Guest Lecture - The Future of Sustainable Neighbourhoods

In this guest lecture Josef Konvitz, Honorary Professor at the University of Glasgow and former Head, Urban Affairs and Regulatory Policy Divisions at OECD, explored how sustainable neighbourhoods might help cities respond to challenges of globalisation and widening inequality.

You can listen to his presentation by clicking on the link in the blue box above.

Globalisation has spurred urban development around the world, and has helped billions of people to move out of poverty. Trade, it turns out, is more important than we thought when trying to explain economic performance and social outcomes, but the subject is more complicated when some cities specialize in the service sector, and others in manufacturing.

Globalisation is also blamed for widening inequality which is fueling populism and protectionism. These political trends, which reflect regional disparities within countries, are jeopardizing the gains realized worldwide in terms of better incomes, better education, better health, and will make sustainability and the challenge of climate change, particularly in urban areas, much more difficult to address.

In his guest lecture, Professor Konvitz explored three important areas:

  1. Place-based design (or place-making) with attention to housing and the environment, and education, often come to the top of the list of policy options. Why? How can place-based design support sustainable neighbourhoods?
  2. The OECD, the UN, the World Bank have all promoted multi-level governance, cross-sectoral policy integration, and cross-generational participation for over 25 years. But, the mix of top-down and bottom-up initiatives has proven difficult to get right. What can we learn from our mistakes?
  3. The guest lecture will conclude with a look ahead to the impact of climate change at neighborhood level, and asks: can the climate change agenda create more political traction for the support and design of sustainable neighborhoods?