Urban Futures Initiative

A global seminar series on Urban Futures by TheAGS

We are pleased to present the AGS series of global seminars on urban futures. All seminars were webcast and include presentations from Boston, Cape Town, Göteborg, Zurich and Bali. The aim is to bring together thinking, in a global context, about the highly complex area of urban futures. The ideas and issues brought up at the seminars culminated in the AGS Annual Meeting held at ETH in January 2009.

Urban areas around the world are vital centers of culture, leadership, and opportunity. Many cities are growing at a dramatic rate, especially in developing countries and the world’s urban population – already more than 50% of the global population – is forecast to reach 80-85% by 2030. Although rapid urban development often leads to severe environmental and social problems, it could prove to be an outstanding opportunity to achieve greater sustainability. Accomplishing this, will require breakthroughs in technology, planning and the governance of cities.

The AGS engaged researchers from all partner universities throughout the disciplines in integrative study of the Urban Futures topic by holding five intensive seminars during 2008-2009. Each seminar offered a distinctive view of the urban futures theme. For example, UT emphasized risks of mega-cities from global warming and the relationship between urban and peri-urban interaction; Chalmers seminar in Cape Town, South Africa, had the theme “Integrating Sustainability into African Urban Growth”.

We expect these seminars to integrate activities both within and across AGS universities and collaborators and to result in an interdisciplinary agenda for urban futures research. Industry and government are key partners in this effort.

More information:
Sebastien Rauch
Coordinator AGS Urban Futures Initiative