• Urban Age

    Shaping the future of global cities

What is Urban Age?

Cities are our future. Since the beginning of the new millennium, half of mankind lives in cities. Outside Europe, cities are attracting even more people. Urban living promises work, and it promises participation in societal development. But how can these growing cities deliver on this promise? “Urban Age” is a global research programme set up by the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft and LSE Cities, an international research center at the London School of Economics and Political Science. It has been investigating these and other questions about the future of cities since 2005.

Why Urban Age?

The population shift towards cities seems both unstoppable and uncontrollable. Infrastructures cannot keep pace with this kind of growth, affecting traffic levels and transport as well as the supply of fresh water, education or medical facilities and affordable living space. Urban planning offers very effective measures to develop and shape life in cities for a better future, especially if it interacts with other disciplines. Successful urban planning projects on different levels demonstrate this time and time again. Urban Age aims to initiate and implement such processes, and to support them with analytic knowledge. This is in line with the aim of the Alfred Herrhausen Gesellschaft to promote a free and open society that enables people to participate in the social and economic aspects of tomorrow’s cities.

How does Urban Age work?

What measurable impact can a research programme have on the development of megacities?
Urban Age has many different answers to this question.

With numerous events, Urban Age has started to build an ever-growing global network of protagonists – architects and urban planners as well as the relevant municipal institutions and administrative authorities. One such event is the Urban Age conference, which has been taking place since 2005 and has been staged in New York, Shanghai, Mexico City, Johannesburg, Berlin, Mumbai, São Paolo, Istanbul, Chicago, Hong Kong, London, Rio de Janeiro, Delhi and, as part of the 2016 Biennale di Architettura, in Venice and last but not least 2018 in Addis Ababa. True to its motto “Think global, act local”, Urban Age always involves local actors.

Tangible results of Urban Age are widely acclaimed publications and the impressive graphics of Urban Age Analytics, which visualise urban developments. The Urban Age website and its social media activities provide at-a-glance information on the work and results of Urban Age.

With COVID cities are challenged immensely. To address these new challenges, the “Urban Age” programme has initiated the Urban Age Debates, a series of five events between January and July 2021 - a global survey of the urban future after 2020.

In April 2019, the two-year "Task Force" project has started: Urban Age and local experts, – as first examples in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and in Athens, Greece – are currently developing interdisciplinary, research-informed proposals for an improved urbanisation and urban development process. In Summer 2021, the Task Force Addis Ababa will present its final results.

Urban Age’s message is getting through. Many of its core topics have been vocalised either directly or indirectly by influential global debates, for example the development of the Post-2015 Development Agenda of the UN with the Sustainable Development Goals, the New Urban Agenda in Habitat III, or the Human Settlements section of the current report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

More up-to-date information about Urban Age and its activities can be found on this website or here.

Media Library

  • Urban Age Debate 2 – Humanising the City Trailer

  • Urban Age Debate 2 – Humanising the City Panel discussion

  • Urban Age Debate 1 – Socialising Remote: Short film

  • Urban Age Debate 1 – Socialising Remote Work: Panel discussion

  • Urban Age Debate 1 – Prof. Richard Florida interviewed by Ricky Burdett

  • “Socialising Remote Work” Panel at ZEIT für Arbeit