• Course dates for 2016
  • Five day intensive executive programme
  • LSE's Central London Campus, New Academic Building
    WC2A 2AE
  • Professor Ricky Burdett
    Philipp Rode
    Professor Tony Travers
    Dr Savvas Verdis
  • Tuition fees for 2016

An intensive exploration and analysis of the governance, planning and design of London, drawing parallels with and implications for other major cities.

Led by Professor Ricky Burdett, Professor Tony Travers, Dr Savvas Verdis and Philipp Rode, the course draws on LSE Cities and LSE London’s research work. It will explore the longer-term development of London (in the context of other global cities) so as to provide students with an understanding of the key challenges facing both mature and rapidly-developing metropolitan areas.

This five-day course will include classes given by the core teaching group; guest lectures by key members of London’s political, development, transport and housing sectors; and visits to London’s newest redevelopment area surrounding King’s Cross, and the expanding Canary Wharf development in East London.

This executive course is suitable for:

  • Senior executives searching for insight into how cities are governed and designed.
  • International governments and intergovernmental organisations working in the field of urban development or sustainable urbanisation.
  • Professionals within private sector companies, for example providers of city infrastructure.
  • Individuals looking to understand the implications of rapid urban development on city governance.


Fifteen years after London adopted a directly elected Mayor, the course will unravel how the city is governed, and how the Mayor works through complex layers of local and central government. It will explore how major infrastructure projects like CrossRail, the Congestion Charge and the “Boris bike” system have been funded and implemented. It will describe the loose planning regime of a city enshrined in the London Plan which has led to the rediscovery of the urban skyscraper and promoted a new generation of large-scale, private sector driven developments like Canary Wharf and King’s Cross, as well as the public-sector driven transformation of East London accelerated by the London 2012 Olympics. It will also explain the tensions and challenges posed by an acute housing shortage and increasing inequality amongst its diverse and multi-cultural communities.

Major topics covered:

The operation of London’s city-wide, regional and neighbourhood government arrangements; public-private coalitions; different leadership models; the consequences of particular government systems; the challenge of reform; fiscal autonomy and relations with other tiers of government.

Planning & design
City planning and the city’s image: the London Plan; exemplar projects; design quality; making the city liveable; density vs sprawl; tall buildings, skyline and streetscape; metropolitan vs neighbourhood needs; preserving a balance of land uses; heritage vs modernity; the benefits and challenges posed by private developers in driving redevelopment; London’s Royal Parks and public open space; citizen involvement in planning; the struggle between engineering and design; justifying quality design against other priorities.  

The way London assesses the infrastructure it needs; bringing together land use and infrastructure planning (the London Plan and Transport for London’s planning); the development and maintenance of physical infrastructure; planning for London’s rapid population growth; access to private finance; regulation of water, gas, electricity and telecoms utilities; intelligent decision-making and climate change; private competition vs public management.

Transport for London: one of the world’s most powerful city transport agencies; fitting London’s transport policy into the city’s wider planning framework; assessing the appropriate role for private and public transport; planning ahead of population growth; road construction and maintenance; railways, metros and trams; buses and taxis, cycling and walking; the use of fees and charges to provide incentives; the challenge of managing freight and deliveries.

Balancing London’s business and housing needs; sustaining mixed communities in the inner and central areas; managing land costs; subsidising homes for the poor; attracting and managing foreign buyers; density vs sprawl; matching housing to population growth and transport; regeneration of former industrial land and buildings; the economic development of London’s outer boroughs; policies to protect green and other unused land; tax policies.

Economic competitiveness
London government’s role in economic planning; city incentives to encourage new sectors; the evolution of ‘Tech City’ in Shoreditch; The ‘Olympics Effect’ on east London; skills shortages and migration impacts; reputation, brand, marketing and promotion: ‘London & Partners’ as a model; the management of declining sectors and areas;  the use of Mayoral Development Corporations; ‘soft’ attributes such as diversity, tolerance and the rule of law; airport policy: how (or whether) to develop more runways around London; staging major sporting and cultural events (Olympics, Wimbledon; Wembley, world cups etc); London’s exhibition centres, theatres, museums and the arts; London’s record in dealing with terrorism, environmental disasters.

 “Amongst mature cities of the global North, London provides a model of resilience in governance, planning, design and infrastructure. It faces many of the challenges that come with global city status – housing, inequality, cost-of-living – but has implemented important changes since its adoption of a directly elected Mayor in 2000. This week-long course will offer an intense insight into the workings of London, with the participation of some of its leading protagonists and respected scholars. Anyone interested in managing the complexity of urban change will find the short programme useful and informative”.

Ricky Burdett, Professor of Urban Studies, LSE


Programme benefits:

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the key challenges facing both mature and rapidly-developing metropolitan areas
  • Build your awareness of the key challenges facing London and other large cities, notably the management of services, resource-raising, the management & planning of land, infrastructure development, migration, housing and the quality of the public realm.
  • Understand the frameworks needed to consider the challenges posed to those who run major cities.
  • Gain a greater understanding of the relationship between the physical and social development of London and other cities.
  • Achieve an understanding of London’s city-wide, regional and neighbourhood government arrangements.
  • Take away knowledge of city planning and the city’s image – the better city.
  • Understand the way London assesses the infrastructure it needs through the London Plan and Transport for London’s planning.
  • Gain a greater understanding of London government’s role in economic planning, and competitiveness.

About LSE Cities

LSE Cities is an international centre at the London School of Economics and Political Science 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.

Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies, and director of LSE Cities and the Urban Age Programme. His research interests focus on the interactions between the physical and social worlds in the contemporary city and how urbanisation affects social and environmental sustainability.

In addition to his roles at LSE, Professor Burdett is a Global Distinguished Professor at New York University, Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design in the Graduate School of Design at Harvard University, a member of the UK Government’s Independent Airports Commission and member of Council of the Royal College of Art in London. He has been involved in regeneration projects across Europe and was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the London 2012 Olympics and architectural adviser to the Mayor of London from 2001 to 2006. He is a judge in the Rockefeller Foundation’s 100 Resilient Cities initiative and is a member of the Hurricane Sandy Regional Planning and Design Competition organised by US Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Professor Burdett was also a member of the Urban Task Force which produced a major report for the UK government on the future of English cities. He is co-editor of The Endless City (2007), Living in the Endless City (2011) and Transforming Urban Economies (2013).

Philipp Rode is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Senior Research Fellow at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He co-convenes the LSE Sociology Course on ‘City Making: The Politics of Urban Form’. As researcher and consultant he has been directing interdisciplinary projects comprising urban governance, transport, city planning and urban design over the last 10 years. The focus of his current work is on green city strategies which includes the coordination of the chapters on Green Cities and Green Buildings for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Economy Report. Rode organised Urban Age conferences in partnership with Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Society in twelve world cities bringing together political leaders, city mayors, urban practitioners, private sector representatives and academic experts.

He manages the Urban Age research efforts and recently co-authored ‘Going Green: How cities are leading the green economy’ (2012), ‘Transforming Urban Economies’ (2012) and ‘The Global MetroMonitor’ (2010); and published the reports ‘Cities and Social Equity’ (2009) and ‘Integrated City Making’ (2008). He has previously worked on several multidisciplinary research and consultancy projects in New York and Berlin and was awarded the Schinkel Urban Design Prize 2000.


Find out more about LSE Cities >>

Applications open November 2015

Find out more about how to apply

 Our previous client list includes:

  • Alltrom Group
  • CBS Property Zrt.
  • Chilean Chamber of Construction
  • City of London Corporation
  • City of Montreal
  • City of the Hague
  • Concremat Companies
  • Daimler AG
  • John Wardle Architects
  • Microsoft
  • Nigerian House of Representatives
  • Siemens
  • The Malak Group LLC


Receive more information about our 2016 executive short courses.


Find out everything you need to know about application, registration and fees

How to contact us

+44 (0)207 849 4615

Tel: +44 (0)20 7849 4615

Executive Summer School Office Address Details (below)

Executive Summer School Office
Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE