Global Urban Network Seminar 2: Building Sustainable Cities at the Neighbourhood Scale

When and Where

Monday, March 22, 2021 9:00 am to 10:00 am


Professor Maarten Hajer, Urban Futures Studio, Utrecht University
Professor Mee Kam Ng, Institute for Future Cities, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Professor Luis Bettencourt, Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, University of Chicago
Moderated by: Professor Karen Chapple, UC Berkeley


How can studying the actions and impacts of neighbourhoods reveal insights about achieving urban sustainability on a global scale? Participants will discover efforts underway by scholars around the world to quantify and accelerate the progress of urban development and sustainability focusing on the scale of the neighbourhood. 





Join the conversation with #Urban2021 on Twitter and LinkedIn.


Watch Session 2 Recording Here

About the Speakers

Luís M. A. Bettencourt is the Inaugural Director of the Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation and Professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago, as well as an External Professor of Complex Systems at the Santa Fe Institute. He was trained as a theoretical physicist and obtained his undergraduate degree from Instituto Superior Técnico (Lisbon, Portugal) in 1992, and his PhD from Imperial College (University of London, UK) in 1996 for research in statistical and high-energy physics models of the early Universe.  He has held postdoctoral positions at the University of Heidelberg (Germany), Los Alamos National Laboratory (Director’s Fellow and Slansky Fellow) and at MIT (Center for Theoretical Physics). He has worked extensively on complex systems theory and on cities and urbanization, in particular. His research emphasizes the creation of new interdisciplinary synthesis to describe cities in quantitative and predictive ways, informed by classical theory from various disciplines and the growing availability of empirical data worldwide. He is the author of over 100 scientific papers and several edited books. His research has been featured in leading media venues, such as the New York Times, Nature, Wired, New Scientist, and the Smithsonian.

Karen Chapple, Ph.D., is Professor and Chair of City & Regional Planning at the University of California, Berkeley, where she holds the Carmel P. Friesen Chair in Urban Studies. Chapple studies inequalities in the planning, development, and governance of regions in the U.S. and Latin America, with a focus on economic development and housing. In Fall 2015, she co-founded the Urban Displacement Project, a research portal examining patterns of residential, commercial, and industrial displacement, as well as policy and planning solutions. She received a Fulbright Global Scholar Award for 2017-2018 to explore expanding the Urban Displacement Project to cities in Europe and Latin America, and was a Visiting Scholar at NYU's Center for Urban Science and Progress, University College London's Centre for Advanced Spatial Analytics, Polytechnic University of Madrid, the University of Sydney, the University of Buenos Aires, and the Universidad de los Andes.

Chapple holds a B.A. in Urban Studies (Phi Beta Kappa) from Columbia University, an M.S.C.R.P from the Pratt Institute, and a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley. She is a founding member of the MacArthur Foundation's Research Network on Building Resilient Regions. Prior to academia, Chapple spent ten years as a practicing planner in economic development, land use, and transportation in New York and San Francisco.

Maarten A. Hajer is distinguished professor Urban Futures and Director of the Urban Futures Studio at Utrecht University. Maarten is also the Scientific Director of the university-wide strategic theme 'Sustainability' and the lead author of its new programme, 'Pathways to Sustainability'. 

Previously Hajer was professor of Public Policy at the University of Amsterdam and Director-General of the PBL – Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency. Hajer holds MA degrees in Political Science and in Urban and Regional Planning (both University of Amsterdam) and got his D.Phil. in Politics from Oxford University.
He is the author of over ten scholarly books. His most recent book is Neighbourhoods for the Future: A Plea for Social and Ecological Urbanism published in early 2021. The book revisits the neighbourhood as the appropriate scale to build our urban futures: it is small enough to be tangible, large enough to make a difference. Introducing the concepts of neighbourhood arrangements and ecologies, the book provides a new perspective on the relation between participants, resources, and rules to spark change and realise future sustainable living.

Professor Mee Kam Ng is Vice-Chairman of the Department of Geography and Resource Management, the Director of the Urban Studies Programme, Associate Director of the Institute of Future Cities, the Hong Kong Institute of Asian Pacific Studies and the Yunus Social Business Centre at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She is a member of the Royal Town Planning Institute, a fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners and academic advisor of the Hong Kong Institute of Urban Design. She was elected as a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in the United Kingdom in 2016. She has completed over 30 research projects and published widely on planning, governance and sustainability issues in Pacific Asia. Her publications have earned her six Hong Kong Institute of Planners’ Awards and the 2015 Association of European Schools of Planning Best Published Paper Award. She has been consultant to the United Nations, the European Union and the Municipal Government of Shenzhen. She is an associate editor the Royal Town Planning Institute’s academic journal, Planning Theory and Practice as well as an associate editor of ARI-Springer Asia Book Series (Cities section). She also serves as a member of the editorial board of Town Planning Review, Urban Studies, DisP—The Planning Review and City, Culture and Society, and Business Strategy and the Environment.

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