Every region of the world has its particular cultural, social and artistic heritage. In urban centres this is at its most pronounced, with the places we live in being the result history – a history of artistic visions, social and cultural forces, planning initiatives, and engineering projects. As UNESCO points out, in thinking about the future of any given place, we are obliged to build on its past and its present: its artistic heritage and craft traditions, its design vernaculars and regional practices, its varied buildings and urban plans, its neighborhood bonds, economic conditions, social norms, and more. A city and its cultural life then, are living questions – past, present and future.
All this means that when discussing the history and future of specific sites we must think broadly. We have to understand the local and the global context in we live: the transnational forces of globalization, the growing importance of culture and tourism, the worldwide trends of heritage and consumerism, the universal concern for sustainability etc. In this regard too, a city, a region or a site are all complex entities – questions of specific responses to global issues.
In addressing the questions and issues typical of the Catalonia 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 such interchangeable global issues are key to our pasts, but also to our sustainable futures.
In responding to these issues, 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 | Urban Intervention – Reducing Vulnerability
Other questions of interest to the overall conference include: