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Saskia Sassen and Richard Sennet in conversation

14 October 18:30 - 20:00
Organized by: Sir Richard MacCormac Memorial Dialogue
Venue: Royal Academy of Arts, The Benjamin West Lecture Theatre
Burlington House

Join us for a conversation about the ethics of the city and how contemporary urban environments can and do respond to the needs of their inhabitants.


Cities have long been sites of social and political strife. They are spaces in which rich and poor co-exist; where the powerful meet the powerless. In spite of our differences (real or perceived), all citizens face the tests of climate change. The character of urban life is set to radically alter and we need to create guiding values – but what are they? And how do they translate in the spaces and built forms of the city?


The inaugural Sir Richard MacCormac Memorial Dialogue brings together leading sociologists, Richard Sennett and Saskia Sassen, to explore how the values cities and citizens should follow in facing climate change, the most serious challenge of our times.


Sassen and Sennett will speak for an hour, after which there will be a Q&A with the audience.


The Sir Richard MacCormac Memorial Dialogues are annual conversations held at the Royal Academy of Arts that explore the social purpose of architecture.



Saskia Sassen is the Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and has approached the issue of urban ethics from studies of immigration, political economy and digitalisation. Her publications include the seminal text, The Global City and most recently Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy.

Richard Sennett currently leads a project at the United Nations on urban climate change. His books include The Fall of Public ManThe Corrosion of CharacterThe Craftsman, and most recently, Building and Dwelling.