Can We Thrive as an Urban Species?: The Cabot Institute Annual Lecture 2019

Sean Fox, Andrew Kelly, Helen Manchester and Susan Parnell

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We are becoming an urban species. Around the world, more people now live in towns and cities than rural areas, and this historic shift in human settlement patterns is projected to continue through this century. How did this happen? What does it mean for our relationship to the natural world? Can we thrive as an urban species?

Urban living is associated with prosperity, diversity and innovation. But it is also associated with congestion, inequality, social conflict and environmental degradation. If we are to thrive as an urban species we must nurture learning that helps us find ways to balance the often conflicting goals of expanding opportunity, addressing divisive inequalities and radically reducing our impact on the ecosystems that support life on our planet.

This lecture will address these issues through a series of short talks followed by a public discussion. Bringing together the latest findings by Bristol’s leading researchers on cities and the environment, speakers include: Sean Fox (Senior Lecturer in Global Development and City Futures Theme Lead) on how we became an urban species; Helen Manchester (Reader in Digital Inequalities and Urban Futures) on how we can learn to thrive as an urban species; and Susan Parnell (Professor of Human Geography) on what it means to be an urban species. Andrew Kelly (Director, Festival of Ideas and Festival of the Future City) will chair the event.

In association with


This event is free, but booking is required. Online booking is via Eventbrite and managed by the Cabot Institute. Please use the contact function in Eventbrite if you have any booking queries.

The Great Hall in the Wills Memorial Building has a loop system and is accessible to wheelchair users. If you have specific access concerns it is advisable to contact the venue direct.

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