Urban Thinkers Campus: The New Urban Normal




About Urban Thinkers Campus 

We are excited to announce that the Global Urban Lab has been invited to host the second Urban Thinkers Campus (UTC) of 2020, titled 'The New Urban Normal: Urban Sustanability and Resilience Post COVID19', discussing the COVID19 pandemic. The UTC is part of UNHabitat's World Urban Campaign, providing open spaces for exchanges between stakeholders to promote sustainable urbanisation, as well as advocateing enlightened planning and design. This year, the UTC has become entirely digital. 


Three-part event

The UTC is organised in three sessions during June and July. While two sessions will focus on what is happening on the ground in the Global South (Sessions 1 and 3), showing how the pandemic has exposed several  structural deficiencies around the world, the third event (UTC) will focus on future actions and opportunities for positive change. 


17.06 - Perspectives from the Global South

24.06 - The Green New Deal

13.07 - Housing in Africa


Day 2 - 24.06.2020

The Green New Deal


On 24 JUNE at 18:00 (CET) TU Delft, the Global Urban Lab and the World Urban Campaign (UN-Habitat) will promote a discussion on the European Commission’s GREEN DEAL FOR EUROPE and the UK GREEN NEW DEAL, coupled with a discussion on how to “build back better” after the pandemic, while tackling climate change and growing inequality.




Costanza LaMantia (Urbanist and former advisor at UN-Habitat)


Sander Happaerts (European Commission, Directorate-General for Regional and Urban Policy, the “spatial planning” branch of the EU).

Robert Magowan (policy advisor for the UK government, and activist with Green New Deal UK).

Julian Siravo (Urban and Design strategist at Common-Wealth, UK, a UK-based Think Tank which focusses on transformation six vital areas of life: reimagining social institutions, stewarding land and nature, democratising enterprise, rewiring finance, digital commons and redefining internationalism).



Day 3 - 13.07.2020

Housing in Africa

Participants tbc





Past events

Day 1 - 17.06.2020

Perspectives from the Global South

This UTC proposes a series of short accounts from urban scholars in the Global South reflecting on the changes produced by the COVID-19 pandemic on the organisation, sustainability and resilience of cities. Scholars are invited to give a 10-minute pitch explaining how the pandemic has affected those issues in selected cities. After pitches, scholars will debate with the public. TU Delft’s Global Urban Lab will reflect on pitches and on the topic of the UTC. After this, the floor will be open for questions from the public.

The COVID19 pandemic has exposed several systemic failures and injustices in the way cities are planned and designed around the world, not least connected to the capacity of societies to withstand systemic shocks. Housing, for instance, has come to the top of the agenda once again, now propelled by the realisation that slums dwellers (1 billion people around the world) and homeless people are particularly vulnerable to health crises. Inequality is particularly harmful, because while the very poor are most vulnerable to societal disarray, the interconnectedness of our societies mean that we are all equally affected by those system shocks. The pandemic is saluted as an opportunity to implement far-reaching systems change. For example, several cities around the world claim they will overhaul public space, take space from private cars, and invest more on green spaces, bicycle paths and quality public mobility. The champions of the circular economy salute the pandemic as a new dawn for more human-centred capitalism, for the abandonment of exploitation and unfair distribution, and a world where workers can find housing, health, work and leisure fairly distributed. But what is actually happening on the ground? The Indian government has recently foregone all labour protection laws in favour of competitiveness and entrepreneurialism. In Latin America, workers are losing rights and social protection. Is COVID19 the dawn of a new world, or the radicalisation of neoliberalism, predicted by Naomi Klein in her book “The Shock Doctrine”? 



Dr. Luz Maria Vergara and Dr. Igor Pessoa (TU Delft)



Mrudhula Koshi (State of Kerala, India) (PhD candidate, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)

Higor Carvalho (São Paulo, Brazil) (PhD candidate, Universidade de São Paulo, former advisor for the secretary of housing for the City of São Paulo)

George Zaborski (Minsk, Belarus) (Minsk Urban Platform)

Javier Ruiz-Tagle (Santiago, Chile) (Pontifical Catholic University of Chile)



Dr. Roberto Rocco and Dr. Caroline Newton (TU Delft)


Missed the event? A full length recording will be posted in the upcoming days.