26 Nov 2009 All day Department of Architecture, 1-5 Scroope Terrace, Cambridge, CB2 1PX


This event is now full. If you wish to be put on a waiting list, please contact Samuel Mather who will contact you if a space becomes available.


Alastair Donald (Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge)
Ye Zhang (Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge)
Kam Shing Leung (Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge)
Matthew French (Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge)

Official Conference website


For comprehensive information regarding the conference speakers, programme and sub-sessions and the conference blog please follow the above link.

Conference summary

What is the future for cities? Are they expanding at an ever-increasing rate or are they being abandoned and shrinking into oblivion? Are cities polluted and overcrowded, or isolated and anonymous? Are they sociable or anti-social? Well, it depends who you read because each description reflects the confusion about the state of the world's cities. The economic and cultural anxiety pervasive in western cities, and fears over megacities in the developing world have had a significant impact on the way that we see the benefits and drawbacks of urbanisation. As a result, many commentators and theorists appear profoundly pessimistic as to the future prospects for the city and the planet. It has been said that a culture of shrinkage is set to develop; or alternatively, that the city will have finally swallowed the world.

So how should we, in the post-crash world, seek to reinvigorate the social, cultural and economic life of our urban centres? Do widely expressed fears represent a welcome mood of caution in hazardous times? Or should we be concerned at a collapse in our own belief in the benefits of an urbanised future? How might new opportunities be maximised and social advances realised? Does the ‘minimum’ city provide a means to retrench, rethink and rebuild? Or is a ‘maximum’ urbanism the answer, based on expansive cities for a dynamic and globalised planet?

From transport systems to energy grids, from social networks to economic activity, this is the forum in which to debate the implications of min/max alternatives.  And given the often fraught debates over lifestyles, liberties, aesthetic values and technologies, to clarify the cultural attributes that can best help address the urban future.

Sessions include:


Tel: +44 1223 766886
Email enquiries@crassh.cam.ac.uk