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. 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.

In April 2019, the two-year „Task Force“ programme has started: In cooperation between Urban Age and local experts, a task force – as a first example in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – is currently developing interdisciplinary, research-informed proposals for an improved urbanisation and urban development process. In March 2020, the Task Force Athens was launched. As a partnership between the City of Athens and the Urban Age programme, it will address key priority areas in Athens’ urban development.

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 the Urban Age programme and its activities can be found on this website or here.

Urban Age Partner

Our partner in the Urban Age programme is LSE Cities. LSE Cities is an international research center at the London School of Economics and Political Science, which is active in research, teaching, initiating and implementing outreach activities in London and other cities worldwide. More information on LSE Cities can be found here:

Upcoming Activities in our Project Area „Cities“

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