The central focus of this conference will be on how scholars and policy makers can talk across cities and times (past, present and future) in normative but non-homogenizing ways. We therefore structure sessions to address the relationship between desirable values in urbanization and co-existing diverse themes (whether based in reality or perception) of the city. This approach embraces new efforts to quantify cities and catalogue comparative indicators for global urbanism, while also being critical of the dangers in setting universal standards. When pairing together desirable values for setting goals for urban futures with different themes for structuring urban comparison – documenting and narrating such values across time and space – we aim to account for multiple appropriate forms of urban life as well as universal aspirations for every context: what should your city be and become? Based on what principles and priorities? How can these principles and priorities be shared with other cities to set tailor-made goals and paths to meet those goals?