Great Cities Institute at the University of Illinois at Chicago

Comparative Urbanisms Speaker Series

"The Challenges of the Twenty-First Century City"

Blair Ruble
Director, Kennan Institute
Chair, Comparative Urban Studies Project
Woodrow Wilson Center, Washington DC

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Wednesday, April 14, 2010 at 3:00pm at the Great Cities Institute


Cities are becoming larger, more diverse, more fluid, and less manageable than in the past. Beyond the obvious issues of infrastructure management, transportation, telecommunications, poverty, health care, migration, and education, custodians of the urban future face unprecedented challenges both from the sheer number of human beings in global urban centers and their complex needs. Furthermore, this new reality is set against a backdrop of expanding international terrorism, a neo-liberal consensus that has counseled against governments accepting responsibility for alleviating social problems, and technological changes that are restructuring everyday life.

This talk will address a variety of pertinent policy-making considerations that confront the fluidity and complexity of urban life, from ideas of the “right to the city” and humane civitas to the interrelated pragmatism found in arguments regarding sprawl and urban social sustainability.

Speaker Biography

Blair Ruble is Director of the Kennan Institute and Chair of the Comparative Urban Studies Project at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC.  His publications include Creating Diversity Capital: Transnational Migrants in Montreal, Washington, and Kyiv and Second Metrolopolis: The Politics of Pragmatic Pluralism in Gilded Age Chicago, Silver Age Moscow, and Meiji Osaka. His expertise includes Russian domestic politics, urban patterns and urban management arrangements in post-Soviet Russia, and urban management and regional development.

Learn more about the GCI Comparative Urbanisms Speaker Series.

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