The Rise of a New Discipline to Manage Metropolitan Urban Systems


Today’s cities are facing a moment of both maximum growth and maximum vulnerability at the same time as increasing inequality and climate change. At this pace, many cities will become metropolises by the end of the century. Governance mechanisms need to be created that ensure integral solutions for the quality of life of future generations. However, decision makers are organized in a sectoral way and territories are subdivided into multiple jurisdictions and levels of government. In order to migrate towards good metropolitan governance, it is necessary to train a new generation of leaders in understanding metropolitan issues, and create a sense of belonging for people in a metropolis. A new metropolitan discipline able to synthesize the knowledge required to operate in this space is an imperative need.


Gabriel Lanfranchi is an architect and urban planner from Argentina. He holds a Master’s Degree in urban economics from Torcuato Di Tella University and a fellowship with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Special Program for Urban and Regional Studies (MIT SPURS). Currently he is the Director of the Cities Programme at CIPPEC, Argentina, and he also works as a consultant for the Inter-American Development Bank, Grupo Edisur, and AySA. At MIT, he founded the MIT Metro Lab, an initiative that promotes metropolitan governance awareness and helps governments create better tools for city management. He was the Director of the Metropolitan Office that coordinated the Strategic Guidelines Plan for the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Region. He also led suburban poverty alleviation development projects at Fundacion Pro Vivienda Social and worked on the Verona Mobility Plan and the Green Plan for Barcelona.

Antonella Contin is a research associate at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU), within the School of Architecture, Urban Planning, Construction, and Engineering at the University of Politecnico di Milano. She is currently the coordinator of MSLab at DAStU and a member of the Doctoral Board for Architectural and Urban Composition. Contin has lectured at many international universities, including Colombia, Cooper, NYIT, ITU, Azad, Greenwich University, Guadalajara de Guadalajara, Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana, Cairo University, and IBERO Torreon, among the others. Her research focuses on metropolitan architecture, new sustainable models of urban growth, smart sensitive cities, new technologies and urban design mapping. Contin’s latest publication is Qualitative Metropolis. A New Culturally Encoded Concept for a Qualitative Regeneration of Formal and Informal Settlements (co-authored with Pedro B. Ortiz, 2015). She has published extensively in international journals. Contin holds a Ph.D. in architecture from the Politecnico di Milano.