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Living in the Endless City reveals the dynamics of the 21st century city

living in the endless cityFifty per cent of the world's population currently live in cities with 33 per cent of city dwellers currently living in slums. By 2050, 75 per cent will live in cities with half the world's population will living in slums.

This is one of the findings of Living in the Endless City, a publication of the Urban Age project at LSE and Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society which is launched with a public debate at LSE today (Monday 6 June).  

Edited by Professor Ricky Burdett of LSE Cities and Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum, Living in the Endless City is an investigation into the physical and social aspects of the modern urban condition, featuring essays from esteemed thinkers including Professor Richard Sennett, Professor Lord Nicholas Stern and Tony Travers.

With reports and data on vital themes including security, climate change, density and globalisation, the book focuses on three of the most vibrant and fastest growing mega-cities in the world: Mumbai, India's economic powerhouse known as the 'Maximum City', Sao Paulo, Brazil's most populous and dynamic city, and Istanbul, Europe's largest city and one of the most resilient urban economies in the world.

Why cities and why now?

Cities and their designs matter. With half of the seven billion people on earth living in cities, a substantial portion of global GDP will be invested in energy and resources to accommodate new city dwellers over the next decades. The cities of the 21st century will see new waves of urban construction, and the shape of our cities will have profound impacts on the ecological balance of the planet, and on the human conditions of peopel growing up and growing old in cities.

Living in the Endless Cities sets out to address pressing issues, such as why are so many cities continuing to grow? What is the complex relationship between urban form and city life? How can we intervene at all levels to bring about positive change? Has the model for the western city become redundant in the face of globalisation?

The investigations of the Urban Age Project have found that cities are becoming more spatially fragmented, more socially divisive and more environmentally destructive. These are the challenges and threats faced by the next generation of urban leaders who are tasked with steering their cities through what will be complex and difficult times. But the narratives also suggest that cities are uniquely placed to hardness their human and environmental potential, guiding urban growth towards greater social and environmental equity. This will be the main task for the mayors, governors and city leaders of the emerging cities in the future.

Living in the Endless City incorporates a wealth of research and analysis which has emerged from a sequence of conferences held by the Urban Age Project, organised by LSE and Deutsche Bank's Alfred Herrhausen Society, for influential figures in the field of urban development - such as mayors planners, architects, scientists and community groups - to study the growing and, in some cases, shrinking cities of the 21st century.

Living in the Endless City is published by Phaidon Press and includes essays by Alejandro Zaera-Polo, Sophie Body-Gendrot, Teresa Caldeira, Gerald Frug, Gareth Jones, Çağlar Keyder, Justin McGuirk, Rahul Mehrotra, Suketu Mehta, Hashim Sarkis, Saskia Sassen, David Satterthwaite, Richard Sennett, Nicholas Stern, and Ilhan Tekeli.

The book is launched with a public debate tonight (Monday 6 June) For more details, click here


Contact: Adam Kaasa, ommunications and events manager, LSE Cities, 020 7955 6092, email: a.r.kaasa@lse.ac.uk

For a review copy of Living in the Endless City contact Kara Reaney, Phaidon Press, 020 7843 1029, kreaney@phaidon.com

6 June 2011