Entrepreneurship, City Branding, Urban Economics - Complexity and the City

Rachel Isaac-Menard's picture
June 17, 2020
United Kingdom
Subject Fields: 
Business History / Studies, Economic History / Studies, Government and Public Service

Complexity and the City – Life, Design and Commerce in the Built Environment


Themes: Entrepreneurship, Finance, City Branding and Urban Economics in relation to city planning, architecture, technology, art and cultural industries


Dates: 17-19 June 2020

Abstracts: 01 December 2019 

Place: CITY University of London




Today, ideas such as Michael Porter’s ‘business cluster’ are well established tenets of geographical economics. The notion of the city as a centre of consumption and global finance is fully integrated into macro economic policy. The world city hypothesis is fully embedded in the everyday lexicon of both business and popular culture. Research agencies such as UK Research and Innovation prioritise place based approaches to economic growth as a matter of course.

In this context architects such as Rem Koolhaas and Patrik Schumacher embrace the chaos of the Neoliberal city, promoting architecture and urban development as both a vehicle for and reflection of economic growth. Innovative architectural firms such as SHOP have embedded financial expertise into their modes of operation, leading the way for new ways of financing the design and construction professions. The city, and the buildings that make it up then, now operate in a fully interconnected financial system that informs both what our cities look like, how they operate, and how they are conceived and designed.

This complexity has historical roots identified as far back as the late 1960s and early 1970s. By then, the urban economics field was already affecting design thinking. William Alonso was embedding spatial relationships in questions of financial theory. Daniel Bell’s consideration of the post-industrial landscape had fully demarcated the city as a spatio-economic phenomena, and throughout the 1980s governments across the world set up special economic zones which functioned as motors for major economic growth.

Some fifty years on from the establishment of urban economics as a discreet discipline, this conference asks how current developments in entrepreneurship, finance, city branding and business will affect the future of our cities: the business they house, the forms they will take in design, and how they will respond to issues as diverse as emerging hi-tec industries and climate change.



Pre-recorded and skype film presentation are available for delegates unable to attend in person. Pre-recorded presentations will be permanently available on the AMPS YouTube channel



Publishers include: Routledge Taylor&Francis, Intellect Books, Vernon Press, Cambridge Scholar Publishing, Libri Publishing and UCL Press.



The conference is coordinated by City University of London and PARADE (Publication and Research in Art, Architectures, Design and Environments) in collaboration with AMPS (Architecture, Media, Politics, Society).


More information:


Contact Info: 

Cindee Hogan

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