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Speaker(s): Darran Anderson, Dr Matthew Beaumont, Professor Rachel Cooper
Chair: Professor Richard Sennett

Recorded on 27 February 2016 at Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building

The Future City, as an idea that often relies upon Utopian thinking to sustain itself, can be as cruel as it is consoling. Even as it makes possible investment into urban space as a site of future fulfilment, it regularly fails to deliver upon this promise. This panel asks what futures such Utopian thinking makes available for the city and what present realities it denies? It will query more specifically the Utopias that have come to structure London’s own particular futures. What Utopian thinking is operative, for instance, in a city so firmly structured around the logic of speculation intrinsic to finance capital? And what futures might present citizens be imagining for themselves?

Darran Anderson is author of Imaginary Cities (@Oniropolis). He has written on speculative urban themes for publications such as Dezeen, Citylab and Aeon, on cities directly from Paris to Phnom Penh, and has given talks on the intersection of architecture with video games, science fiction, literature, politics and futurology at the likes of the V&A, the London Festival of Architecture and the Bristol Festival of Ideas.

Matthew Beaumont is is a Senior Lecturer in the English Department at UCL and a Co-Director of UCL's Urban Laboratory. He is the author of two books on nineteenth-century utopianism and, more recently, of Nightwalking: A Nocturnal History of London, Chaucer to Dickens. He is also the editor of Restless Cities, among other essay collections.

Rachel Cooper OBE is Distinguished Professor of Design Management and Policy at Lancaster University. She is Director of ImaginationLancaster (@ImaginationLanc). Her publications include Designing Sustainable Cities, Constructing Futures and Handbook of Wellbeing and the Environment. She is a non-executive Director of the Future Cities Catapult, and a Lead Expert for the UK Government Foresight programme on the Future of Cities, and is on the Academy of Medical Sciences Working group addressing ‘the health of the public 2040’.

Richard Sennett (@richardsennett) is Director of Theatrum Mundi, University Professor of the Humanities at New York University and Professor of Sociology at LSE. His research entails ethnography, history, and social theory.

LSE Cities (@LSECities) is an international centre at LSE that carries out research, education and outreach activities in London and abroad. Its mission is to study how people and cities interact in a rapidly urbanising world, focussing on how the design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment.

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