Cities and towns have not only become the primary human living space, they also live in the collective memory. Since the late 2000s, more than half of the world’s population lives in urban areas and the figure is estimated to exceed 70 per cent by 2050. As cities grow and transform, the landscape, architecture, people, business, stories and images of cities change. This can create feelings of inaccessibility to the past, and a desire to recreate the physical landscapes of the past. Memory has never been more appealing to all generations. For example, millennials’ nostalgic tendencies are reflected in their social media posts, which puzzle many sociologists. By holding onto the past, how we can more easily sustain life and resources in contemporary cities and move forward into future cities?

The conference aims to explore the transformation of cities by focusing on spatial, design, landscape, literature, art, memory, and socio-economic dimensions. How do cities respond to the challenges that threaten their ability to become viable pillars of sustainable development? What are the characteristics of future cities? How will urban designers, architects and policy makers reconcile the old with the new, the sustainable and the smart?

The conference will take place in Istanbul, Bahçeşehir University (BAU). As the world's only metropolis to extend into more than one continent, Istanbul lies at the crossroads between Europe and Asia. The city was inhabited as early as 3000 BC and served as a capital city under the Roman, Byzantine, Latin and Ottoman rules. It has witnessed the rise and fall of the world's most powerful empires throughout history and held an important role as a melting pot of civilizations. The city finally became a part of the Republic of Turkey in 1923 and eventually developed as the country's modern economic, cultural and historic center. Being among the 25 largest urban areas in the world, today Istanbul is a bustling modern metropolis with a colorful mix of traditional cultures where East meets West.

The fourth meeting of the International Interdisciplinary Conference series will be held in Istanbul, Turkey on May 9-10, 2019. The conference aims to explore a wide range of issues concerning world cities with an interdisciplinary perspective in urban and cultural studies. Scholars, experts and practitioners from the fields of sociology, architecture, urban planning and policies, political sociology, communication, literature, cultural studies, history, arts, urban identity, citizen participation and governance, and heritage preservation are invited to participate. Topics include but are not limited to several core issues related with cities; transformation, memory, sustainability, and future.