Research Seminars

LSE Cities research seminars are for LSE and non-LSE researchers and academics to present work on cities that focusses on how the physical form and design of cities impacts on society, culture and the environment.

Seminars are free and open to all but require pre-registration. 



24.06.13 Urban Transition Gulf Cities

Urban Transition in Gulf Cities: Strategies for a more sustainable future
Thursday 13 June | 1.00pm to 2.00pm (UTC+1)

Venue: KSW.2.12, 20 Kingsway, London WC2B 6LH (access via Portugal Street entrance)

Speakers: Dr Gustavo de Siqueira, Associate Professor of Urban Planning and Architectural Design, German University of Technology in Oman and Visiting Professor, institute of Urban Design, RWTH Aachen; Dr Florian Wiedman, Assistant Professor, Faculty of Engineering, University of Nottingham

ModeratorProfessor Billie Giles-Corti, Professor Emeritus, RMIT University

This hour-long research seminar will include two presentations from two experts on Gulf urbanism, Dr Gustavo de Siqueira and Dr Florian Wiedmann. It will explore the relationship between urban development, car dependence and climate change, through the lens of housing, citizenship, migration, and transport and introduce sustainable strategies for urban regeneration and public realm activation. Each topic will begin with a short opening statement which will be followed by a moderated discussion during which all attendees are invited to participate with questions and observations. 

Find out more about the Seminar and register to attend Urban Transition in Gulf Cities


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Social Urbanism and Urban Health in São Paulo
Wednesday 17 January | 1.00pm to 2.00pm (UTC)

Venue: In person seminar at LSE Cities, 8th Floor Fawcett House, Clement's Inn, London WC2A 2AZ

Speaker: Professor Carlos Leite, Dean, School of Architecture and Urbanism, Mackenzie Presbyterian University, São Paulo;  International lecturer; Author of “Guide to Social Urbanism” and coordinator of Cities and Health research group.

Host: Alexandra Gomes, Research Fellow, LSE Cities

In this seminar Carlos Leite will present his latest book, Guide to Social Urbanism, a practical and didactic guide, to be used as a training tool for those working to improve socially vulnerable territories, generating strong social impact. Of the 15 themes in the guide, Leite will focus on Urban Health. He will share recent research carried out in the city of São Paulo by a multidisciplinary group of researchers, based on data and evidence on the impact of the absence\presence of sports and leisure equipment in heart disease.

Online registration is now closed
Please email with any questions

Links to relevant literature

 Past Seminars


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Playing to Plan: Hands-On and Sensory-Based Community Engagement
Thursday 18 November 2021 | 5.00-6.00pm BST

Speakers: John Kamp, Director, Prairieform and James Rojas, Founder, Place It!

HostsAlexandra Gomes, Research Officer, LSE Cities and Atefeh Motamedi, Town Planner

For further details, please click here.


Games and participatory tools in urban research and design
Monday 07 June 2021 | 5.00-6.00pm BST

Speakers: Tanushree Agarwal, Researcher, LSE Middle East Centre; Adriana Valdez Young, Principal Researcher, We Like Research

Hosts: Sharifa Alshalfan, Architect and Urban Researcher (Chair); Alexandra Gomes, Research Officer, LSE Cities and LSE Middle East Centre; Asseel Al-Ragam, Associate Professor of Architecture, Vice Dean of Academic Affairs, Research and Graduate Studies and Director of the Architecture Graduate Program, Kuwait University

For further details, please click here.

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Resource Urbanisms between abundance and constraints
Thursday 18 March | 1.00-2.00pm

Guests: David Banister, Emeritus Professor of Transport Studies, University of Oxford; Neil Brenner, Lucy Flower Professor of Urban Sociology, University of Chicago; Felix Creutzig, head of the working group Land Use, Infrastructures and Transport and Chair of Sustainability Economics, Technical University Berlin; Steffen Hertog, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics, LSE Department of Government 

Hosts: Alexandra Gomes, Research Officer, LSE Cities; Andreas Koch, Berlin; Philipp Rode, Executive Director, LSE Cities; Fizzah Sajjad, PhD candidate, LSE Department of Geography and Environment 

This hour-long research webinar will include two rounds of discussion, one focussing on the empirical understanding of resource urbanisms and the second one on concepts and theoretical underpinnings. Each round will begin with short opening statements and as part of the discussion will include the opportunity for attendees to actively participate or share questions and observations via Q&A.

For further details, please click here.

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Queer Planning in Global London
Thursday 4 March | 1.00-2.00pm

Speaker: Ben Campkin, Professor of History and Theory of Architecture and Urbanism, The Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London

Hosted by: Noah Powers, Project Assistant, LSE Cities; Dr Julia King, Research Fellow, LSE Cities

This talk will draw from archival, qualitative and quantitative research to assess changes in the way LGBTQ+ communities have featured in London’s governance, from the final days of the Greater London Council in the 1980s to today. Examples will be drawn from the radical New Left initiatives linked to social movements in the 1980s, to the ‘mainstreaming’ of sexual orientation equality within the operations of the Greater London Authority in the 2000s, and the recent designation of LGBTQ+ venues as part of the capital’s ‘social and cultural infrastructure’. Attention will be paid to how the engagement mechanisms and level of formality and proactivity have shifted in tone with each cycle, in line with the mayors’ political inclinations. These shifts will be discussed alongside the changing quantity and quality of LGBTQ+ venues, and recent efforts by activists to protect and create spaces to serve present and future populations.

Image credit: Changing the World: A London Charter for Gay and Lesbian Rights, 1985. Courtesy Bishopsgate Institute. 



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Towards a flood resilient future
Thursday 10 December | 1.00-2.00pm

Speaker: Edward Barsley, Founder and Director, The Environmental Design Studio

Hosted by: Catarina Heeckt, Policy Fellow, LSE Cities

While many programmes and publications warn of the threat of climate change, few discuss viable spatial strategies for adaptation. This talk will set out the causes and consequences of flooding and examine ways in which built and natural environments can be adapted to this threat. Barsley will draw on his RIBA (2020) publication, ‘Retrofitting for Flood Resilience: A Guide to Building & Community Design', which showcases flood risk adaptation strategies at various scales, as well as good practice case studies from around the world. The seminar will explore how to better understand flood risk and highlight key approaches for developing community and property flood resilience.


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StoryMapping Johannesburg: Urban atmospheres and digital site-writing

Thursday 26 November | 1.00-2.00pm

Speakers: Hanna Baumann, Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Global Prosperity, UCL; Ed Charlton, British Academy Postdoctoral Research Fellow, LSE Cities; Jill Weintroub, Life in the City Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Governance, University of Witwatersrand.

In this research seminar, we review the initial output from a collaborative site-writing project on Johannesburg. Using a series of GIS StoryMaps to situate some of the atmospheric forms that structure the city, we will reflect on the critical as well as more creative contributions that this atmospheric attention to urban space might encourage. In this, we draw ideas from the work of urban thinkers like Matthew Gandy and Jane Rendell, examining some the allied perils that also emerge with this type of practice. We particularly encourage others engaged in digital modes of site-writing and urban mapping to attend. This seminar will serve as an opportunity to share ideas and reflect on their potential. 


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Urban Governance in Addis Ababa
Thursday 12 November | 1.00-2.00pm

Speaker: Nuno F. da Cruz, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE Cities

Urban governance directly impacts cities’ spatial development. But empirical investigations of urban governance are still scarce, especially in the Global South. This seminar will explore the relationships that shape urban governance in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Using social network analysis methods to chart the informal connections and social structures that influence spatial planning, the seminar will explore how strategic decisions are made in Addis Ababa’s complex institutional environment.




Mapping as Social Ethnography

Thursday 15 October | 1.00-2.00pm

Speaker: Julia King, Research Fellow, LSE Cities

This seminar will focus on spatial analysis rooted in architectural design practice as an ethnographic method. Rather than solely an observational tool, spatial analysis asks "what is" and "what could be," provoking additional responses. Forms of mapping are central to understanding the city, engaging with social problems, and connecting large-scale social processes with the possibility of transformation.



Governing Infrastructure Interfaces

Cities and Transport Infrastructure: Ethiopia's experience governing connection points
Thursday 1 October | 1.00 - 2.30pm

Speakers: Philipp Rode, Executive Director, LSE Cities: Biruk Terrefe, PhD candidate, University of Oxford;  Nuno F. da Cruz, Assistant Professorial Research Fellow, LSE Cities 

RespondentsCaroline Raes, Program Director - Urban Resilience, Catholic Relief Services; Tom Goodfellow, Senior Lecturer in Urban Studies and International Development, University of Sheffield; Elleni Ashebir, Cities and Urban Mobility Program Manager, Ross Centre for Sustainable Cities, WRI Africa, Addis Ababa

This seminar will present findings from LSE Cities' recent research project Governing Infrastructure Interfaces and will provide an opportunity for feedback and discussion. For further details, please click here



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The future of Clustering: Lessons from innovation clusters and the modern workplace
Thursday 18 June | 1.00 - 2.00pm

Speaker: Kyriaki (Katie) Kasabalis, Assistant Professor, Department of Architecture and Urban + Environmental Planning, University of Virginia, and Visiting Senior Fellow, LSE Cities

This research seminar will begin in the pre-COVID-19 world and will discuss how innovation clusters became a model of urbanism that is truly global in scope. The  seminar will examine these clusters not as economic concentrations, but as complicated spatial conditions that have a direct impact on our wellbeing and collective identities. Katie will discuss the increasing number of public-private partnerships, the development of digital campuses, and the proliferation of co-working spaces. The seminar will draw insights from field work conducted in nine cities across the US, Europe, and East Asia, and it will specifically focus on case studies in Silicon Valley (California) and One North District (Singapore). The seminar will then discuss how these models relate to current redevelopment efforts in London.

While this most recent “workplace revolution” was predominately led by rapid advances in information technology, the next wave will be fast-tracked by the recent emergence of Covid-19. Moving forward, what will be the future of the workplace, and how will our cities evolve? The research seminar will conclude by speculating on how an increased emphasis on wellbeing, design, and public benefits could trigger a new typology of innovation clusters.

Kyriaki (Katie) Kasabalis is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Architecture and Urban + Environmental Planning at the University of Virginia and Visiting Senior Fellow, LSE Cities. She is Design Director of Kasawoo, an interdisciplinary design practice, and co-founder of Future Current, an experimental platform for creatives to connect and collaborate over food.  



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Public space in Kuwait: challenges and opportunities for research and practice
Thursday 11 June | 1.00 - 2.00pm

Speaker: Alexandra Gomes, Research Officer, LSE Cities

Kuwait’s population is rapidly expanding. Accommodating this growth will be a challenge for the small emirate, whose current urbanisation patterns privilege high levels of motorisation and neglect adequate public space. Sustainable urban development will be essential for individual health and the environment. 

Join the research team (Alexandra Gomes, Asseel Al-Ragam and Sharifa Alshalfan) for a discussion on the Public space in Kuwait project. The project explores the impact that planning, design, and behavioural factors have on the use of public space through a comparative case study of two local streets in Kuwait’s residential neighbourhoods.

As we near the end of this research, this session will aim not only to present the project’s key findings, but also to instigate a virtual round-table conversation on the challenges and opportunities for current and future urban public space research and practice in Kuwait.



20.06.04-research-Seminar J0-Beall

Governance and Hybridity in Urban Service Delivery: Decentralised Sanitation in Addis Ababa 
Thursday 4 June | 1.00 - 2.00pm

Speaker: Jo BeallEmeritus Professor and Distinguished Research Fellow

This seminar will explore the governance of decentralised sanitation infrastructure on the edge of the city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Employing the concept of ‘infrastructure interfaces’ as an analytical lens to identify the key material connection points that determine how and why sanitation provision works in the way that it does, the seminar will scrutinise the practices, actors, and governance arrangements occurring at these critical junctures in decentralised sanitation provision.

This seminar builds on research exploring informally-developed solutions to pragmatic problems and bureaucratic challenges intrinsic to post-networked urban services. In Addis Ababa, hybrid governance emerged organically in response to heterogenous infrastructure configurations and the shortcomings of state delivery. This discussion will consider the long-term sustainability of decentralised sanitation systems and the need for state recognition and funding of the people and materials that connect and maintain these systems. 



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Slowing the smart city
Thursday 5 March | 12.30 - 2.00pm

Speaker: Alison Powell, Assistant Professor in Media and Communications, Director of MSc Data & Society, LSE

The 'smart city' promises an urban optimization, a seamless integration of human and machine intelligence. Such promises of 'smartness' have become a global phenomenon, a reconstruction of urban incoherence into seamless frameworks of prediction. This talk traces a history and proposes futures for urban 'smartness' using research from citizen activism using 'smart city' network, data, and sensors to outline strategies for undoing optimization. These include investigating hybridizing knowledge between humans, other living beings and 'smart' technologies, and regenerative practices of solidarity experienced through friction. Through stories of wireless hackers, beekeepers, feral cows, data scientists, and urban foxes, the seminar digs into the influence of techno-systemic frames for strategies of resistance and suggests new ways forward.

Alison Powell is Assistant Professor in Media and Communications at the London School of Economics and Programme Director of the MSc in Data & Society. Her research examines how people’s values influence the way technology is built. Alison experiments with participatory and public engagement methods to investigate how we generate knowledge about technology, citizenship, and our futures.





Autonomous mobility on demand: a solution to the urban gridlock?
Thursday 6 February | 12.30 - 2.00pm

Speaker: Andreas Herrmann, Professor of Marketing, Director of the Institute of Customer Insight, University of St.Gallen, Switzerland, and Visiting Professor, LSE Cities.

Self-driving vehicles could become a reality in cities worldwide in the next few decades. Many cities will embrace AVs because they have the potential to help solve multiple pressing challenges. But how the technology plays out will be shaped by the specific characteristics of each city and its mobility ecosystem. While some cities will gain significant benefits by introducing AVs, others will fare better by pursuing other mobility options.

To examine how AVs will affect different cities, and influence their urban mobility ecosystems, the University of St. Gallen and BCG conducted a one-year study based on a qualitative and quantitative methodological approach as well as existing in-depth knowledge on shared, autonomous mobility. Andreas Herrmann will discuss the study’s methodology and key findings and the implications for cities of embracing or failing to prepare for the advent of AVs.

Andreas Herrmann is Professor of Marketing and Director of the Institute of Customer Insight at the University of St.Gallen, Switzerland. He is also a Visiting Professor at LSE Cities. His main research interests are Marketing Management and Behavioural Economics.


Where two roads meet: urban policy in Haringey and the Bronx
Thursday 5 December | 12.30 - 2.00pm

Click here to view presentation slides

Speaker: Glyn Robbins, LSE Visiting Fellow, Department of Sociology

Tottenham High Road in Haringey and Jerome Avenue in the Bronx share several key characteristics. They both run through working-class, economically-deprived, ethnically-diverse neighbourhoods currently subject to large-scale urban regeneration projects. Each area also features a mega-sports stadium (the new ground of Tottenham Hotspur Football Club in Haringey and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx).

In both places, large scale urban interventions are seeking to achieve significant, lasting improvements to the socio-economic and physical infrastructure by building thousands of new homes and associated amenities targeted at attracting a new demographic.

This session will examine the impact on each area and address the extent of converging UK/US urban policies, particularly as articulated by the respective city mayors. A subsidiary purpose of the research will be to consider the extent to which the presence of a corporate sports franchise/team is influencing changing policy and perceptions.

Glyn Robbins is an LSE Visiting Fellow in the Sociology Department. He has been a housing worker, campaigner and academic for nearly 30 years. He has a particular interest in comparative UK/US housing and urban policy.


A compact city for the wealthy: gentrification and employment accessibility inequalities in London
Thursday 7 November | 12.30 - 2.00pm

Click here to view presentation slides

Speakers: Duncan Smith, lecturer at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL

The prevalence of gentrification processes in many cities points to increasingly wealthy inner-city areas and potentially greater population segregation by income. This research investigates changes in the residential geography of London in the last decade primarily using occupational class data, finding continuing gentrification in Inner London and increasing concentrations of lower-income classes in Outer London. The employment accessibility impacts of these changes are then modelled, highlighting advantages for professional classes, and weaker accessibility for low income classes by the most affordable and sustainable transport modes. Planning policy measures to address these challenges include significant increases in council housing development and major improvements in transit connections in Outer London.

Duncan Smith is a lecturer at the Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL. His research interests are in GIS, urban planning, transport sustainability and visualisation, and he has previously worked at LSE Cities and in transport consultancy. Current research projects include the ESRC SIMITRI grant, exploring polycentric urban development and segregation in the Pearl River Delta Megacity Region, China.


Urban Science with a view from space: dynamics, dimensions and forms of global urbanization
Thursday 12 September | 12.00 - 1.30pm

Speaker: Dr. Hannes Taubenböck, German Aerospace Center (DLR) and visiting fellow, LSE Cities

The largest migration movement that humanity has ever undertaken is in full swing: from the countryside to cities. New cities are emerging. Existing cities are merging into megaregions with more than 70 million inhabitants. Slums grow into the remaining open spaces. Although mankind is in the information age, there are large gaps in knowledge regarding these urban phenomena.

In this workshop, Hannes Taubenböck of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) will make the physical transformation of urban landscapes tangible by looking from above - with remote sensing data from space. Through the analysis of satellite data, it is possible to document the sprawling urban growth in a global comparison and thus identify the emergence and dimensions of megaregions or even localise areas of urban poverty. The seminar will also show how existing gaps in knowledge can be closed with Big Earth Data in order to make the effects of urbanisation processes on the planet tangible.

Dr. Hannes Taubenböck heads a working group at the Earth Observation Center of the German Aerospace Center that deals with the global city and its society. He also teaches at the Institute of Geography at the University of Würzburg. Fascinated by the view from space, which can create a distanced view of clarity, he deals with documenting and understanding the increasingly dynamic urban transformation processes on our planet.