First International Conference Urban Futures-Squaring Circles: Europe, China and the World in 2050
From 10.10.2014 to 11.10.2014
Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisboa

Under the theme Urban Futures-Squaring Circles: Europe, China and the World in 2050 this conference will explore advances in long-term thinking for sustainability, futures studies and strategic planning.

Cities play a prominent role at the local level but also, increasingly, at global level. Issues such as climate change and inequality call for the capacity to envision alternative development directions for their future. On the other hand, the growing complexity of urban systems requires new planning approaches, which traditional planning methods, usually short-term oriented and lacking an integrated approach, have been unable to deliver. In response to this complexity and the rising uncertainty and risks brought in by globalization and technological progress, futures studies, scenarios and strategic planning frameworks are seen by some as a sustainable alternative to traditional planning and increasingly used as creative and collaborative bases for decision-making.

Under the theme Urban Futures-Squaring Circles: Europe, China and the World in 2050 this conference will explore advances in long-term thinking for sustainability, futures studies and strategic planning. The Conference builds on an on-going project (URBACHINA), partly funded by the 7th Framework Programme of Research and Innovation of the European Commission, which entails the definition of a scenario space for urbanization to 2050, and the development of alternative scenarios for European and Chinese cities.

This comprehensive theme allows for a wide range of topics concerning the future of cities, and the challenges implied in their visioning and planning.


The conference is organised around two core themes and four thematic threads:


Core Theme I. Scenarios for Cities of the Future

Core Theme II. People and Societies in Future Cities


Thematic thread A: Forward Thinking Methods

Thematic thread B: Governance in Future Cities

Thematic thread C: Future of Resources

Thematic thread D: Future of Urban Systems


The two core themes reflect the main concern of this conference. We are interested in the sustainable future of cities – for the people who will live there. Each thematic thread contributes directly or indirectly to this concern, and can cover several debates and topics. We seek to discuss current urbanization trends and resulting challenges for Cities with respect to these six interrelated topics, and to identify research priorities and collaborative opportunities between the EU and China. From a policy perspective, we aim to identify ways to strengthen the effectiveness and impact of strategic planning and scenario building in the framing and delivering of urban sustainable and liveable futures.


The conference is therefore designed to provide a cross-disciplinary forum for researchers and practitioners from the social sciences and the humanities, as well as the natural science fields of knowledge and practice. Besides the research community, we wish to engage companies, planners, policy makers and representatives of civil society in debating the future of cities.


For late registration please email

Further information about this conference at:


Keynote Speakers:

Fulong Wu (China)

Anton C. Nelessen (USA)

Ng Mee Kam (China)

Wendy L. Schultz (UK)

Zhi Liu (China)

John E. Fernández (USA)

Li Shantong (China)

Luiz Cesar de Queiroz Ribeiro (Brazil)

Domenico Rossetti di Valdalbero (EU)


Scientific Committee:

Dominic Stead (The Netherlands)

Heng Chye Kiang (Singapore)

João Cabral (Portugal)

João Ferrão (Portugal)

Kai Bohm (Luxembourg)

Liling Huang (China)

Mário Vale (Portugal)

Paula Morais (UK)

Susana Oliveira (Portugal)

Yee Leung (China)


Organising Bodies: 

Institute of Social Sciences, University of Lisbon (for URBACHINA)

Institute of Studies for the Integration of Systems, Rome (for URBACHINA)

Institute of Future Cities of the Chinese University of Hong Kong (IfC-CUHK)


Funding Bodies: 

European Commission URBACHINA;

Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (FCG) Lisbon;

Science and Technology Foundation (FCT) Lisbon – tbc.


URBACHINA has received funding from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013) under Grant agreement nº 266941

Fonte: GabCom | UÉ