The 21st-Century City and Its Values: Urbanism, Toleration, and Equality
Program Schedule

Friday, October 1, 2004
Miller Theatre

Registration and ticketing is required as seating is limited. To sign up online, see REGISTER NOW at right.

Cochairs Hilary Ballon and Ira Katznelson

9:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.

The city as we understand it may be irrelevant to much of the world in the 21st century. The explosive pace of urbanization in the Asia Pacific Rim has produced a distinctive type of urban environment characterized by enormous size, extreme density, building projects at a vast scale, and the irrelevance of traditional urban forms and concepts. These urbanized areas are expanding beyond the ability of governments to provide adequate housing, clean water and air, and other aspects of infrastructure. They are also expanding beyond the ability of planners and urban designers to control growth and organize urban life. In the next fifty years the urban experience of the majority of the world's population will more closely resemble the urbanized areas of Asia than the cities of the United States and Europe.

What are the implications of this new pattern of urban settlement for thinking about urban form, urban planning, and design? Do traditional concepts apply or do these conditions require new forms of urbanism? Are existing models of urbanism relevant to the conditions of emerging world cities? Do the disciplinary assumptions, professional biases, or conceptual frameworks of the Western tradition of planning and urban design limit the contribution these fields can make to the improvement of living conditions and urban life? What must be done to meet the challenges of urbanism in the 21st century?


Marilyn Jordan Taylor
Urban Design and Planning Partner, Skidmore, Owings & Merrill

Yung Ho Chang
Founder, Atelier FCJZ
Founder, Graduate Center of Architecture, Peking University

Steven Holl
Associate Professor of Architecture, Columbia University

Concluding remarks
Mark Wigley
Dean, Columbia University School of Architecture

Hilary Ballon
Professor of Art History and Archaeology, Columbia University

12:00 p.m.–1:30 p.m.

1:30 p.m.–3:00

Tolerating difference and fabricating institutions to deal with human diversity are central urban challenges. Not surprisingly, some of the most interesting and robust ideas about tolerance have been developed about and debated within large cities. Certainly this has been the case both in Western cities since their founding in medieval and early modern Europe and in urban settings elsewhere. These discussions indicate that toleration is a complex idea. It connotes possibilities for parity and fairness for people who differ from each other in ways that often matter deeply. By setting boundaries between those eligible to be tolerated and those outside the ken of toleration, it also can produce disparity and inequity. Today it may both be harder and more important than ever before to reinvigorate toleration and to cherish the variety of ways of life while coping with its perils. These circumstances include the coexistence of multiple cultures and religions marked by deep differences in values, beliefs, and interests, the daily engagement of dissimilar peoples with each other, and the global expansion of markets, communication, and ideas. Which ideas, institutions, and relationships offer the best possibilities for the most desirable features of toleration under contemporary urban conditions?

Keynote Speaker
Martha Nussbaum
Ernst Freund Distinguished Service Professor of Law and Ethics, University of Chicago

Kathleen Sullivan
Dean and Richard E. Lang Professor of Law and Stanley Morrison Professor of Law, Stanford University

Ira Katznelson
Ruggles Professor of Political Science, Columbia University

3:00 p.m.–3:30 p.m.

3:30 p.m.–5:00 p.m.

Urban social geographies, institutions, and patterns of interaction tend to compress and intensify bases of inequality and possibilities of more equal standing. In their densely built environments, common humanity and bounded differences vie and coexist. This panel considers how urbanity and pluralism intersect to advance or retard social, political, and economic equality among individuals and groups. In cities, a concatenation of bases for potential inequality exist, including differences based on work, gender, ethnicity, race, and length of residence, among other factors. How does the organization of cities—their spaces, their political systems, their normative expectations, their economic organization, and their patterns of social relationships—advance or retard egalitarian ambitions? As with toleration, these challenges are particularly intense in urban settings marked by vast and fast flows of information, movement of people and ideas, as well as histories and memories of grievance.

Keynote Speaker
Partha Chatterjee
Professor of Anthropology, Columbia University; Professor of Political Science, Centre for Studies in the Social Sciences, Calcutta

Richard Sennett
Professor of Sociology and Chair, The Cities Programme, London School of Economics

Lisa Anderson
Professor of Political Science and Dean, School of International and Public Affairs, Columbia University

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