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Urban Age: Developing Urban Futures Conference
From Thursday 29 November 2018
To Friday 30 November 2018

The Urban Age “Developing Urban Futures” conference, jointly organised by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, will focus on the development of cities in rapidly urbanising countries. By convening urban experts, policymakers and practitioners from sub-Saharan Africa and other world cities, the conference will raise questions about the economic foundations of urban change and investigate how current models of planning and governance succeed or fail to achieve greater integration between efficiency, accessibility and social justice. This will be the seventeenth Urban Age conference organised since 2005, most recently in Delhi, the Venice Biennale, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and London.

Continuing population growth and urbanisation will add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population 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, but in the next few decades this number will swell to over 1.4 billion. The African Development Bank estimates that two-thirds of the investments in urban infrastructure to 2050 have yet to be made. The decisions taken now will affect generations of urban dwellers well into the 21st century, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of urban development is informal and unplanned.

Currently, the development of cities in sub-Saharan Africa is only minimally embedded in a reconfiguration of economies and geographies of production and industrialisation, as was the case in China and East Asia. Nor, with a few exceptions, is the explosion in real estate and large-scale development grounded in extractive economies. By and large, the current development of African cities is grounded in a combination of state interventions and the expansion of commodity markets, which created indigenous business classes who are now investing in the built environments of their countries and cities.

Considering these underlying conditions, the 2018 Urban Age conference will investigate and debate development trajectories for key sub-Saharan African cities, including Addis Ababa, Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, Accra, and Cape Town alongside corresponding cases from the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia. Discussions will be structured around the following interlinked policy issues: economic development, productivity and urban form; housing and social inclusion; urban accessibility, transport and technology; and urban governance and infrastructure development.

Holding the conference in Addis Ababa considers the city as both a relevant and an exceptional case study in understanding trajectories of urban development. Like many other cities on the African continent, it has witnessed a remarkable transformation in recent decades. Addis Ababa’s urban development is a demonstration of the national government’s unprecedented commitment to plan and transform the city through investments in transport, infrastructure, housing and real estate, combined with policies that target the economic bases and spatial organisation of urbanisation, including those concerned with industrialisation and relations with secondary cities.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST

Urban Age conferences are free to attend, but an application is required. The first round of successful applicants will be contacted by the end of June 2018 so please apply early to avoid disappointment. Participants are responsible for any travel-related costs.

Location Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

Urban Age: Developing Urban Futures Conference

From Thursday 29 November 2018
To Friday 30 November 2018

The Urban Age “Developing Urban Futures” conference, jointly organised by LSE Cities at the London School of Economics and the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft, will focus on the development of cities in rapidly urbanising countries. By convening urban experts, policymakers and practitioners from sub-Saharan Africa and other world cities, the conference will raise questions about the economic foundations of urban change and investigate how current models of planning and governance succeed or fail to achieve greater integration between efficiency, accessibility and social justice. This will be the seventeenth Urban Age conference organised since 2005, most recently in Delhi, the Venice Biennale, Hong Kong, Rio de Janeiro and London.

Continuing population growth and urbanisation will add 2.5 billion people to the world’s urban population 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, but in the next few decades this number will swell to over 1.4 billion. The African Development Bank estimates that two-thirds of the investments in urban infrastructure to 2050 have yet to be made. The decisions taken now will affect generations of urban dwellers well into the 21st century, especially in sub-Saharan Africa where the majority of urban development is informal and unplanned.

Currently, the development of cities in sub-Saharan Africa is only minimally embedded in a reconfiguration of economies and geographies of production and industrialisation, as was the case in China and East Asia. Nor, with a few exceptions, is the explosion in real estate and large-scale development grounded in extractive economies. By and large, the current development of African cities is grounded in a combination of state interventions and the expansion of commodity markets, which created indigenous business classes who are now investing in the built environments of their countries and cities.

Considering these underlying conditions, the 2018 Urban Age conference will investigate and debate development trajectories for key sub-Saharan African cities, including Addis Ababa, Lagos, Nairobi, Kampala, Accra, and Cape Town alongside corresponding cases from the Indian subcontinent and South-East Asia. Discussions will be structured around the following interlinked policy issues: economic development, productivity and urban form; housing and social inclusion; urban accessibility, transport and technology; and urban governance and infrastructure development.

Holding the conference in Addis Ababa considers the city as both a relevant and an exceptional case study in understanding trajectories of urban development. Like many other cities on the African continent, it has witnessed a remarkable transformation in recent decades. Addis Ababa’s urban development is a demonstration of the national government’s unprecedented commitment to plan and transform the city through investments in transport, infrastructure, housing and real estate, combined with policies that target the economic bases and spatial organisation of urbanisation, including those concerned with industrialisation and relations with secondary cities.

REGISTER YOUR INTEREST

Urban Age conferences are free to attend, but an application is required. The first round of successful applicants will be contacted by the end of June 2018 so please apply early to avoid disappointment. Participants are responsible for any travel-related costs.

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