Are cities under attack? The ongoing coronavirus pandemic is hitting large cities around the world hard, like no other event in living memory. Its deadly spread exposes the assumptions upon which urban environments are based: density, interdependence, personal interchange, and collective action. The cracks and flaws in the urban fabrics of even the most successful cities—inequality, precariousness, high cost of living—have also been exposed and found wanting. Cities are on trial, and the accusers are asking for a judgement: Will cities die or will they be redeemed?

Will this be the turning point to a deeper understanding of what cities are? A new appreciation of their messy but critical role in human societies? The advent of fundamentally better urban planning and design that works with cities and not against them?

This discussion with world-renowned designer and urbanist Bruce Mau—author of Massive Change and MC24—will explore what design is, how it is all around us in cities, and how understanding and applying design principles offers new pathways for creating fundamentally better cities, beyond current crisis management.

The conversation will blend design thinking with emerging insights from urban science to demonstrate systemic approaches for imagining the future of cities in a post-pandemic world.

Names and Titles of Speakers

Bruce, Mau, Founder, Bruce Mau Studio;
Luis, Bettencourt, Inaugural Director, Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation;
Tomoko, Ichikawa, Clinical Professor, IIT Institute of Design;
Dawveed, Scully, Associate, SOM;
Anne, Dodge, Executive Director, Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation