24 May

Relational Cities for Sustainable Development – 13th September 2017

Cities in the 21st century face multiple challenges. These include overcrowding, poverty, racial and ethnic tensions, air-quality, water availability and concentrations of wealth and poverty in different areas of the city. The focus in tackling these problems in the context of sustainability has been largely around the environmental dimension. However, arguably the Relational perspective provides a wider frame of reference for understanding and responding to these urban challenges. Relationships cut across all of these issues, and across all the different interests and communities which are at the front line of these challenges.

To tackle this complex mix of problems and challenges, civic leaders, service providers, planners and leaders of companies, schools and other organisations need a framework to enable them to build trust and facilitate cooperation between the stakeholders. Some of the pre-requisites to a successful relational approach to urban sustainability are the following:

  • Strong commitment to family and community;
  • An education system which develops relational skills;
  • Governance of business and public sector bodies which allows sufficient time for employees to fulfill family and community responsibilities;
  • Faith communities which foster positive value systems;
  • Political arrangements which engage communities.

This day conference will give those joining the Relational Thinking Week in Cambridge a chance to hear from others thinking about these questions and join the conversation about policies which can make cities more relational. The conference will also consider both how organisations within the city and the city as a whole can be assessed in terms of the strength of their relationships.

The conference will be chaired by Jyoti Banerjee, partner at Fronesys, an advisory service focused on the development of an Integrated framework for value creation in cities – where value is defined in the multi-capital context i.e. to include not only financial capital but human, intellectual, natural and social and relational capitals. He is particularly interested in how activity in one part or section of the city’s activities affects stakeholders in other parts of the city. His aim is to provide new insights and new directions for urban policy based on this integrated approach.

If you would be able give a 10 minute paper in the one of the sessions, relating to one of the themes in that session, please contact Josh Hemmings at j.hemmings@relationalresearch.org.

Sign up for tickets here

09:00 – 09:30 Session 1 – An Introduction to the Relationally Sustainable CityJyoti Banerjee (Fronesys) and John Ashcroft (Relationships Foundation) will introduce the concept of the relationally sustainable city – Jyoti Banerjee from the perspective of challenges which cities are facing at the moment and John Ashcroft will make the case as to why the relationships factor is so critical for the stability and sustainability of cities.
09:30 – 10:45 Session 2 – Building Relationships Within and Between Households and Communities:

  • Policies to create strong family, neighbourhood and community relationships

Marlie Holzhausen, South Africa

  • The role of schools

Dr Rob Loe, Chief Executive of Relational Schools Foundation

  • Overcoming ethnic and racial tensions

Msizi Cele, Magaye Consulting, South Africa

  • The role of churches and other religious communities in building community

Helene Tame

  • Panel discussion
10:45 – 11:15 Coffee
11:15 – 12:30 Session 3 – The Role of Town Planning, Infrastructure and Housing in Building Relationships Within and Between Households and Communities:

  • The role of town and city planning in balancing housing with social amenities (parks, leisure facilities, retail etc.)

Speaker to be confirmed

  • The case for and against high-rise housing

Chan Abraham, former Housing Association Group chief executive

  • Ensuring that high-ways and rail links facilitate relationships between communities and do not divide them

Speaker to be confirmed

  • Panel discussion
12:30 – 13:45 Lunch
13:45 – 15:00 Session 4 – The Role of Business, Finance and Politics:

  • Employment initiatives to involve young people in training and productive work

Speaker to be confirmed

  • City-based growth and employment strategies

Speaker to be confirmed

  • Public health, social care and public protection

Speaker to be confirmed

  • Panel discussion
15:00 – 15:30 Tea
15:30 – 16:45 Session 5 – Measuring Relational Sustainability of Cities:

  • What metrics are currently being used to assess sustainability of cities? What is currently not being measured?

Jyoti Banerjee

  • Relational indicators to assess urban relational sustainability?

Michael Schluter

  • Towards a unified framework of context-based sustainability and reporting

Henk Hadders

  • Panel discussion
16:45 – 17:15 Concluding Comments