The New City

Course Convenors: Professor Koen Steemers and Jonathan Smales

Matt DearloveBruce McVeanNeil Murphy

We live in an urban age. Cities are now the principal and arguably most natural human habitat. They are where we come to live, work and socialise; to exchange goods and increasingly ideas.  As home to the majority of the World’s population they are also the frontline of efforts to address the social, environmental and economic impacts of population increase and other demographic changes, the globalisation of Western consumer habits, economic growth and energy-intensive industrialisation.

The urgent need to address these issues also presents a remarkable opportunity – there is a growing body of evidence that the cities that are already addressing these issues are becoming safer, more liveable, easier to move around in, are cleaner, more equitable, better at attracting talented individuals, business and investment and are more successful economically.

This course will examine how our cities can be re-made in ways that will both inspire and enable all to live well – safely, healthily, prosperously, with pleasure and freedom – and within tightly bounded environmental limits. In short, how to ensure cities and their citizens thrive in an uncertain future?

Through lectures, case studies, seminars and visits to recent developments in London and Cambridge the course will explore:

  • demographic, social, cultural, technological, economic and environmental trends and challenges;
  • urban planning, governance and economic development;
  • principles of sustainable urbanism and architecture;
  • the design, delivery and management of green infrastructure and high quality public realm;
  • sustainable transport and the future of mobility;
  • the efficient supply and use of energy and water and management of waste; and
  • quality of life, sustainable lifestyles and the relationship between place and behaviour.


This course is aimed at: Students from a variety of backgrounds – political sciences, economics, geography, architecture, urban design, planning – and will encourage them to work together in order to develop multidisciplinary approaches to solving the complex challenges facing cities.


  • 1 Group project and presentation: 45%
  • 1 Final essay: 45%
  • Participation, progress and attendance: 10%


Lecture Hours: 12 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 15 hours)

Seminar Hours: 8 x 1 hour 15 minutes (total 10 hours)