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Shanghai becomes the world stage for cutting-edge debate on the future of global cities

How can we design sustainable city environments? Can cities create jobs that serve the modern economy? How do we accommodate large numbers of urban immigrants? What are the conditions for social equality? What role does public space play in making cities more liveable? How do we govern ungovernable cities?

These are the questions that over one hundred urban experts from China, USA, India, Japan and Europe will address as they meet against the backdrop of Shanghai's fast-changing skyline from Thursday 7 to Saturday 9 July.

The Shanghai Urban Age conference, organised by the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society, is part of an international working laboratory that travels to New York, London, Johannesburg, Mexico City and Berlin. The objective of the Urban Age conferences is to learn from experiences of rapid urban change and decline, to inform city leaders, policymakers, architects and city builders on how to best shape and govern the city of the future.

Shanghai, one of the world's largest and most dynamic cities - with a population of approximately 20 million people - provides a compelling backdrop to a debate on urban form and quality of life. Over the last decade alone, not only has the skyline of this great city been changed beyond recognition by building cranes and skyscrapers, but the amount of living space for an individual resident has more than doubled, creating new landscapes and lifestyles for Shanghai's emerging urban class. As the city becomes the focus of more global capital and investment, bicycles are replaced by cars and congested neighbourhoods give way to high-rise housing complexes. Shanghai offers a unique locus for observation, comment and reflection on the role of the city in contemporary life.

In Shanghai key international speakers will include:

  • Anthony Mayer, chief executive of the Greater London Authority, responsible for delivering London's development plan for 2005-2015
  • Saskia Sassen, the leading world authority on the effect of globalisation on cities from the University of Chicago
  • Carl Weisbrod, key player in New York City's administration and the regeneration of Lower Manhattan and the World Trade Center site
  • Rem Koolhaas, architect and principal of the Office for Metropolitan Architecture, designer of CCTV headquarters in Beijing
  • Sophie Body Gendrot, leading French sociologist from Sorbonne in Paris, expert on public space, community and crime
  • Bruce Katz, head of the metropolitan center at the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, adviser on housing to the Clinton administration and expert on inner city regeneration
  • Alejandro Zaeara Polo, principal of Foreign Office Architects designers of award-winning Yokohama Ferry terminal

They will be joined by Chinese urban leaders, architects and academics, including:

  • Wu Jiang, vice director of the Shanghai's influential Planning Bureau
  • Professor Xuejin Zuo, executive vice president of the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, expert on public transport and social reform
  • Siegfried Zhiqiang Wu, dean of the College of Architecture and Planning at Tongji University, architect and adviser on major urban projects in Shanghai, including the Expo 2010
  • Zheng Shiling, highly respected architect and recognised authority on the history of Shanghai and its architecture
  • Quingyun Ma, of MADA Architects, one of China's best known emerging architects with an international reputation for dynamic urban projects
  • Zhang Xin, joint chief executive of Beijing's highly successful property company, SOHO China
  • Professor Xizhe Peng, dean of the School of Social Development and Public Policy of Fudan University, expert on demographic change and urban policy

A full programme will be available at www.urban-age.net|

The Shanghai Urban Age conference is organised by the Cities Programme at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Alfred Herrhausen Society, the International Forum of Deutsche Bank. Local partners include the Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences, Fudan University, Tongji University, East China Normal University and Shanghai Industrial Investments (Holding) Group.

Ends

Contact: Ute Elisabeth Weiland, Alfred Herrhausen Society, tel: 0049 30 3407 4201, fax: 0049 30 34074209, email: ute.weiland@db.com|

1 July 2005

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