Speaking this week in Birmingham and Bristol

Talking at a couple of events this week –

One is at the British Science Festival in Birmingham on Friday, in a session on Future Cities. I’m chairing that one, but I get to introduce – even if only to tell the assembled throng about a book they ought to buy later in the year…


Future cities

Date: 17 September 2010

Time: 16:00 to 17.45

Venue: Aston University main building, room 549 (5th floor)

Cities are growing – fast. Every week 1.3 million more people arrive in cities, and by 2050 some 70% of the world’s population will be city dwellers. But what will cities of the future be like? Will they be managed sustainably – and if so, how? And what will they look like and be like to live in? This session, taking place in one of Britain’s largest cities, will look at the changes in store for city dwellers.


16.00 Introduction

Jon Turney, author of The Rough Guide to the Future

16.10 Smart cities and ecowarriors

Professor CJ Lim, Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London

What is a Smartcity? Instead of a reactive approach to the problems that contemporary life has thrown up, the Smartcity examines how we might live from first principles, taking the key component of any city – its people – as its starting point. And a central component of the Smartcity is urban agriculture: an ecological symbiosis between nature and built form.

16.50 Beyond sustainability

Austin Williams, Director, The Future Cities Project

Developing a cogent vision of the future of towns and cities demands clarity about what it is we are trying to create. Architects’ contribution to that vision is compromised today by environmental thinking, which sees buildings as nothing more than consumers of energy and emitters of carbon. To overcome this mindset, we need to look at cities as an idea, rather than as an arrangement of streets.

17.30 General discussion

Chair: Jon Turney

Then, after staying Saturday for this fascinating event using film to illuminate past visions of the future, back in Bristol Sunday for a session preceding a screening of the mega-restoration of Metropolis at the Watershed.

Everyone ought to see the movie in its full glory, obviously. If you want, you can come and hear some chat beforehand about futures, utopias, cities and how our views have changed – whether through the influence of movies or otherwise. Not coincidentally, this is chaired by one of the Thursday speakers, so I’m planning to be extra nice to everyone in Birmingham.

Bristol details:

Sunday 19 Sep, 13.00

Film and fiction have played a significant role in framing visions of the future. As the world tries to tackle climate change and population growth, where does the future lie and what will it look like? Author Austin Williams talks to George Ferguson CBE architect and cultural entrepreneur and Jon Turney, author of the ‘Rough Guide to the Future’, about how we have shifted from Metropolis to cataclysmic dystopian nightmares and ask and what has happened to utopian vision?

Presented by Festival of Ideas and Watershed in association with the Royal Institute of British Architects.

Fee: Special price of £8.00 / £6.50 when booking together with tickets for Metropolis, screened after the talk at 14:30hrs. Talk/film only: £4.50 full / £3.50 concs (including RIBA members).

Metropolis is screening from Fri 10 Sept for at least 2 weeks.

Not sure what we all do about Sunday lunch, but if you want to see the film after,  sandwiches may help.

Meanwhile, here’s Lang’s city in all it’s glory.

Explore posts in the same categories: cities, futures past

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