Call for Abstracts: 5th International Urban Design Conference

The 5th international urban design conference will take place in Melbourne, Australia, drawing inspiration from the city's urban art forms and sustainability efforts. Photo by steve.hubbard.

The 5th International Urban Design Conference will be held in September 2012 in Melbourne, Australia. The conference is an opportunity to hear about best practices and exchange ideas within the urban design field. The conference was established in 2007 and has served as a knowledge-sharing platform on themes including Resilience in Urban Design (2011), Designing the Future (2010), Waves of Change – Cities at Crossroads (2009) and Survival: Implementing Tomorrow’s City (2007).

The conference organizers are accepting abstracts for papers and workshops until May 14, 2012. Presentations will be selected to provide a comprehensive and diverse treatment of issues relating to the theme, “Opportunistic Urban Design.”

Here is a description of the theme in the words of the organizers:

If the act of planning is to legitimize ‘what should be done’, opportunistic design thinking seeks to action ‘what can be done’. Indeed, the focus of planning may enable it to be read as one form of catalyst for thinking opportunistically. That is, a process of creative thinking leading to more flexible, more inventive and more contextually responsive strategies of intervention into the urban environment. City leaders in Australia and internationally are , to varying degrees, endeavoring to respond to the aftermath of the GFC, effects of climate change, dramatic population movements, peak oil speculation, emerging social media and the influences on how we socialize and connect with each other, and a search for meaning (to name a few !). Growth, flux, and decay are inherent aspects of urban systems. As changing financial, political, environmental, technical and social conditions influence urban life, it is apparent that urban design will have to become increasingly opportunistic and creative in approach, formulation and delivery. This trend is manifesting itself across a broad range of disciplines, scales and intents. It is most popularly evident in innovative place making projects and strategies such as the High Line in NYC, tactical urbanism, a multiplicity of fluid uses of public spaces (e.g. pop ups). The conference will focus on ideas and projects that are visionary despite, or maybe because of, the current context.

Most recently, Melbourne was ranked the most livable city by the Economist Intelligence Unit. The Economist noted that the general conditions required for a location to be awarded a high livability ranking are well-reflected in Australian cities, especially in terms of city size and density. We wrote about Melbourne’s first-place ranking back in September. Read our coverage here.

Australia will also be the host for the 5th Healthy Cities Conference in 2012. Abstracts for the Healthy Cities Conference will be accepted until March 2012. For more information, read our coverage here.

Click here to submit an abstract for the 5th International Urban Design Conference. Deadline for abstracts is May 14, 2012.

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