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.
Latest issue of Cities News
Read all about what our students, alumni and faculty have been doing since the autumn in Cities News Issue 13 (PDF). Image left of MSc City Design alums Adam White and Adriana Valdez Young. For this and previous issues see contents panel.
New book by Fran Tonkiss
Cities by Design: The social life of urban form by Cities Programme director Professor Fran Tonkiss has just been published by Polity Press. See Publications below, and for the LSE Review of Books podcast go to In the Media.
MSc City Design and Social Science
Applications for entry in 2014 are open. Please note all applications are made centrally to the LSE Graduate Admissions Office. For important information about the application procedure please see LSE Graduate.
To find out more about the Master's programme take a look at our MSc City Design and Social Science pages. If you have any questions about the programme you are welcome to email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Suzanne Hall and the future of high streets
Dr Suzanne Hall has been leading research on this currently highly controversial topic as part of the Ordinary Streets project at LSE Cities. Urban ethnographer and lecturer in sociology Suzi, who teaches in the Cities Programme, has been studying city streets in London for more than five years, focusing on Rye Lane in Peckham, south London, a poor and ethnically diverse neighbourhood which paradoxically bucks the national trend of declining footfall and struggling independent retailers, as local businesses adapt to their customers' needs. The research project is featured in LSE research highlights. Suzi has written a blog post for Discover Society, ‘Multilingual Citizenship’, based on her Ordinary Streets research. Read the blog.
Launch of Local City
The 2013 Studio publication Local City addresses the question: what does it mean to be 'local' in a global city? It focuses on the dense inner city neighbourhood of Hackney Central in east London. The publication was launched on 2 July at the Cities Programme's annual end of year party for students, staff, alumni and all who have contributed to the work of the City Design Research Studio. It is now available to read in PDF format from this website - follow link in contents panel to Cities Studio publications.
MSc City Design students have launched a new blog which presents a critical look at urban conflicts around the world: urbanControversies.com. This project aims to explore the dynamics behind the construction of the urban fabric and how conflict is an important force in shaping the city. Urban researchers and practitioners are invited to contribute by writing a short piece (up to 500 words) analyzing a case study of conflict or disagreement in any particular city. This can be based on his/her current research or inspired by current events and urban developments, addressing questions like: What can we learn from past experiences? How can we design for catastrophes or can we anticipate them? What occurs when the capacities of urban institutions collapse, either from social or physical pressures? And finally what happens when globalisation hits the ground? Case-based urban disruptions emerge as direct answers to challenges facing researchers and practitioners.
If you would like to contribute please contact email@example.com.
Public lecture: Urban Stories, Learning from Mistakes
On 14 June Professor Alfredo Brillembourg, founding partner of Urban-Think Tank along with Hubert Klumpner, came to LSE to speak at the invitation of MSC City Design students, chaired by student Amy Parker. In the past ten years we have witnessed the growing integration of countries and regions into a global market whose principal characteristic is the flux of goods, services, investments, people and knowledge, which are interchanged regardless of the geographic, political and linguistic constraints that have hindered such exchanges in the past. The field of architecture now finds itself enjoying overwhelming media attention, yet architects remain relatively irrelevant in world policy formulation. Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) has made a point of looking around the world, particularly at the Global South, for answers to how we can build a more equitable city. This talk featured work from the two latest SLUM Lab (Sustainable Living Urban Model Laboratory) magazines, along with a U-TT film on Calcutta fish farms, and observations on Dharavi and other informal settlements around the world.
This event was a student-led initiative with the support of the Cities Programme and funded by LSE Cities research centre.
MSc field trip to Bucharest
In March 2013 our MSc students visited Bucharest. The images above right are by our students, from top Carina Arvizu Machado, Jacob Bielecki and Alejandro Sajgalik. For more images see Bucharest 2013. The annual field trip is made possible by a generous donation from the Ove Arup Foundation, and information about all our field trips can be found by following the link from our MSc City Design and Social Science page.
Cities Programme alumni
To find out about Cities alumni and 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 new 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.
Die Architektin (Women + Architecture/Women in Architecture) blog has voted Fran Tonkiss one of the most influential living female theoreticians whose works and theories are relevant to architecture, urban planning and spatial theory. For more see: Die Architektin.
The 2013 MSc Studio publication Local City, centred on Hackney Central in east London, can be read in PDF format from the Cities Studio publications page, where there are also links to our previous publications.
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 new 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.
The book was reviewed in the March 2013 issue of the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research by Glasgow University’s Emma Jackson. Read the review.
The annual conference is organised by graduate researchers at the Cities Programme, the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT, MIT Media LAB, Harvard Graduate School of Design and Harvard Law School. The first and second volumes of Writing Cities, the working papers from the conferences held at LSE in 2009 and 2011, are available to read as PDFs from our PhD programme page.
In the media
Fran Tonkiss on Sustainable Cities
Professor Fran Tonkiss joins Sergio Fajardo Valderrama, governor of Antioquia, Colombia, and Sergio Cabral, governor the State of Rio de Janeiro, for 'Ask the Experts: Sustainable Cities' in the Winter 2014 issue of Americas Quarterly: How can sustainable cities serve the working poor?
Architecture and Design: Framing the urban experience
In December 2013 Professor Fran Tonkiss talked about her new book Cities by Design for the LSE Review of Books podcast, also featuring architect David Kohn and LSE Associate Professor (and MSc City Design alum) Dr Hyun Bang Shin. Listen to the podcast.
David Madden on gentrification and its discontents
In an article for The Guardian Online on 10 October 2013, 'Gentrification doesn't trickle down to help everyone', Dr David Madden argues that while regeneration boosters praise cities that 'bounce back' from poverty, the reality is poverty just gets bounced elsewhere. Read the article.
‘Cities, Streets and Citizens’ in Stockholm
In June 2013 Dr Suzanne Hall presented at ‘The Future of Places’, an international conference in Stockholm with the aim of contributing to a ‘New Urban Agenda’ around people and places. Suzi spoke about how the cultural and economic vitality of street life forms a crucial component of urban public life. The conference was organised by UN Habitat, Project for Public Spaces and the Ax:Johnson Foundation. Suzanne Hall’s presentation, ‘Cities, Streets and Citizens’ can now be watched online, see LSE Cities webpage.
ArchDaily interviews Ricky Burdett
In an interview with ArchDaily on 27 March 2013, Professor Ricky Burdett discussed the challenges facing architects today, and how can we make sure that cities grow sustainably and equitably in an increasingly urbanized world. Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at LSE and director of LSE Cities research centre, was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. In November 2012 he was invited to serve as a member of the Independent Airports Commission for the UK Government. Watch the video.
'Making Cities More Resilient'
Read an interview with Fran Tonkiss on 'Making Cities More Resilient: Educating the next urbanists' in online magazine The Atlantic.
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.