UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


Making a Difference: Facilitating urban innovation with communities through a place-based approach

22 February 2024, 4:30 pm–6:00 pm

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Join us for a Director's Seminar with Prof Mark Tewdwr-Jones, Professor of Cities and Regions at The Bartlett Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis.

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UCL Institute for Global Prosperity


G29 JZ Young Lecture Theatre
UCL Anatomy Building
Gower Street
United Kingdom

As cities across the world plan their recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, it is more important than ever to think beyond the short and medium term to the longer term and to plan and re-imagine how people want to live, work, and play in our cities. This is an opportunity to rethink places, how they are managed, and who has a voice in shaping change. Our older ways of urban planning and public consultation cannot be sustained at a time of heightened public awareness of strategic issues such as climate change, when communities are turned off by traditional representative government, when public services cannot be delivered due to austerity and financial crisis, and where new technology is enabling citizens to design and utilise alternative democratic platforms to discuss change. This talk looks at the crisis of our cities today by taking a synoptic view of change, considers how deliberative democracy, combined with long term foresight thinking and coproduction methods, could unleash not only a rebirth of democracy that is place-based, but also create the means by which new projects are realised that contribute to urban innovation. Using the example of the urban living platform Newcastle City Futures from North East England, it tells the story of how multiple and varied deliberative approaches need to coexist alongside representative democracy, how citizen-led ideas may be incubated and accelerated opportunistically, but also what tensions may emerge.

Prof Mark Tewdwr-Jones is Bartlett Professor of Cities and Regions at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, UCL. He is a globally recognised scholar, strategist and policy maker, scientific communicator, and innovation facilitator, with over 30 years of experience. He is an authority on urban planning, land use, housing, digital place connectivity, the governance of the city, and public engagement. He has held senior posts at four UK Russell Group universities and visiting and honorary posts at leading universities including Berkeley, Hong Kong, and Dublin. He is in the top 30 most cited urban planning academics globally and has published 20 books. Mark has worked at the very highest level of policy making, including secondment into the UK Chief Scientist’s Foresight Office, has given evidence to Parliamentary select committees, and has served as an advisor to OECD, World Bank, Commonwealth Scholarship Foundation, and UKRI Research Councils.


An access guide to Anatomy G29 JZ Young Lecture Theatre can be found on AccessAble.

About this event series

Deliberative democracy: Rethinking democracy for 21st century prosperity

This Director’s Seminars and Soundbites series provides a thought-provoking exploration of the contemporary discussions surrounding deliberative democracy's structure and form, as well as the possibilities for renewing democracy. It aims to stimulate critical thinking and foster open dialogues regarding the challenges confronting us.

The Director's Seminars are an opportunity for audiences to get an in-depth theoretical perspective on sustainable and inclusive prosperity. These Seminars are given by academics who are pushing for new ways of thinking and new ways of researching society's grand challenges.

For more events in this series visit the series page ►