The Global City Today

15 October 2012
Upper Stage
A discussion about the nature of the contemporary metropolis in an era of globalization and crisis.
Free admission
Can we talk about a new era in the history of cities?
What are the challenges facing architects and city planners today?
A discussion about the nature of the contemporary metropolis in an era of globalization and crisis.

Important architects and city planners from Greece and abroad take on the new urban reality and present us with the challenges it poses their professions. Like every other contemporary megalopolis, Athens is being reconsidered (through programmes like “Re-Think Athens”, and “Made in Athens”, the Greek pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale 2012).

Ours is an age of breakneck urbanization. It is estimated that one hundred million Chinese will abandon their villages for cities over the next ten years; and that the world’s ten largest cities will be home to upwards of 300 million inhabitants by 2022. The countryside is being left behind at an ever more rapid pace thanks to the allure—economic and otherwise—of the city. All of which entails radical changes in commerce, in the concept of the internal market, in the interface between cities and the environment. New city plans are coming into being which seek to incorporate this ever more prevalent reality, but also to permit its coexistence with a desirable quality of life. A polycentric system is required which will both contribute to the decongesting of the traditional city centre and deliver increasingly complex urban formations whose potential and whose magnitude will stimulate our dreams but also our fears. Some sort of revival of the city state seems to be in the offing, albeit in a new globalized context.


Richard Plunz: Director of the Urban Design Lab, Professor in the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation at Columbia University.
Anthony Vidler: Dean and Professor of the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, New York
Panagiotis Tournikiotis: Professor of Architectural Theory in the School of Architecture at the National Technical University of Athens (speaker/ coordinator)
Panos Dragonas: Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture at the University of Patras / Joint Curator of the Greek participation at the Venice Architecture Biennale

This discussion forms part of the “Greek thought in dialogue: Experiential learning programmes” project implemented within the framework of the Education and Lifelong Learning Programme co-funded by the EU (European Social Fund) and national funds.

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Simultaneous translation is provided in the case of speakers using a language other than Greek.

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