Cities Without Infrastructure

From Architectural Record’s 2019 Innovation Conference
Presented by Norman Foster, President, Norman Foster Foundation

Learning Objectives:

  1. Explain how digital technology and data can be used to improve urban living conditions.
  2. Describe the ways in which sustainability, technology, innovation, social structures, and history are intermixed in design and construction.
  3. Share instances of how the notion of sustainability or green buildings can be subjective depending on the context.
  4. Demonstrate the positive impact that including local communities can have on the design and infrastructure of an urban planning project.


AAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
AAPEI 1 Structured Learning Hour
MAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
This course can be self-reported to the NSAA
NWTAA 1 Structured Learning Hour
OAA 1 Learning Hour
SAA 1 Hour of Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the AIBC, as per their CE Guidelines.
This course is approved as a Structured Course
This course can be self-reported to the AANB, as per their CE Guidelines
Approved for structured learning
Approved for Core Learning
This course can be self-reported to the NLAA.
Course may qualify for Learning Hours with NWTAA
Course eligible for OAA Learning Hours
This course is approved as a core course
This course can be self-reported for Learning Units to the Architectural Institute of British Columbia
This test is no longer available for credit

By 2050, 3.5 billion urbanized people will likely live in informal settlements without access to power, sanitation, clean water, and mobility. Cost, complexity, and political impediments make it inconceivable they will ever be served by conventional infrastructure and buildings. Can such settlements use emerging technology, materials, and design strategies to create high-performance autonomous communities? Foster will describe how, through his foundation, planning, research, and technology are helping to transform such settlements in India.

After graduating from Manchester University School of Architecture and City Planning in 1961 Norman Foster received a Henry Fellowship to Yale University, where he was a fellow of Jonathan Edwards College and gained a Master’s Degree in Architecture. In 1967 he established Foster Associates, which has since evolved as Foster + Partners, where he continues as Executive Chairman.

He became the 21st Pritzker Architecture Prize Laureate in 1999 and was awarded the Praemium Imperiale Award for Architecture in Tokyo in 2002. In 2009, he became the 29th laureate of the prestigious Prince of Asturias award for the Arts and was awarded the Knight Commander’s Cross of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. In 1997 he was appointed by the Queen of the United Kingdom to the Order of Merit and in 1999 was honoured with a peerage, taking the title of Lord Foster of Thames Bank.


Originally published in December 2019