Theme 1: Design and Planning Processes

Addresses the ways in which the built environment is conceptualized, competing interests negotiated, and plans represented.

  • Design disciplines and practices in transition: architecture, engineering, industrial design, landscape architecture
  • Science in the service of technology
  • Information, design and modeling technologies
  • Town and regional planning
  • Local government in the planning process
  • Transportation modes and structures: reconfiguring flows
  • Parks in urban spaces
  • Designing interior spaces
  • Information flows in the constructed environment
  • ‘Virtual’ space and ‘real’ space
  • Form and function in space: how aesthetics relates to function
  • Project planning
  • Inclusive design: design for human needs, sensitive to human differences, affirming rights to access
  • Involving stakeholders: participatory design
  • Consultation, negotiation and consensus building in the (re)design of the constructed environment.
  • Aesthetic paradigms: classicism, modernism, postmodernism, constructivism and other ‘isms

Theme 2: Building Processes

Examining the processes of constructing buildings and creating landscapes.

  • Building construction
  • Landscape construction
  • Spaces and sites of construction: urban, greenfield, rural, remote
  • From design studio to construction site: design and project planning
  • Project management processes and practices
  • Construction activities, processes and flows
  • Time cycles, process transparency, quality management and efficiencies
  • Efficiencies: prefabrication and modularization
  • The construction of access to wild spaces
  • Building and construction regulation

Theme 3: Environmental Impacts

Exploring questions of sustainability in the constructed environment.

  • Materials, construction and environmental sciences
  • Helping structures change, grow or end their useable lives—adaptations, renovations and recycling
  • Green construction, sustainable building practices
  • LEED and other environmental certifications
  • Energy sources and destinations: reconfiguring grids
  • Water needs and sources: refiguring demand and access
  • Natural movements: floods, droughts, earthquakes and other acts of nature
  • Waste creation, transportation and recycling or disposal
  • Determining footprints: environmental impact analyses

Theme 4: Social Impacts

Investigating the social life of constructed environments.

  • Functions of construction: housing, commercial, public, community
  • Habitats: home, work, civic, business, natural
  • Spatial cultures: the ethnography of space
  • Cultural diversity and the built environment
  • Gender and the built environment
  • Disabilities and corporeal differences in the built environment
  • Heritage values and practices in design, architecture and construction
  • Addressing inequality and poverty in the built environment
  • The global and the local: applying human and material resources
  • Values, ethics and aesthetics in environmental decision making
  • Leadership and management in the constructed environment
  • Education and training for workers in the constructed environment
  • Values and ethics in the constructed and natural environments
  • Research and evaluation methods in the constructed environment
  • Law and regulation in and for the constructed and natural environments
  • Human resources and workforces in the building and environment sectors
  • Needs assessment and analysis
  • Social impact analyses

Special Focus: Urban Regeneration (UR)

Between regeneration and resentment

"Resentment becomes a lengthening pole between them and us; the have consumer and the have-not consumer. Resentment calls up mass movements, more systems take command… pressure groups thrive in unidentified resentment…gangs form in the void where the community ought to be and is wanting."

Alison Smithson, “Collective Design: The Violent Consumer, Or Waiting for the Goodies”, Architectural Design, (nº 5, 1974, pp. W274-279), p. 277.

The history of Urban Regeneration (UR) in contemporary cities is a cyclical one. We have repeatedly seen deprived areas in our cities demolished in a circularity process of destroying the “bad” old past in order to generate a promising new “good” future. We have seen this process happening mainly in areas that are targets of economic pressure, mostly related to fragile social/working housing and their communities. This is a process which makes, and simultaneously unmakes, the environment. In-between people are displaced and community bonds are dismantled.

This theme aims to make the problem of what is hidden under the persistent "label" of UR visible, and to bring it to discussion. Although this process is always presented as a positive outcome for the evolution of cities, something which enhances the quality of life of urban communities, we intend to begin a conversation that addresses how UR is also catalyzing a continuous process of loss, not only related to public spaces, but also leading to increased resentment among communities. Both are opposed to the so-called process of progression.

To address this important issue, cross-disciplinary proposals, both theoretical and practical, are welcomed. Work from research-based contexts to concrete engaged transformation projects that bring to the forefront the complexity of this problem.

  • How can we make case studies from different geographies and cultures where urban regeneration happens visible?
  • How can we unveil the sense of resentment between communities and buildings as they relate to cases of urban regeneration?
  • How much waste is created in the continuous dismantlement of buildings related to the urban regeneration cyclical processes?
  • How can we protect public spaces and social interests from increasing economic privatization, when austerity measures are dismantling them in idea and form?
  • How can we create strategies that maintain and improve what exists, rather than repeatedly erase in order to start from scratch?
  • How can we create socially engaged practices that stimulate and rethink how to reinforce social relations in existing communities?