Urban Futures - Cultural Pasts:

Sustainable Cities, Cultures & Crafts
Event Date: July 15-17, 2024
Abstract Date: April 25, 2024
AMPS, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain


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.

The host city of this event, Barcelona, and by extension the whole region of Catalonia, is a perfect example of this. A place of cultural identity; a site of architectural masterworks; a centre of visionary urbanism; and a place of artistic creation over centuries, it is also a place of contestation. Alongside its celebrated public art is unaffordable housing; next to its tourist sites are pockets of industrial decline; alongside its cultural heritage are forces of political and social unrest. In celebrating and conserving the history and present of the region, there is a need to plan a future that is fair, just, open and, in the final analysis, sustainable.

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 | Sustainable Lifestyles – Impact & Reduction Scenarios

Other questions of interest to the overall conference include:

Cultural Heritage – Policy, People & Place | Cultural Pasts – The Tangible, Intangible & the Digital

Orgainsing Committee: Graham Cairns, Rachel Isaac-Menard, Raj Kumar, Mari Kadouri, Amany Marey, Eric An, Maciej Stasiowski, Michail Galanakis, Pere Fuertes, Jere Kuzmanic, Fabian López, Torsten Masseck, Mariana Palumbo, Marta Serra, Adolf Sotoca. Reviewers: The team of reviewers is international and cross disciplinary: Full list

Images: Moritz & Adolf Sotoca


  • Urban Studies
  • Human Geography
  • Sociology
  • Cultural Studies
  • Planning
  • Architecture
  • Landscape Architecture
  • Architectural History
  • Urban Design
  • Interior Design
  • Art History
  • Sustainability
  • Resilience
  • Humanities
  • Social Sciences
  • Heritage Studies
  • Transport
  • City Infrastructure
  • Participatory Design

Key Dates

Abstracts (Round Two)
25 April 2024
15 May 2024
Resubmitted Abstracts
24 May 2024
Pre-Recorded Presentations
25 June 2024
15-17 July 2024
Full Paper Submissions
01 September 2024
Full Paper Reviews
30 November 2024
20 March 2025


Community Design & User Autonomy
Challenges and paradoxes in participatory planning and design
Material Circularity
Climate change, decarbonisation, reuse, retrofitting, material culture and more.
Governing the Ecosystem Commons
Governance, ecosystem commons, spatial planning, city futures
Urban Intervention
Reducing Vulnerability
Sustainable Lifestyles
Impact & Reduction Scenarios
Urban Futures & Community Pasts
Politics, People & Place
Cultural Pasts and Urban Histories
Gentrification, Heritage & Cities


In-person: Live in the host city

Zoom: We welcome live presentations via Zoom. 

Pre-recorded:  Pre-recorded presentations or films will be available permanently on the AMPS Academic YouTube channel.

@Barcelona: For delegates visiting Barcelona but presenting virtually on Zoom.

Written papers: In all cases, delegates can present full written papers for inclusion in all associated conference publications.

In-person: (15-20 mins)
Zoom: (15-20 mins)
Pre-recorded video: (15-20 mins)
@Barcelona: (20 mins)
Written papers: (3000 words)



The publishers that AMPS works with include UCL Press, Routledge Taylor & Francis, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Vernon Press, Libri Publishing and Intellect Books.


Conference outputs include the AMPS Proceedings Series, ISSN 2398-9467; Special Issue Publications of the academic journal Architecture_MPS ISSN 2020-9006; Books from this event will be developed by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, with short films available on the AMPS Academic YouTube Channel.


Written papers are optional.  If submitted they should be 3,000 word length. Formatting instructions to follow after the conference. All papers are double- blind peer reviewed for the AMPS Conference Proceedings Series. Subject to review, selected authors will be invited to develop longer versions as articles in the academic journal Architecture_MPS or in specially produced conference books.



Submissions & Registration:

Registration Delegate Fee: $415 USD  |  Audience Fee: $205 USD                                                                                          Queries:                                                                                                                                                 


Click the button below to submit your video, abstract or register. For revised abstracts use resubmit.