Strand: City life

City air makes you free, as they say in Germany. Taking place in one of the most bustling cities in the world, the Battle of Ideas always features debates about urbanism and city life. This year, we look at the vibrancy and ubiquity of street art, but does the coolness of the contemporary city mask deeper problems? The strand also considers whether local democracy is up to the job of city regeneration, especially after the municipal failings before and after the Grenfall disaster, the threat posed to urban living by toxic smog, and perhaps the biggest issue of all in British cities: the chronic housing shortage. What is the future of the city, and how might citizens help shape it?