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.
Find out what our students, staff (including David Madden pictured right) and growing family of alumni have been up to in our latest online newsletter, see contents panel left or go straight to: Cities News Issue 19.
New Year's Honour for Ricky Burdett
Ricky Burdett, Director of LSE Cities and Urban Age and Professor of Urban Studies at LSE, has been awarded a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) as part of the New Year’s Honours List for 2017. The Honours List recognises people who have made achievements in public life and committed themselves to serving and helping Britain. Professor Burdett’s CBE is for services to urban planning and design.
MSc City Design and Social Science 2016-17
This year the focus of the City Design Research Studio, which is at the heart of the MSc programme, is the huge Thamesmead development bordering the Thames in the south-east of London. Thamesmead falls between the London Boroughs of Greenwich and Bexley and is home to 40,000 people. It emerged in the late 1960s as part of a ‘new town’ planning initiative in response to London’s housing shortage. To complement this exploration of a London site the students will visit Naples from 13-17 February 2017. For more on previous international field trips see below.
To apply for entry in 2017 please follow the links on the contents panel above left for more information about the programme, and see LSE's Graduate Admissions pages for more about the application procedure.
Thinking of doing a PhD with us? Take a look at our PhD pages and read these guidelines to find out more about what we offer and the research areas we are interested in: Urban Sociology Cluster PhD Outline (PDF).
New Director for Cities Programme
We are delighted to announce that Dr Suzanne Hall, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Senior Research Associate, LSE Cities, is now Director of the Cities Programme (image left courtesy of Catarina Heeckt).
Suzi is an urban ethnographer who practised as an architect in South Africa. She studied for her PhD in the Cities Programme and taught on the MSc City Design and Social Science for several years as an LSE Fellow before becoming a permanent member of faculty. Her research monograph, City, Street and Citizen: The measure of the ordinary, was published in 2012.
Suzi’s research and teaching interests include social and economic forms of inclusion and exclusion in the context of global urbanisation, where she currently focuses on the micro economies and spaces of urban migration. She was awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant (2015-2017) for a comparative project on 'Super-diverse Streets: Economies and spaces of urban migration in UK Cities', which emerged out of her LSE Cities research project ‘Ordinary Streets’. Read more here: Super-diverse Streets.
We would also like to express our gratitude to Professor Fran Tonkiss, who has been an inspirational and dynamic Director of the Programme for the last eight years. Luckily she is still with the Department of Sociology at LSE and will continue to be involved with the Programme (she is on leave in LT 2017).
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 2016 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 available to read from this page: Cities Studio publications.
MSc international field trip
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.
To find out about Cities alumni and some of their current occupations follow the Cities alumni and careers link in the contents panel. If you are a former student on the MSc or PhD programme and would like to be added to the alumni list, update your details or have news to share please get in touch.
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.
In Defence of Housing: The politics of crisis
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 (Verso 2016): Verso Books.
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.
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
The global housing crisis
‘It will take 46 years for the average single person to save for a deposit on their first home in London.’ How did we get to this? Read Dr David Madden's article in The Guardian online from 5 October 2016: A Homegrown Housing Crisis.
With Peter Marcuse, he also published two pieces in Jacobin on the situation in New York and across the world: read No Rent for Rats and The Permanent Crisis of Housing.
The Secret Lives of Cities
Are cities anything more than the bricks, mortar, and steel that make them up? And what role can science and technology play in the cities of tomorrow? In this talk for The Guardian on 28 August 2016 Professor Fran Tonkiss joins presenter Nicola Davis and physicist and author Laurie Winkless to talk about aspects of cities which are often overlooked but may be crucial to their, and our, futures. Listen to the podcast.
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.
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.