Book talk: 'Age of the City: why our future will be won or lost together' with Prof Ian Goldin

Past Event

15 June 2023, 5:00pm - 6:15pm

Oxford Martin School & Online
34 Broad Street (corner of Holywell and Catte Streets), Oxford, OX1 3BD

Event Recording:

The city - the ultimate symbol of human ingenuity - is where the battles of climate change, pandemics, inequality and loneliness must be faced.

From centres of antiquity like Athens or Rome to modern metropolises like New York or Shanghai, our cities have shaped our past and will define our future. Our greatest achievements have originated in cities – the birth of democracy in Athens, the renaissance in Florence, the industrial revolution in Manchester, the digital revolution in Palo Alto. Making sense of our world, and our future, requires that we understand where cities are heading.

Professor Ian Goldin and his co-author Tom Lee-Devlin identify the four main threats we face in order to build a sustainable future – the pandemics caused by our globalised world, the dizzying damage which will be done by climate change, the inequality which plagues future generations, and the loneliness which is symbolised by our retreat into the metaverse and online atomisation.

In this talk, Professor Goldin will show how cities, where we increasingly live, are at a crossroads. The choices they take will shape our destinies. For the first time in history, more than half the global population lives in cities. In the developing world, cities are growing at an extraordinary rate. More than ever, making our societies fairer, more cohesive, and sustainable starts with actions taken in the places where most of us live. He will show how cities started, the economic and human reasons they became so dominant, and how the megacities of the future must be used to tip the balance towards a sustainable and fulfilling future for us all.

Ian Goldin1

Professor Ian Goldin
Director, Oxford Martin Programmes on Future of Development; Future of Work & Technological and Economic Change

Professor Ian Goldin was the founding Director of the Oxford Martin School from September 2006 to September 2016. He is currently Oxford University Professor of Globalisation and Development, Senior Fellow at the Oxford Martin School, a Professorial Fellow at the University’s Balliol College and Director of the Oxford Martin School Programmes on the Future of Work, Technological and Economic Change, and Future of Development.

From 2003 to 2006 he was Vice President of the World Bank, and prior to that the Bank’s Director of Development Policy (2001-2003) and from 1996 to 2001 he was Chief Executive and Managing Director of the Development Bank of Southern Africa and served as an advisor to President Nelson Mandela.

Previously, Goldin was Principal Economist at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) in London, and Program Director at the OECD Development Centre in Paris, where he directed the Programs on Trade, Environment and Sustainable Development.

He has a BA (Hons) and a BSc from the University of Cape Town, an MSc from the London School of Economics, and an MA and Doctorate from the University of Oxford.

Goldin has received wide recognition for his contributions to development and research, including having been knighted by the French Government and nominated Global Leader of Tomorrow by the World Economic Forum. He is the presenter of three BBC series After the Crash, Will AI Kill Development? and The Pandemic That Changed the World and the BBC Analysis The Death of Globalisation. He has published over 50 articles and 24 books, the most recent of which are Age of the City: Why our Future will be Won or Lost Together; Rescue: From Global Crisis to a Better World, and Terra Incognita: 100 Maps to Survive the Next 100 Years. More information can be found at