Home > News and media > News > News archive > 2005 > Urban Age London


Urban Age London

London conference, LSE, 11-13 November

Can London cope with its future growth?
Is it really Europe's only global city?
What is the impact of massive regeneration projects?

These are some of the questions that civic leaders, city-builders, architects and academics from around the world will be asking when they meet in London from 11 to 13 November 2005. The Mayors of Washington DC, Sao Paulo, Amsterdam, Barcelona and Edinburgh will join world-renowned urbanists Richard Rogers, Rem Koolhaas and Saskia Sassen to debate the future of a city facing momentous growth.

The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and the Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society have joined forces to organise an ongoing discussion on the 'Urban Age' - to find out how cities are changing and what policymakers must do to improve the life of urban dwellers around the globe. After New York and Shanghai, London is the third conference this year and will be followed by events in Mexico City, Johannesburg, Venice and Berlin throughout 2006.

London's demographic and economic boom - 800,000 more people and 400,000 more jobs in the next ten years - is fuelling a physical transformation of the 2,000 year-old city, making it a compelling backdrop to a debate on economic development, social integration and the everyday life experiences of people in the city. As London grows again, will it maintain its organic and open structure that has served it well through generations and accommodate migrant communities form all corners of the world?

London provides a new paradigm of urban governance and development at the start of the 21st century. The world is watching. The introduction of the congestion charge, £10 billion investment in public transport, the adoption of 50 per cent affordable housing policies, the 2012 Olympics and its effect on the Thames Gateway are of truly global interest at a time when so many cities are facing exponential growth and mass migration. 

Mayors and city leaders from the UK (London, Edinburgh, Glasgow and Manchester), Europe (Barcelona, Budapest, Naples, Amsterdam and Gdansk) and the Americas (Washington DC, Bogota and Sao Paulo) will join international urban experts to compare notes on how their cities deal with dramatic urban change. Core themes will include how quality of life can be maintained by promoting healthy city environments that work for people of different generations and incomes. 

To better understand the social impacts of current trends in London's labour markets, housing, transport and public life, the Urban Age conference will investigate the following key projects in North, South, West and East London:

  • The transformation of King's Cross and its future role as London's main transport node in London
  • The regeneration of Elephant and Castle and the reintegration of residential communities in South London to the city centre
  • The redevelopment of White City and the formation of a knowledge-based economic cluster in West London
  • The Olympic Village and its legacy in the development of building affordable housing in diverse and attractive neighbourhoods in the Lower Lea Valley of East London  

A full programme of the London Urban Age conference will be available at www.urban-age.net| 

The Urban Age London conference is organised by the London School of Economics and Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society. Local partners are: The Mayor's Office at the Greater London Authority, Aula Barcelona, The Minerva LSE Research Group; LSE London Development Workshops, Corporation of London; CABE; and the London Borough of Tower Hamlets Idea Stores

The event is open to invited guests only. However all sessions will be recorded and made available on the Urban Age web site in December 2005


Contact: Judith Higgin, LSE Press Office, on 020 7955 7582, email j.a.higgin@lse.ac.uk| 


The Urban Age is a series of six international conferences taking place over two years. Starting in New York in February 2005 then moving to Shanghai in July 2005. Future conferences include: 

  • Mexico City, 23-25 February 2006
  • Johannesburg, July 2006
  • Berlin, November 2006

The director of the Urban Age is Ricky Burdett, adviser on architecture to the mayor of London; director, 10th Venice Architecture Biennale 2006 and centennial professor of architecture and urbanism at LSE.

The Urban Age has a team of experts who travel to each conference. The following will be in London during the conference available for comment:

  • Sophie Body-Gendrot, director, Centre for Urban Studies, Sorbonne
  • Hermann Knoflacher, professor of transportation planning, Technical University Vienna
  • Dieter Läpple, professor of regional and urban economics, Hamburg University of Technology
  • Xiangming Chen, professor of sociology and urban planning and policy, University of Illinois, Chicago
  • Richard Sennett, professor of sociology, LSE and Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Saskia Sassen, Ralph Lewis Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago, and centennial visiting professor, LSE
  • Deyan Sudjic, dean, Faculty of Art Design and Architecture, Kingston University
  • Gerald Frug, Louis D Brandeis Professor of Law, Harvard University. 

31 October 2005