What does it mean for a city to grow?

Cambridge University

June 4

Alison Richard Building

As planning academics living and working in Cambridge, we have become acutely aware of the mismatch between professional and public discourses on what it means for the city to grow. Particularly, the term ‘growth’ carries varying meanings for different individuals, e.g., for some people it is largely positive and growth brings opportunities for homes wealth and to solve existing problems cities like Cambridge face. But for others, it can also be threatening, much loved places change their character, environments can be damaged and what opportunities are created are not shared by everyone. Despite the growth of Cambridge being seen by some as of regional and national significance, the rise and hegemony of the pro-growth sentiment in Cambridge has rarely been critically examined. This public event aims to open up dialogues about 1) what it means for Cambridge to grow, and 2) how such a variety of perceptions could enable new visions of city development, drive behavioural changes and address major challenges through novel policymaking processes. This event has two stages: Stage 1: We invite your views on what growth means to YOU. Share your thoughts through participating our online survey. We plan to visualise anonymised public inputs through a small exhibition as part of Stage 2. Stage 2: A one-day public event on 4 June 2024 with invited talks by field experts and thinkers. Invited speakers will be exposed to your inputs in Stage 1 prior to their talks, and are expected to reflect on their past experiences of planning and managing the growth in Cambridge.