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Interdisciplinary Sandpit : The Past of the 21st Century City

University of Kent is hosting a two day residential Sandpit on 25-27 May at Devenport House in Greenwich on "The Past of the 21st Century City". Sandpits are residential interactive workshops that take place over three days. Having a period of time to work with others, to focus on broad issues, test ideas and assumptions and develop interesting solutions to difficult problems is a rare opportunity in today’s academy. The sandpits will be led by the same team that runs similar events for the Research Councils. As well as academic colleagues there will be guest speakers, stakeholders and others who will inform and provoke discussion.

22 April 2016

The 21st century is set to be the age of the city. In preparing for the future, the long history of urbanisation is often overlooked. Spanning some 6000 years, this global development left us with a rich record of scenarios and outcomes of urban cultures, comprising an enormous variety of both impressive achievements and catastrophic failures. Seeing 21st century cities as the culmination of a long-term ongoing process, how can we learn from past trajectories of urban development? What roles could, and should, the past play in designing and innovating for future-proof cities? How can we inculcate and improve visions of future cities with knowledge of preceding scenarios? Or is the urban past truly ‘all ancient history’?

The sandpit is open to people from a broad range of disciplines with a variety of experiences and backgrounds. Whilst those working in architecture, archaeology, computation, climatology, material science, and geography might be particularly interested, no discipline is excluded: your focus may be anything from psychology to the arts, from engineering to law. All are welcome. People will be selected to take part on the balance of interests, skills and experience within the group.

If you would like to take part in the sandpit, please contact Sarah Tetley, Kent Eastern ARC Officer ( as soon as possible and by Friday 6 May at the latest.