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Localising Transport: towards the 15-minute city or the one-hour metropolis?

Hosted by LSE Cities, the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and the LSE School of Public Policy

Online public event


Edward Glaeser

Edward Glaeser

Sir Peter Hendy

Sir Peter Hendy

Yolisa Kani

Yolisa Kani


Philipp Rode

Philipp Rode


Philipp Rode

Isabel Dedring

For urban transport, the early 2020s are going to be an inflection point hard to overestimate: digital connectivity will increasingly substitute physical access, public transport finance will require new business models, and fiscal recovery packages have the potential to either entrench transport-intense urban development or accelerate progress towards urban patterns based on density and mixed use. 

The greatest initial risk to sustainable urban transport could be the pandemic-induced increase in the use of private motorised modes of transport and car-centric urban development. At the same time many cities are witnessing increases in walking and cycling and are attracting significant investment to support these modes, alongside new forms of localising urban activities and transport. As a result, uncertainties exist in relation to future mode shares as well as travel distances within cities, including and beyond travel to work.  

Will we witness a shift towards 15-minute walkable urban districts utilising digital connectivity for wider metropolitan accessibility or the persistence of a physically connected one-hour metropolitan region? 

Supported by SAP SE and knowledge partner Teralytics, this Urban Age Debate brings together prominent leaders in mobility and economics who have made profound impacts on the shape of cities, to discuss the future of urban transportation and accessibility over the next decade. 

Edward Glaeser is the Fred and Eleanor Glimp Professor of Economics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Harvard University, where he has taught since 1992. He teaches microeconomics theory, and urban and public economics. He has served as Director of the Taubman Center for State and Local Government, and Director of the Rappaport Institute for Greater Boston. He has published dozens of books and papers on cities, economic growth, law and economics.  

Sir Peter Hendy (@SirPeterHendy) has been the Chair of Network Rail since July 2015, and Chair of the London Legacy Development Corporation since July 2017. Sir Peter was previously Commissioner of Transport for London for nearly 10 years. He started his transport career in 1975 as a London Transport graduate trainee. He is a trustee of London’s Transport Museum and of the Science Museum Group. He was knighted in the 2013 New Year's Honours List, having been made CBE in 2006.

Yolisa Kani is the Chief Business Development Officer (CBDO) of Transnet, a state-owned company which owns and operates South Africa’s rail network, ports, and pipelines. Yolisa has over 22 years’ experience in transport engineering, planning and operations. She previously served as Head of Public Policy in Southern Africa at Uber Technologies. Prior to that, Yolisa held senior government positions in the Ekurhuleni Metro, the Cross-Border Road and Transportation Agency as well as the City of Johannesburg. 

Philipp Rode (@PhilippRode) is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Associate Professorial Research Fellow at LSE. He is co-Director of the LSE Executive MSc in Cities and Executive Director of the Urban Age Programme. As researcher, consultant and advisor he has been directing interdisciplinary projects comprising urban governance, transport, city planning and urban design at LSE since 2003. His current work focuses on institutional structures and governance capacities of cities and on sustainable urban development, transport and mobility. 

Isabel Dedring is a Global Transport Leader and Group Board Member at Arup where she is responsible for Arup’s global transport agenda and cementing the firms integrated approach to transport and urban development. She was London’s Deputy Mayor for Transport from 2011-2016 where her major projects included a £1bn cycling programme, a £4bn progressive roads investment programme, and leading on major transport construction projects such as extensions to the underground and devolution of rail services. 

Twitter hashtag for this event: #UrbanAgeDebates

Podcast, video and other supporting material

Trailer for Localising Transport

Video of live event

Debate summary: Key takeaways 

Listen to the podcast 

Blog post by Edward Glaeser on why the 15-minute city is a dead end


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