Conference: “Conditions and Projections”

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The contemporary conditions that are shaping the built environment globally are of an unprecedented scale and complexity creating the need for a critical evaluation of the methods, tools, and the broader design culture that surrounds the practice of Urban Design. The focus of the conference is to explore the state of urban design globally, and to critically appraise the discipline’s legacy throughout the course of the twentieth century. Furthermore, the conference hopes to propel a discussion about the unfulfilled potential of the practice of urban design and the role it can play in mediating the different disciplines and forces that eventually mold the built environment in our cities, suburbs and peri-urban conditions – the larger landscape that comprises the objects of human interventions of various kinds. It is the objective of the conference to both calibrate the nature of these shifts as well as to speculate about the potential trajectories the practice of urban design could take in the future.
Participants in the conference will address six specific aspects relevant to contemporary discourse in Urban Design:
Land/Form, or the re-consideration of architecture’s traditional relationship to the ground, city and landscape, no longer occupying a site but instead, constructing and transforming the site itself.
Micro-Urbanisms, or how in the context of crisis and uncertainty, local, networked, and even intangible interventions can have a direct impact on urban life.
Applied Research, or the instrumental use of teaching and academia’s theories, methods and techniques for the purpose of real transformation of the urban realm.
Regulatory Practices that actively engage design through planning and policy making to propose more comprehensive scenarios to the current physical transformations of the built environment.
Strategic Upgrading, or the idea of large-scale transformation precipitated by strategic changes in the urban microcosm.
Authorship and Collaboration, or the exploration of current thinking about the role of collective authorship and collaboration within the design process in response to diverse working scales, emerging technologies and degrees of complexity.
Organized by:
Department of Urban Planning and Design, Harvard Graduate School of Design 
Sponsored by:
The South Asia Initiative at Harvard University
The Andes Initiative at the David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies at Harvard University
The Edwin O. Reischauer Institute of Japanese Studies at Harvard University
Swissnex Boston, Switzerland’s science an technology outpost in Boston
Loeb Fellowship Program, Harvard Graduate School of Design

Additional Speakers: 1830, 1684, 1809, 1703, 2337

Hashim Sarkis, Angelo Bucci, Michelle Provoost, Marc Angélil, Henk Ovink, Thordis Arrhenius, Momoyo Kaijima, Raúl Cárdenas, José Lluis Vallejo, Edgar Pieterse, Alejandro Echeverri, Damon Rich

Anyone requiring accessibility accommodations should contact the Public Programs Office at (617) 496-2414 or [email protected].