Alternatives to the Present

Architecture, Urbanism, Sociology, Development & Planning
Event Date: November 1-2, 2018
Abstract Date: September 20, 2018
Anya Sirota - Co-runs the Detroit-based architecture and design studio, Akoaki.


The New Urban Agenda of the United Nations presents itself as a blueprint for governments globally. Through it, UN-Habitat seeks to combine the material, social and environmental agendas molding the urban world. The American Planning Association reflects this, advocating for planning that promotes social equity, inclusive communities, and expanded opportunities for all. The International Union of Architects speaks of revolutionizing design to ensure sustainable human settlement, while the AIA champions livable communities. In the UK, the RIBA links housing design and social inclusion and the National Housing Federation connects the provision of homes to public health. All this reflects the field of sociology and geography with the ISA identifying cites as the principle site of social conflict and political contestation and the American Association of Geographers linking the notions of resilience and urban justice.

This apparently holistic view suggests that 20th Century top-down and disciplinary reductive understandings of the urban condition, such as those attributed to the Athens Charter, are a thing of the past. It also suggests a scenario in which social equity is fully integrated into notions of development. However, even a cursory glance at the reality of early 21st Century urbanism shows this is clearly not the case. On the one hand, individual disciplines still tend to work in isolation and even in competition, while on the other, Neoliberal agendas still represent the raison d’être of most development projects. The Alternatives to the Present conference seeks to critique the dichotomies involved in this increasingly confused scenario by bringing together various disciplines to interrogate the diversity of factors either limiting or activating the possibilities of an equitable urban future.


  • Urban Design
  • Architecture
  • Construction
  • Sustainability
  • Engineering
  • Housing
  • Public Health
  • Sociology
  • Transport
  • Business
  • Technology
  • History & Culture
  • Media

Key Dates

05 June 2018
Abstract Feedback
25 June 2017
Registration opens
01 July 2018
Late Abstract Submissions (Round 2)
15-20 September 2018
Registration closes
15 October 2018
01-02 November 2018
Full Paper Submissions (where applicable)
10 January 2019
Feedback for publication
10 March 2019
Full Paper Re-submissions
10 May 2019
Full Publication
10 July 2019


Global Cities | Urban Design in the Guly | Temporary Urabnism | Regional Planning
Global Cities | Urban Design in the Guly | Temporary Urabnism
Global Cities | Urban Design in the Guly | Temporary Urabnism
Global Cities | Urban Design in the Guly | Temporary Urabnism
Global Cities | Urban Design in the Guly | Temporary Urabnism


Using various discipline perspectives as broad strands, conference presentations will be organised in several sub themes. The result will be a coherent but varied conference. To make the event as inclusive as possible, delegates can attend in-person but can also avoid travel costs by making their presentation as a pre-recorded film. It will be permanently available via the AMPS Youtube channel. Alternatively, they may be able to present virtually via skype. In all cases, written papers are also acceptable.

Possible Formats include:

Pre-recorded video (20 minutes)
Skype (20 minutes)
Conference Presentations (20 minutes)
Written Papers (3,000 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 with the publishing houses listed above and 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.


Image: MLive