Cities: Governance, Planning and Design

  • Executive
  • LSE Cities
  • Application code EE962
  • Starting 2021
  • Short course: Open
  • Location: Houghton Street, London

An intensive exploration of how global cities can be governed, planned and designed to be socially, economically and environmentally sustainable.

5 day intensive programme (date TBC)

Led by senior faculty members of both LSE Cities and LSE London, the course draws on world-class research on the dynamics of growth in major urban centres. It explores long-term development goals of cities in the developed and developing world providing students with an understanding of the key challenges facing both mature and rapidly-developing metropolitan areas. 

This executive course is suitable for:

  • Senior executives searching for insights into how cities are governed, planned 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, that are active in global urban markets
  • Individuals looking to understand the implications of rapid urban development on city governance and social inclusion.

Tuition fee: £3,995

Covers all tuition, course materials, daily lunches and networking events. You will receive an LSE certificate of completion at the end of the course.

Part of LSE Executive Education Courses

Programme details

Entry requirements

All LSE executive education participants are required to have:

  • Fluency in English.
  • A good undergraduate degree or significant work experience in a relevant role(s).
  • Minimum two years’ professional experience. Typically our participants have more than ten years’ work experience.

Programme structure

Through lectures, seminars, workshops and site visits, the programme looks at how cities around the world are dealing with major urban challenges such as urban inequality, climate change and affordable housing. Through international project and policy case studies, students will gain a greater understanding of how cities are achieving long term sustainable outcomes through better analysis, planning and governance.

Major topics covered:

How different tiers of government work effectively to bring positive change. The course will look at the functioning of 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
How cities plan for long term goals in an integrated way and how does urban form shape social, economic and environmental outcomes. Topics include: city planning, branding and image; 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; citizen involvement in planning; justifying quality design against other priorities.

How cities finance and fund long term infrastructure. Topics include: how land use and infrastructure planning are brought together in integrated spatial plans; the development and maintenance of physical infrastructure; planning for rapid population growth; access to private finance; decision-making and climate change; private competition vs public management.

How cities coordinate their transport and development plans and promote compact and connected cities? Topics include: the co-benefits of transportation; dealing with congestion; assessing the appropriate role for private and public transport; planning ahead of population growth; shifting modalities from cars to sustainable transportation; cycling and walking; the use of fees and charges to provide incentives; the challenge of managing freight and deliveries.

How cities control increasing house prices. Topics include: 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.

Economic competitiveness
How cities promote inclusive growth? Topics include: competitive advantage of sectors; investment; better deal between the public and private sectors; innovation; the role of new industries; linking skills to jobs; the entrepreneurial city agency; development agencies and their role in economic development.

View a sample timetable of the week >>

Course outcomes

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 areas surrounding King’s Cross, and the expanding Olympic Park development in East London. It will also enable you to:

  • Gain a comprehensive understanding of the key challenges facing both mature and rapidly-developing metropolitan areas
  • Build your awareness of the key challenges facing 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 cities
  • Acquire knowledge of city planning models
  • Gain a greater understanding of local government’s role in economic planning, and competitiveness.

Find out more about LSE Executive Education Courses

Faculty and guest speakers

The course will be taught by:

Ricky Burdett is Professor of Urban Studies at the LSE and Director of the Urban Age and LSE Cities, a global centre of research and teaching at LSE which received the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education 2016-18. He is a member of the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, Council Member of the Royal College of Art and a Trustee of the Norman Foster Foundation. Find out more here

Dr Philipp Rode is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE. He is co-director of the LSE Executive MSc in Cities and co-convenes the LSE Sociology Course on ‘City Making: The Politics of Urban Form’. He holds a PhD from the Department of Sociology at LSE, which focused on urban governance and integrated policy making. Find out more here 

Tony Travers is Director of LSE London, a research centre at the LSE. He is also a Visiting Professor in LSE’s Department of Government. His key research interests include public finance, local/regional government and London government. In 2012-13, he chaired the London Finance Commission and was subsequently a member of the City Growth Commission. Find out more here

Savvas Verdis is a Senior Research Fellow at LSE Cities, the Deputy Director of the Executive MSc in Cities and the founder of Until recently he was a Director of Infrastructure Economics at Seimens Cities. At the LSE, he manages the Executive Education programmes, which include: tailored learning experiences for organisations; the Executive Summer School programme on London and Global Cities; and the Executive MSc in Cities. Find out more here



Jamie Parker, MP for Balmain, New South Wales

"I would recommend this course to anyone interested in the interaction of policy, planning and urban development especially with a view to creating liveable cities." 

Read Jamie's full profile.

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