Duncan Bowie, Senior Lecturer in spatial planning and housing, gave an invited presentation on housing and planning in London at the Beijing Forum on 5 November in Beijing, China. This is an annual high-profile 3-day academic forum involving about 300 international academics as well as government officials.

Bowie presented on ‘Housing and Planning in London: Spatial impacts, social polarisation, sustainable development and social justice’ in the session called ‘Global Megacities and Regional Co-ordinated Development in the Civilized World’. Each session had about 30 contributing academics and government officials and was attended by about 70 Chinese students. Presentations in the session were given by leading academics from US, Canada, Australia, Japan, Korea and Brazil as well as from the United Kingdom and China.

Bowie talked about the significant challenges that London and South East England are facing in terms of the high rate of population growth and its continuing world city role. He made observations on the London housing market, and the strength of recovery since the 2008 global financial crisis. He also discussed the range of alternative development options for meeting the housing needs of London, arguing that a Central London focused compact city approach did not meet London’s housing needs in terms of quantity, quality or affordability. He said that in fact it increased social polarisation and inequity.

Speaking of the event Bowie said: “This was an extremely valuable opportunity to have high level discussions with leading planning academics and practitioners from across the world and to extend the University's international research network.”

The general theme of the Beijing Forum was “The Harmony of Civilizations and Prosperity for All”. Beijing Forum aims at promoting the study of humanities and social sciences around the world. It endeavours to promote academic development and social progress across the world in order to contribute to the development and prosperity of humankind.

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