Welcome to the International Conference on Evolving Cities

The International Conference on Evolving Cities (ICEC2021) hosted by the University of Southampton is scheduled for 6 – 8 July 2021.

ICEC returns in 2021 in a format that will be conducive to allowing interactions and participation in a healthy and supportive environment. The management team are making every effort to allow this edition of ICEC to be an exciting and productive experience, be it in-person or virtually.

About ICEC

About ICEC

Cities are at the centre of the climate and sustainability challenge and provide an important pathway for the transition to net-zero carbon by 2050. Energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions of cities are over 75% of global totals putting cities in a critical position to propel and lead society towards the low carbon pathways required in the 2020s and 2030s.

Cities of the future will be expected to meet new demands, reflected in their form and function. In the transition to net-zero, they will need to provide healthy, liveable spaces, the development of which will require consideration of more than just the provision of energy and other utilities. To address these complex and interwoven challenges, the Energy and Cities conference is therefore transitioning to become the International Conference of Evolving Cities to reflect the broader changes that will occur in diverse and interconnecting aspects of the urban environment.

The International Conference on Evolving Cities (ICEC) brings world-leading academic research together with policymakers, regional and non-governmental organisations, and the private sector to discuss and debate the challenges faced by cities. This is reflected in the highlighted conference themes and topics.

ICEC 2021 is our second International Conference on Cities. The first, ICEC 2019, was held at the University of Southampton in July 2019. The conference successfully hosted around 100 international participants from 22 countries. The conference has also created a platform where international policymakers, for example, the Shadow Energy Minister of the UK and the Director of Renewable Energy in the Ministry of Energy in Kenya, are able to directly engage with academics and industrial leaders.

We are going to be living in both the digital and physical world.” In this interview from ICEC 2019, Prof Rachel Cooper from Lancaster University talks about what it could be like living in cities of the future.

Organised by the

Previously Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Previously Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Dr Alan Whitehead MP

Shadow Minister (Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Climate Change)

Prof Wendy Hall DBE

Professor of Computer Science, University of Southampton

Cllr Chris Hammond

Leader of Southampton City Council

Sir Ian Diamond FBA FRSE FAcSS DL

UK’s National Statistician

Prof Nick Tyler CBE

Director of UCL Centre for Transport Studies, University College London

Prof Alan Penn

Chief Scientific Adviser at the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, University College London

Prof Jeremy Watson CBE

Professor of Civil Engineering, University College London

Dolf Gielen

Director of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) Innovation and Technology Centre

This section will be updated with new speakers as they are confirmed.


Messages from the chairs

I look forward to welcoming new and returning delegates to Southampton for the second ICEC. We will build on the successful conference in 2019 to further develop the dialogue between stakeholders. ICEC 2021 aims to provide a platform to bring younger researchers and policymakers together to address the challenges faced by cities.

Prof AbuBakr Bahaj


ICEC brings together researchers, practitioners and policy makers from across the world to discuss pressing multidisciplinary themes of research in evolving cities. I hope you can join us!

Dr Stephanie Gather


Themes and topics

Themes and topics

Cities and infrastructure


  • Urban systems – design, planning and management
  • Sustainable and resilient infratsructure
  • Connected infrastructure
  • Ecology, ecosystem & biodiversity
  • Climate change resilience
  • Post COVID-19 future pathways

Energy technologies


  • Microgeneration
  • Heating and cooling systems in cities
  • Energy storage
  • Energy efficiency and buildings
  • Building refurbishment
  • E-mobility

Smart cities and data


  • State of the art in smart cities
  • Understanding the impact of AI in energy and urban systems
  • Advances in data analytics
  • Internet of things – barriers and opportunities
  • Social implications and acceptance
  • City observatories

Energy, behaviour and wellbeing

  • Smart and responsive buildings
  • Energy management systems
  • Thermal comfort and occupant behaviour
  • Energy services modelling
  • Green spaces and wellbeing
  • Energy awareness, acceptance and takeup
  • Life cycle assessment

Best presentation award

Sponsored by leading stakeholders and academic journals, awards are given for students delivering outstanding presentations.

Special issue

ICEC 2021 in collaboration with peer-reviewed, open access journals, is currently in discussion with such journals for special issues.

International audience

The previous conference attracted researchers from 22 countries and included exhibitors and engagement with industry and civil society.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do I need to submit a full paper?

The ICEC 2021 conference only requires an abstract to be submitted prior to the conference. The abstract, however, will be peer reviewed by the Scientific Panel. After the conference, presenters will be invited to submit a full paper to the special issue by the conference based on the relevance of their topic.

Will there be conference proceedings?

ICEC 2021 is supported by several peer-reviewed academic journals, please watch this space.

Is financial support available for international students?

The conference is run on a non-profit basis and therefore we cannot offer financial support to attendees, please check the rates for the early bird registration period.

What accommodation is available?

There are many hotels in Southampton which are listed on the website. The University of Southampton have a small number of rooms available for conference attendees at reasonable rates. You will be able to book accommodation on the conference registration page.

Will the conference provide a letter of invitation for visa applications?

The ICEC 2021 management committee will provide a letter of invitation once you have confirmed your registration. We strongly recommend that you apply for a visa at least two months before your planned travel date to the UK. Please check with your local British High Commission or Embassy for visa processing times and other requirements.

Will the cost of virtual and in-person attendance differ

This is still to be determined as we trial and pilot various digital meeting software , with an announcement on pricing due closer to the event.