Street and Citizen podcast.
In the media
Are we living in an urban vortex?
Read an interview (1 of 2) with Dr Suzi Hall for the Researching Sociology@LSE blog, in which she talks about UK cities and immigration post-2008: Are We LIving In An Urban Vortex?
City Debates 2015: Fran Tonkiss and Peter Marcuse
In March 2015 Professor Fran Tonkiss took part in the international conference on ‘Other gentrifications’ at the American University Beirut, the 2015 edition of the AUB’s City Debates annual conference series, and bringing academics, students and practitioners from Lebanon and the MENA region together with colleagues from Europe, North and South America. Fran took part in the closing conversation with Peter Marcuse, Professor Emeritus of Urban Planning at Columbia University, New York City. Watch the video (YouTube).
Ridding design of its saviour complex
Professor Fran Tonkiss published a piece in Issue #5 of cityscapes, (African Centre for Cities in conjunction with Tau Tavengwa): 'Cities are among the clearest of cases that design is never simply a technical process, and is not confined to those with the right credentials or the latest software.' Read the article.
Suzi Hall on the 'super-diverse street'
Dr Suzanne Hall’s lecture on super-diversity and ethnography, "Super-diverse street: a ‘trans-ethnography’ across migrant localities", given at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen on 19 June 2014, is available to watch online.
From Austerity to Audacity
Read an interview with Professor Fran Tonkiss on 'Austerity to Audacity: On the emerging urbanism of small acts' in Issue 20 of the German digital magazine on architecture and urbanism uncube.
Urban@LSE is an internal coordinating body for all urban teaching and research at LSE and an informal network of staff and postgraduate students. The website is a portal where information about the departments, research centres and projects, and teaching programmes involved can be found in one place, with links to all of them.