Launch of the Norman Foster Institute to improve the quality of life in cities worldwide

Since the launch of the Norman Foster Foundation in 2017, its mission has been to promote interdisciplinary thinking and research to help new generations to anticipate the future. In order to respond to the growing importance of urbanisation and its challenges, we embark upon a new initiative, the Norman Foster Institute.

The Norman Foster Institute, in a time of climate change, is addressed to those who wish, through practice or education, to improve the quality of life in cities worldwide. In that spirit, its first academic Programme on Sustainable Cities,  a 36-week course that consists of three stages—Foundations, Transformations and Interventions—will prepare potential civic leaders for the future.

With time divided between classrooms, cities and studios, the programme will combine practical on-site experience with academic input from the foundation’s network of international experts. These range from university professors to property developers.

Each year, scholars will visit and work in three pilot cities to engage directly with their planners and managers. They will use the most up-to-date digital tools in the quest to improve a sustainable quality of life. Towards the end of the year, the scholars will present their findings to the city administration with an emphasis on advocacy and presentation skills. On the basis that historically cities learn from each other, scholars will explore the relevance of their conclusions in the wider context of global cities.

The Norman Foster Institute has assembled an integrative team of professionals from different continents to provide a global vision and a broad spectrum of expertise for those seeking a holistic approach to the future design and management of cities. Norman Foster, President of the Norman Foster Foundation, and Kent Larson, Head of the City Science group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab, Co-Directors of the Programme on Sustainable Cities, will lead a body of distinguished global experts drawn from diverse backgrounds and disciplines.

The Academic Council will include: Norman Foster, NFI Co-Director, President, Norman Foster Foundation; Founder and Executive Chairman, Foster + Partners; Advocate to the United Nations Forum of Mayors; Edgar Pieterse, NFI Provost, Director, African Centre for Cities; Professor in Urban Innovation, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa. Dava J. Newman, NFI Honorary Dean, Director, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, United States; Kent Larson, NFI Co-Director, Director, City Science Research Group, MIT Media Lab, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, United States; Alejandro Aravena, Executive Director, ELEMENTAL; ELEMENTAL Copec Chair, Universidad Católica de Chile, Santiago, Chile; Deborah Berke, Dean, School of Architecture, Yale University, New Haven, CT, United States; Vishaan Chakrabarti, Founder and Creative Director, Practice for Architecture and Urbanism (PAU), New York, NY, United States; Beatriz Corredor, Chairwoman, Redeia; Former Ministry of Housing, Madrid, Spain; Óscar Fanjul, Vice Chairman, Ferrovial; Former Chairman and CEO, Repsol, Madrid, Spain; Elena Foster, Vice President, Norman Foster Foundation; Founder and CEO, Ivorypress, Madrid, Spain; Ian Goldin, Director, Oxford Martin Research Programme, University of Oxford, Oxford, United Kingdom; Francis Kéré, Founder and Principal, Kéré Architecture and Kéré Foundation, Berlin, Germany.

The Academic Chairs will include: Joseph G. Allen, Director, Healthy Buildings Program, T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, United States; Luis M.A. Bettencourt, Inaugural Director, Mansueto Institute for Urban Innovation, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, United States; Frédérick Bordry, CERN Honorary Member, Special Advisor to the CERN DG and Former CERN Director for Accelerators and Technology, Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (CERN), Geneva, Switzerland; Laila Iskandar, Co-Founder, CID CONSULTING; Former Minister of State in the Government of Egypt, Egypt; Mitchell Joachim, Co-founder of Terreform ONE; Associate Professor of Practice, New York University (NYU), New York, NY, United States; Sarah Kenderdine, Professor of Digital Museology, École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Lausanne, Switzerland; Peter B. de Menocal, President and Director, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Falmouth, MA, United States; Gil (Guillermo) Penalosa, Founder and Chair, 8 80 Cities and Cities for Everyone, Toronto, ON, Canada; Stuart Smith, Director, Arup, Berlin, Germany; Board Member, Holcim Foundation, Zurich, Switzerland; Tim Stonor, Managing Director of Space Syntax, London, United Kingdom; Hans Ulrich Obrist, Artistic Director, Serpentine Galleries, London, United Kingdom; Maria Vassilakou, Founder, Vienna Solutions; Former Vice Mayor, Vienna, Austria.

The full list of academic faculty and team will be announced later this year.

The Norman Foster Institute is accepting applications from today for its first academic Programme on Sustainable Cities, starting in Madrid in January 2024.

You are encouraged to submit your application at your earliest convenience here.