2022 – Just sustainable futures in an urbanising and mobile world
University College London - Virtual
DSA 2022 focused on the theme of mobility of people – both within and across borders – remains a critical but increasingly contested feature of global capitalism. Cities are the primary destination point for people on the move and most people will live in towns and cities by the end of this century. Urbanisation continues to hold out the promise of modernity and economic growth whilst exacerbating inequalities and posing significant environmental and public health challenges. Urban areas are now focal points for addressing some of the most pressing global problems, including inequalities, lack of decent jobs, resilience and poor health; addressing the ecological footprint of cities will be fundamental to promoting climate justice. Rural-urban linkages remain central to development challenges, including food security, conflict and humanitarian crises, youth employment and structural transformation. Climate change, the ecological crisis, and the COVID-19 pandemic are challenging core assumptions around the nature of development at urban, national and global levels, recasting the nature of equity and justice across north and south and between present and future generations.
This conference adopted justice and equity as central normative lenses to explore just futures in an urbanising and mobile world, facing a climate and ecological crisis in a pandemic or post-pandemic context. It explored the interconnections of these three major processes, and their implications for future development. Thinking across multiple scales and spatialities – rural/urban, urban/national/global – provided new insights into the possibilities of just development futures.
The conference was hosted by UCL academics in the following departments: Bartlett Development Planning Unit, Institute for Global Prosperity, Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction, Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy (UCL STEaPP), Centre for Education and International Development, Institute of Education.
Plenary 1: Urbanising futures and sustainability
- Jo Beall, Professor Emeritus, London School of Economics and Political Sciences
- Aromar Revi, Director of the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS)
- William E. Rees, Professor Emeritus, University of British Columbia
- Christoph Lindner, Dean of the Bartlett, UCL
Sponsored by Oxford Development Studies
Plenary 2: Climate crisis, migration, and responses
- Yvonne Su, Assistant Professor in the Department of Equity Studies, York University, Canada
- Elena Fiddian-Qasmiyeh, University College London
Sponsored by Journal of International Development
Plenary 3: Just sustainable futures and knowledge production
- Mark Swilling, Distinguished Professor of Sustainable Development in the School of Public Leadership, University of Stellenbosch
- Kevin Lo Tek Sheng, Associate Director, David C. Lam Institute for East-West Studies (LEWI); Assistant Professor, Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University
- Farhana Sultana, Associate Professor, Department of Geography and the Environment at the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University
- Andrea Rigon, UCL – (Adriana Allen, President of the Habitat International Coalition (HIC) was unable to attend)
Sponsored by Journal of Development Studies
Pre-conference Webinar 1: The politics and governance of sustainable urban futures
- Gautam Bhan, School of Human Development, Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS)
- Mona Fawaz, Professor in Urban Studies and Planning, American University of Beirut
- Susan Parnell, Global Challenges Research Professor, School of Geography, Bristol University
- Caren Levy, University College London
This event was dedicated to Professor Vanessa Watson
Pre-conference Webinar 2: BRAC@50: what can we learn from the world’s largest NGO?
- The BRAC approach as a global southern experience:
Shahaduz Zaman (Professor in Medical Anthropology and Global Health, Brighton and Sussex Medical School)
Asif Saleh (Executive Director, BRAC Bangladesh)
Tamara Abed (Managing Director, BRAC Enterprises and Chair of Board of Trustees, BRAC University)
- Gender equality and women’s empowerment: A critical reflection on the quiet revolution
Marty Chen (Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Senior Advisor, WIEGO Network)
Sohela Nazneen (Research Fellow, Institute of Development Studies)
Nobonita Chowdhury (Director, Preventing Violence Against Women Initiative and Gender Justice and Diversity, BRAC)
- From Bangladesh to the world: The politics of creating global public goods– the case of BRAC’s Ultra Poor Graduation model
Syed Hashemi (Professor at the School of General Education, BRAC University)
Aude Montesquiou (Senior Advisor, Strategy and Digital Innovations for scaling Economic Inclusion, BRAC Institute of Governance & Development)
Greg Chen (Managing Director, BRAC Ultra-Poor Graduation Initiative).
- Naila Kabeer (Professor of Gender and Development, LSE)
Pre-conference Webinar 3: What role for the university in bringing about just sustainable futures?
- Franciso de Assis Comarú, Associate Professor, Federal University of ABC (São Paulo)
- Mona Harb, Professor of Urban Studies and Politics, American University of Beirut
- Zarina Patel, Associate Professor of Human Geography, University of Cape Town
- Neha Sami, Associate Dean – School of Environment and Sustainability, Indian Institute of Human Settlements (IIHS)
- Barbara Lipietz, Associate Professor, DPU and Vice-Dean International, The Bartlett, Faculty of the Built Environment, University College London
All pre-conference webinars were kindly sponsored by the UCL Grand Challenge and Global Engagement Office.
Read the poem ‘When I look back’ – collaboratively made by DSA2022 conference delegates under the guidance of Cameron Holleran, poet-in-residence at UCL’s Institute for Global Prosperity, based on their reflections of the conference and it’s core theme – Just Sustainable Futures.