London 2020
The City & Complexity

Life, Design & Commerce
Event Date: June 17-19, 2020
Abstract Date: April 1, 2020
Five decades after complexity theory was first applied to our reading of the city, this conference revisits its consequences.


2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ The Economy of Cities. It came a decade after her seminal work, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and heralded a new age in thinking about the city. The city would no longer be a question of design and planning in isolation. From the early 1970s onwards, it would be seen as a complex interdisciplinary phenomenon.

The first years of the 1970s saw the introduction of a whole series of notions that would mutually inform our reading of the metropolis: social justice and the city, sustainability, defensible space, and urban centres as sites of public health. It saw the emergence of concepts such as the global city, urban economics, the post-industrial society and the cultural city. From art, design and cultural perspectives, post-modernism would critique of the whole modernist project.

Five decades after complexity theory was first applied to our reading of the city, this conference revisits its consequences. It reconsiders the city as an adaptive, self-organising and unpredictable system of interconnecting interventions, forces and perspectives. It asks how these competing and mutually reinforcing factors came into play and how they operate today. It questions how the city has been, and continues to be, informed by the practices of multiple disciplines.


  • Urban Design
  • Architecture
  • Sustainability
  • Engineering
  • Housing
  • Public Health
  • Sociology
  • Economics
  • Business
  • Governance
  • Art and Culture
  • Media
  • History

Key Dates

Abstract Submissions (Round 1) *
01 December 2019
Abstract Feedback
15 December 2019
Registration opens
01 January 2020
Abstract Submissions (Round Two)
01 April 2020
Abstract Feedback
15 April 2020
17-19th June, 2020
Full Paper Submissions (where applicable)
30 July 2020
Feedback for publication
30 October 2020
Full Paper re-submission
20 December 2020


Urban Design | Architecture | Interiors | Landscape
Engineering | Infrastructure | Sustainability
Housing | Public Health | Sociology | Human Geography
Economics | Business | City Management | Government Policy and Planning
Cultural Studies | Art History | Social History


The conference welcomes case studies; design proposals, research projects, investigative papers and theoretical considerations in various formats allowing people to write a paper, present virtually, attend in person or present via film and have their presentation permanently available via the AMPS Youtube channel:

Pre-recorded video (15-20 mins)
Zoom / Skype presentations (15-20 mins)
In-person Presentations (15-20 mins)
Written Papers (3,000 words) *


The publishers that AMPS works with include UCL Press, Routledge Taylor & Francis, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Vernon Press, Libri Publishing and Intellect Books.


Conference outputs include the AMPS Proceedings Series, ISSN 2398-9467; Special Issue Publications of the academic journal Architecture_MPS ISSN 2020-9006; Books with the publishing houses listed above and short films available on the AMPS Academic YouTube Channel.


Written papers are optional.  If submitted they should be 3,000 word length. Formatting instructions to follow after the conference. All papers are double- blind peer reviewed for the AMPS Conference Proceedings Series. Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions as articles in the academic journal Architecture_MPS or in specially produced conference books.


Image: Len Williams