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.
MSc City Design field-trip to Beirut
The MSc student group, together with faculty members Dr Gunter Gassner and Professor Fran Tonkiss, travelled to Beirut 16-21 May 2015 for the graduate programme's annual international field-trip. Working in collaboration with colleagues at the American University of Beirut's Neighbourhood Initiative and Department of Architecture and Design, the students explored processes of urban development in key sites in central Beirut, including: the Solidere redevelopment of the city's historic core, new residential developments in the Ain Mreisseh area bordering the AUB campus, and the planned development of the Dalieh of Raouche seafront area to the west of the centre. The field-trip included guided site visits by foot, bus and boat, as well as seminars with local urban experts.
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.
The Critical City: Tottenham
This year's City Design Research Studio (2014-15), led by Professor Fran Tonkiss, Dr Gunter Gassner and Dr David Madden, took the theme of the 'critical city' and focused on Tottenham, a district in the borough of Haringey in northeast London. Tottenham is a place where many of the crises of urban life are visible. It is the poorest neighbourhood in the most unequal borough in the capital. Many Tottenham residents experience numerous forms of injustice, and the area has repeatedly been the site of uprisings and riots. And many locals feel that the councilʼs official regeneration plans threaten to bring gentrification and displacement rather than social progress. The students’ challenge was to understand this area without simplifying or stigmatising it and to propose critical interventions that could help Tottenhamʼs communities on their own terms rather than facilitating their erasure. The Studio publication Critical City will be published at the end of June 2015.
Suzanne Hall awarded ESRC Future Leaders research grant
Dr Suzanne Hall, Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology and Research Fellow at LSE Cities, has been awarded an ESRC Future Research Leaders grant (Ref: ES/L009560/1) for a comparative project on ‘Super-diverse Streets: Economies and spaces of urban migration in UK Cities’. The project is a multidisciplinary exploration of the spatial infrastructures, economic practices and forms of civil organisation on selected ethnically-diverse streets in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leicester and Bradford. The project will engage with questions of migration and societal reconfiguration through a detailed analysis of each street, and aims to provide a broader perspective of the role of migrants in making urban space.
Neighbourhood as Spatial Project
In his article for the International Journal of Urban and Regional Research Dr David Madden argues for a reconceptualization of one of the most basic concepts in urban studies: the neighbourhood. David is Assistant Professor in Sociology at LSE and teaches on the MSc City Design and Social Science. Read the article online: Neighborhood as Spatial Project: Making the Urban Order on the Downtown Brooklyn Waterfront.
World Wide Street
Dr Suzanne Hall has published an article on ‘World Wide Street’ in COMPAS’s online Anthology of Migration. For more information, visit the COMPAS website here. Urban ethnographer and lecturer in sociology Suzi, who teaches in the Cities Programme and is leading research on the future of the high street for the Ordinary Streets project at LSE Cities, 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.
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 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.
In 2013-14 the MSc City Design Research Studio focused on the Elephant & Castle in south London as a site for thinking about the potential of the ‘resourceful city’. Against the backdrop of large-scale redevelopment in the area, and amid the wider rhetoric of the ‘smart’ city, we aimed to explore in more critical ways the assets, resources and capacities of such an urban context. Focusing on the central regeneration site and on the local streets and spaces that run out from it, the Studio groups analysed the connections and disconnections, diverse actors and interests, problems and potential that characterise this complex piece of city. The resulting publication Resourceful City was designed and edited by MSc students Regina Kertapati and Claudia Sinatra. The image right is a detail from a collage in the publication, which can be read as a PDF (for each chapter) from this website, see Cities Studio 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.
In the media
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.
Fran Tonkiss on Sustainable Cities
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?
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.
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.