Cities: Governance, Planning and Design

  • Executive
  • LSE Cities
  • Application code EE962
  • Starting 2020
  • 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 running 15 - 19 June 2020

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

Includes all LSE tuition, course materials, daily lunches, and networking events. You will also be awarded an LSE certificate of completion at the end of the five days.

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:

  • Professor Ricky Burdett
  • Director, the Urban Age and LSE Cities; Professor of Urban Studies, LSE

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. He was Director of the Venice International Architecture Biennale and Curator of the Global Cities Exhibition Tate Modern in London. He was a member of the UK Government Airport Commission (2012-2015) and a member of the UK Government’s Urban Task Force. In 2014, Burdett was a Visiting Professor in Urban Planning and Design at the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University and Global Distinguished Professor at New York University (2010-2014). Alongside his academic activities, Burdett acts as a consultant to national and city governments, private companies and philanthropic agencies. He was Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the 2012 London Olympics and Adviser for the Architecture and Urbanism Unit, Mayor of London (2001-2006). He is co-editor of Shaping Cities in an Urban Age (2018), The SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century (2017), Living in the Endless City (2011) and The Endless City (2007). Burdett was appointed CBE in the 2017 New Year’s Honours list for services to urban design and planning.

  • Dr Philipp Rode
  • Executive Director, LSE Cities; Associate Professorial Research Fellow, LSE; Co-Director, Executive MSc in Cities, LSE

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. As a researcher, consultant and advisor he has been directing interdisciplinary projects comprising urban governance, transport, city planning and urban design at the LSE since 2003. The focus of his current work is on institutional structures and governance capacities of cities as part of an international collaboration with UN-Habitat/Habitat III and on city-level green economy strategies, which includes co-directing the LSE Cities research for the Global Commission on the Economy and Climate. He has previously led the coordination of the chapters on Green Cities and Green Buildings for the United Nations Environment Programme’s Green Economy Report. He is Executive Director of the Urban Age Programme and since 2005 has organised Urban Age conferences in partnership with Deutsche Bank’s Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft in over a dozen 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 Towards New Urban Mobility: The case of London and Berlin (2015), Cities and Energy: Urban morphology and heat energy demand (2014), Transforming Urban Economies (2013) and Going Green: How cities are leading the next economy (2012).

  • Professor Tony Travers
  • Director, LSE London; Visiting Professor, LSE; Chair, British Government@LSE

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. Following this, he chaired an independent commission on local government finance in Wales from 2015-16. He has been an advisor to the House of Commons Education Select Committee and also the Communities and Local Government Select Committee. He is a research board member of the Centre for Cities and a board member of the New Local Government Network. He is an Honorary Member of the Chartered Institute of Public Finance & Accountancy. He has published a number of books on cities and government, including Failure in British Government The Politics of the Poll Tax (1994), Paying for Health, Education and Housing How does the Centre Pull the Purse Strings (2000), The Politics of London: Governing an Ungovernable City (2003) and, most recently, London’s Boroughs at 50 (2015).

  • Dr Savvas Verdis
  • Senior Research Fellow, LSE Cities; Deputy Director of the Executive MSc in Cities

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. He previously worked in the advisory service of LSE Cities and led the research of the ninth Urban Age conference in Rio de Janeiro. He has consulted numerous city and national governments on their infrastructure strategies in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Ethiopia, Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Turkey. From 2009 to 2012, he was founder and CEO of Property Analytics, an algorithm-based property rating website that ranked residential properties in London and New York. He received his PhD from Cambridge University in 2007.


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