Urban Futures-Cultural Pasts

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Dates July 15-17, 2024
Location Barcelona, Spain

Every region of the world has its particular cultural, social and artistic heritage. In urban centres this is at its most pronounced. The city, as we see it today, results from a history of planning initiatives, artistic visions, social forces and engineering projects. In thinking about its future, we are obliged to build on its past and its present: its varied buildings and urban plans; its artistic heritage and craft traditions; its design vernaculars and regional practices; its neighborhood bonds and community ties; its economic conditions and social norms, and more. The city then, is a living question: past, present and future.

When thinking about the future of specific cities we are also obliged to think more broadly – to understand the local and the global context in we live: the transnational forces of globalization, the universal concern for sustainability; and the worldwide trends of consumerist cultures etc. In this regard too, the city is a complex issues: a question of specific responses to global issues. The host city of this event, Barcelona, and by extension the whole region of Catalonia, is a perfect example of this and offers examples of the themes this conference will examine.

In addressing the questions and issues raised by the region, this conference opens debates relevant to cities the world over. Across the Mediterranean issues of sustainable futures are paramount. In Europe more widely, the gentrification of traditional neighborhoods is endemic. In North America and Australasia the respect for Indigenous cultures and crafts is urgently needed. In Africa and Asia, how to sustainably design for growth in existing contexts is a pressing problem. In Latin America and the Middle-East, development that avoids the homogenizing forces of globalization is vital. In these contexts this conference argues that these interchangeable global issues are key to our pasts, but also to our sustainable futures.

In response to this call, we welcome perspectives on these themes from various discipline areas. We seek a wide range of knowledge and insights, whether developed in isolation, or in cross disciplinary collaboration:

Examples of particular research areas of interest to the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya include:

Community Design & User Autonomy – Challenges & Paradoxes | Material Circularity – Climate Change, & Reuse | Governing the Ecosystem Commons – Governance & Spatial Planning

Other questions of interest to the overall conference include:

Urban Futures & Community Pasts – Politics, People & Place | Cultural Pasts & Urban Histories – Gentrification, Heritage & Cities

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