Since 2009, this initiative has included an annual conference, organized by Saskia Sassen, through the Committee on Global Thought and the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation (GSAPP), with additional partners.

These unique conferences draw heavily on participants from beyond academia, from scientists and activists to environmentalists and architects to interrogate contemporary urbanism from a multidimensional perspective. From economic violence to green architecture, events in this series are designed to push the boundaries of our understanding and conceptualization of the cities we live in.

April 11, 2014

Mobilities in Cities: From Visible to Invisible

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Past Events

Theatrum Mundi/Global Street: Presence and Absence in the City (2012)

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Sennett and Burdett

This conference was a collaboration between Sassen and Richard Sennet (University Professor of the Humanities, New York University and Founder of Theatrum Mundi). It brought together visual artists, choreographers, architects and others with sociologists and urbanists from academia to discuss the changing urban landscapes of the present and future. Through theoretical conversations and discussions on real life projects the conference aimed to instigate new thinking about public space via the participation of architects, urban planners, artists, designers and social researchers.

Co-organized by the Institute for Public Knowledge (NYU)

China: Supercities and Mega-Migrations: China’s Urban Futures (2011)

By 2025, China is expected to have 15 super-cities with an average population of 25 million. Europe will have none. This conference assembled scholars and practitioners from a variety of fields to develop a fuller, interdisciplinary view of the migration flows and rapidly transforming spaces that are revolutionizing China. Panels topics included Migrations: Post-Economic Crisis Patterns and Potentials; Super-Cities: Green and Smart?; “The Super City” and the “Right to a Slum”; and Architecture + Environment.

Cities and Eco-Crises (2010)

Urbanists, biologists, nanotechnologists, and sustainable cities activists addressed the relation between environment and cities, including landgrabs and their consequences, forced migration to the cities and environmental refugees, climate change and systems resilience to climate variability, engineering and technology of flooding, urban services and the challenges of waste management.

Cities and the New Wars (2009)

How do cities confront conflict? This conference approached this question from two perspective. First, it explored the multiple meanings of the new urban wars: asymmetric armed conflict, US Army training for the “urban enemy,” forms of economic violence that kill, cities and urban space as a technology for war, and civil war refugees and their flight from and to cities. Secondly, it probed the limits of power and of war: the role of the civic, war and law, the consequences of the growing global web of interdependencies.