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© Pablo Gómez – Ogando / Norman Foster Institute
© Pablo Gómez – Ogando / Norman Foster Institute

The British architect Norman Foster has long pleaded for a broader understanding of the concept of the environment, which in his view includes nature and the entire biosphere. Foster wants to combine the use of technology with a deeper understanding of the environment. In 2017, the “Norman Foster Foundation” was founded. Since then, the foundation sees its mission primarily in promoting interdisciplinary thinking and research, not least to help future generations anticipate the future. In order to, as the foundation states, “respond to the growing importance of urbanisation and its challenges”, a new initiative has now been launched: the „Norman Foster Institute“.

According to the institute, in times of climate change it is aimed at anyone “who wants to improve the quality of life in cities worldwide through practice or training”. In a 36-week academic course consisting of the stages “Foundations, Changes and Interventions”, potential city leaders are to prepare themselves for the future. The programme combines practical experience in the field with input from the Foundation’s international network of experts. Each year, the scholars will visit and work in three pilot cities to engage directly with planners and managers. Towards the end of the year, they will then present their findings to the city administration, with a focus on teaching arguments and presentation skills. As cities learn from each other, the scholars will also explore how their conclusions can be relevant for other cities.

Norman Foster, president of the Norman Foster Foundation, and Kent Larson, head of the City Science Group at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab and co-director of the Sustainable Cities Programme, lead a panel of distinguished experts from a variety of disciplines. The full list of academic faculty and team will be announced later this year. The programme will start in January 2024 in Madrid and applications are open now.

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