UN Habitat Lecture Series: Steffen Lehmann, University of Portsmouth

Urban Lectures

The UN Habitat urban lectures are a free resource of video lectures, including synopsis, biographies and additional reading materials, open to use for academic, professional or personal purposes.

“Transforming the City towards Low-Carbon Resilience” introduces urban design principles that support the transformation of existing cities towards more resilience regarding the impact of climate change.  Steffen Lehmann – Professor, University of Portsmouth/Founder of s_Lab Space Laboratory for Architectural Research and Design (Sydney – Berlin)

As part of the Global Urban Lecture series “Towards Sustainable Cities” Professor Steffen Lehmann presents his lecture “Transforming the City Towards Low-Carbon Resilience”.  In the lecture, professor Lehmann highlights the different urban design approaches to reduce carbon emissions. He emphasizes that the compact mixed-use walkable city model is a sustainable model and should be more widespread. Much of it is about learning from the traditional existing European city type combined with green urbanism principles. He highlights that while a comprehensive public space network is important, its connectivity and accessibility is crucial. Through this network cities can move away from car use, have a renewed focus in the civic public space, and increase compactness. Professor Lehmann calls for a new urban agenda: better urbanization models, integrated approaches  and collaboration of systems. Lastly, relying on technology alone will not fix it, however research and building technology are important in understanding future challenges that cities face. Learn more >>


Prof. Dr. Steffen Lehmann (Dr.-Ing. TU Berlin; AA Dipl London) is Professor at University of Portsmouth, UK, and a German-Australian urbanist, author, educator, researcher and curator, registered in 1993 as a chartered architect and urban designer in Berlin.  Steffen has more than 25 years’ experience in the fields of sustainable architecture, urban design and construction, a strong track record in teaching, research and government advisory roles, and achieved distinction at the international level. He is an internationally renowned authority on sustainable cities, a strong advocate for sustainability and a passionate educator.  As Head of School at Curtin University in Perth, he repositioned the large School of Built Environment based on principles of sustainability.  Prior to this, he was a tenured Chair Professor of Sustainable Design and Founding Director of two flagship research centres at the University of South Australia in Adelaide.Steffen is the editor of the Book Series for Sustainable Design; his most recent book: “Low Carbon Cities. Transforming Urban Systems” (Routledge, 2014).  From 2008 to 2010, based on the international significance of his work he was appointed to the UNESCO Chair in Sustainable Urban Development for Asia and the Pacific. In 1993, in pursuit of a more ethically correct practice, he founded the s_Lab Space Laboratory for Architectural Research and Design (Sydney – Berlin).


  • “Low Carbon Cities. Transforming Urban Systems” (Routledge, 2014), edited by Steffen Lehmann.
  • “The Principles of Green Urbanism” (Earthscan, 2010), authored by Steffen Lehmann.
  • Steffen’s book series: https://www.routledge.com/series/EARTHSD
  • Steffen’s web site:  www.slab.com.au

See all Global Urban Lectures full packages (video, synopsis, biographies, additional reading material) here.