Leading figures from the world of politics, architecture and education gathered at the House of Lords to mark the launch of an acclaimed new book by an Edge Hill academic.

Edited by Dr Tasleem Shakur, director of the International Centre for Development and Environmental Studies (ICDES) at Edge Hill, ‘Cities in Transition: Transforming the Global Built Environment’, offers a snapshot of the dynamics and changing faces of many world cities ? from Preston to Cape Town, Karachi to Oldham.

The event, which was hosted by Lord Patel of Blackburn in conjunction with Open House Press and ICDES, featured speeches from Omar Khattab of Kuwait University and Jenny Crawford, Head of Research and Knowledge for the Royal Town Planning Institute.

Ms Crawford described the book as a “valuable contribution to the ongoing debate on the perceptions of the impact of spacial planning policy and practice in areas of the UK characterised by high levels of ethnic diversity.”

She added: “Cities in Transition brings added dimensions to the recognition of the very complex issues of governance that urgently need to be addressed throughout the world?s cities.”

Dr Shakur said: “I was delighted to unveil the book before so many esteemed guests and in such prestigious surroundings. You don?t get the opportunity to visit such places very often so to have a room booked out for your specific use is very special indeed.”

Dr Shakur is no stranger to the House of Lords however as it was also the venue for the launch of his last book, ‘Picturing South Asian Culture’, just two years ago.

“I now know the House of Lords pretty well ? maybe I should try and make the step up to have my next one launched at Buckingham Palace!” he quipped. “The international launch took place at the world congress of the Union of International Architects in Istanbul, so I know how to do it in style!”

Alongside colleagues at Edge Hill, Dr Shakur also heads up the Global Built Environment Review (GBER) ? an international online journal for architecture, planning, development and the environment that can be found at www.edgehill.ac.uk/gber ? the only publication of its kind in the country.

Cities in Transition is printed by Open House Press (www.openhousepress.co.uk) and priced at £14.99.