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Developing Urban Futures

Hosted by LSE Festival: New World (Dis)Orders

Sheikh Zayed Theatre, New Academic Building


Professor Jo Beall

Professor Jo Beall

Professor Ricky Burdett

Professor Ricky Burdett

Professor Alcinda Honwana

Professor Alcinda Honwana

Dr Philipp Rode

Dr Philipp Rode


Professor Susan Parnell

Professor Susan Parnell

Following on from the Developing Urban Futures Urban Age Conference orgainised by LSE Cities in Addis Ababa in November 2018, this event will explore urban dynamics in rapidly changing Sub-Saharan African cities, and discuss how current models of planning and governance succeed or fail, addressing specific urban conditions on the ground.

Continuing population growth and urbanisation will add 2.5 billion more people to the world’s cities by 2050, with nearly 90 per cent of the increase concentrated in Asia and Africa. Today, around 40 per cent of Africans are urban dwellers, about 500 million people. In the next few decades this number will swell to over 1.4 billion. Ethiopia is moving at great pace from a predominantly rural economy to an urban one, with Addis Ababa growing at an annual rate of about 4% —twice the rate of Beijing or Jakarta.

Estimates suggest that two-thirds of the investments in urban infrastructure to 2050 have yet to be made and decisions taken now will affect generations of city dwellers well into the 21st century.

The event will draw on recent comparative research by the Urban Age Programme across Sub-Saharan African cities including Addis Ababa, Lagos, Kampala and LSE Cities’ research on the governance of transport and sanitation infrastructure in the Ethiopian cities of Addis Ababa and Dire Dawa. Understanding the boundaries between infrastructure systems tends to be neglected in urban research. Yet it is here, at these infrastructure interfaces, where many critical questions for cities arise: who governs, who decides, who funds, who connects?

Jo Beall (@JoBeall1) is Director Cultural Engagement at the British Council and a Professorial Research Fellow at the LSE. Professor Beall has conducted research in Africa and Asia on urban development and governance as well as cities in situations of conflict and state fragility. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences and was recently awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the Open University.

Ricky Burdett (@BURDETTR) is Professor of Urban Studies at LSE and Director of the Urban Age and LSE Cities. He sits on the Mayor of London’s Cultural Leadership Board, and was a member of the UK Government Airport Commission (2012-2015); Chief Adviser on Architecture and Urbanism for the 2012 London Olympics; and Architecture and Urbanism Adviser to the Mayor of London (2001-2006). Burdett acts as a consultant to national and city governments, private companies and philanthropic agencies.

Alcinda Honwana is a Centennial Professor at LSE based in the Firoz Lalji centre for Africa and the Department of International Development. She is also a Visiting Professor of Anthropology and International Development at the Open University, where she held a Chair in International Development and has been an Inter-regional Adviser on social development policy at the United Nations. Honwana developed extensive research on youth transitions, social movements and youth politics in Africa. Her latest books: Youth and Revolution in Tunisia (2013) and The Time of Youth: Work, Social Change and Politics in Africa (2012).

Philipp Rode (@PhilippRode) is Executive Director of LSE Cities and Co-Director of the Executive MSc in Cities at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He has been directing interdisciplinary projects comprising urban governance, transport, city planning and urban design at the LSE since 2003 and is a member of the Board of Directors of the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy (ITDP).

Susan Parnell co-founded the African Centre for Cities. She has been actively involved in local, national and global urban policy debates around the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal and is an active advocate for better science policy engagement on cities. Recent books include Building a Capable State: Post Apartheid Service Delivery (Zed, 2017) and The Urban Planet (Cambridge, 2017).

Twitter hashtags for this event: #LSEFestival #NewWorldDisorders

This event is part of the LSE Festival: New World (Dis)Orders running from Monday 25 February to Saturday 2 March 2019, with a series of events exploring how social science can tackle global problems.


The powerpoint slides for  this event are available to download from Developing Urban Futures.

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This event has been certified for CPD purposes by the CPD Certification Service. Self-Assessment Record forms will be made available for delegates wishing to record further learning and knowledge enhancement for Continuing Personal and Professional Development (CPD) purposes. For delegates who wish to obtain a CPD Certificate of Attendance, it is the responsibility of delegates to register their details with a LSE steward at the end of the event and as of 1 September 2014 a certificate will be sent within 28 days of the date of the event attended by the CPD Certification Service.  If a delegate fails to register their details at the event, it will not prove possible to issue a certificate. (For queries relating to CPD Certificates of attendance after a request please phone 0208 840 4383 or email info@cpduk.co.uk).
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