Growing Apart: cities, nations and the future of Europe

Hosted by LSE Cities and the European Institute

Online and in-person public event, MAR.1.08 Marshall Building (Portugal St Entrance Only) 44 Lincoln’s Inn Fields London WC2A 3LY


Aziza Akhmouch

Aziza Akhmouch

Head of Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development Division, OECD

Neil Lee

Neil Lee

Professor of Economic Geography, LSE

Ben Rogers

Ben Rogers

Bloomberg Distinguished Fellow in Government Innovation, LSE Cities


Simon Glendinning

Simon Glendinning

Head of the European Institute and Professor in European Philosophy, LSE

Europe’s cities and nations have long been uneasy partners. As the challenges of the 2020s mount — from political polarisation to aging populations to climate change — relations between urban and national governments in Europe are coming under increasing pressure. City leaders seem ever more ready to take a stand against national governments on questions like housing policy (Lisbon), LGBT rights (Italy), public finances (Paris), or democracy (Hungary and Poland). 

This event asks how urban-national political relationships have evolved in Europe in recent decades; what new tensions and alliances are emerging; and what role cities can play in shaping the direction of national and continental politics.  

Ben Rogers, Director of the European Cities Programme at LSE Cities, will be joined by Aziza Akhmouch, Head of Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development at the OECD and Neil Lee, Professor of Economic Geography at the LSE, to reflect on the shifting balance of power between European cities and nations, and what this means for Europe’s future. 

Speakers and Chair
Aziza Akhmouch (@Akhmouch) is the Head of the Cities, Urban Policies and Sustainable Development division within the Centre for entrepreneurship, SMEs, Regions and Cities of the OECD. She oversees a team of 30+ experts providing governments with new data, evidence, analysis and guidance in a wide range of urban policies to foster smart, inclusive, competitive and sustainable cities.  

Neil Lee (@ndrlee) is Professor of Economic Geography at LSE. He convenes the Cities, Jobs and Economic Change theme in the International Inequalities Institute and is Director of BSc Geography with Economics. He is Chair of the Policy Committee of the Regional Studies Association and has worked with public and private sector organisations including the World Bank, the OECD, the European Commission, and the UK government.

Ben Rogers (@ben_rog) is Bloomberg Distinguished Fellow in Government Innovation and Director of the European Cities Programme at LSE Cities. He is also Professor of Practice at the University of London and former Director and founder of Centre for London, an influential think tank on London policy, with an international following. He writes on cities, citizenship, public service reform and the built environment. 

Simon Glendinning (@lonanglo) is Head of the European Institute and Professor in European Philosophy at LSE. Simon has a BPhil and a DPhil in Philosophy from Oxford University. His current research interests include the question of European identity. He is the author of Europe: A Philosophical History – Beyond Modernity. 

Twitter hashtag: #LSEEurope

LSE Cities (@LSECities) is an international centre that investigates the complexities of the contemporary city. It carries out research, graduate and executive education, engagement and advisory activities in London and abroad.

The European Institute (@LSEEI) is a centre for research and graduate teaching on the processes of integration and fragmentation within Europe.

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Photo: Külli Kittus on Unsplash