The complexity of our cities is well documented. The economies they are based on are multiple. Some are growing exponentially, others are shrinking. Some pride themselves on architectural heritage, others are seeking to build and rebrand. Some are old, some are new. Inevitably their urban fabrics vary. The communities that live in these places reflect these conditions. Some are are long-standing, others are new and in-formation. Sometimes they are active, on occasion homogenous. More generally they are diverse. These communities need, and want, a say in their futures. Some are well connect and affluent, others suffer deprivation and social exclusion. A constant in the mist of this complexity is their need to be housed – whether by themselves, the market, or governments.
Taking on the issues of cities, communities and housing, this conference seeks to explore and document the way in which our thinking about living in cities cannot be isolated into categories. The urban plans we develop reflect larger socio-political forces which determine the houses we build and urban services we offer. In turn, a city’s public services promote inclusivity or exclusion. The housing we build determine the growth, survival or evolution of the communities we form. All contribute to the livability of our urban environments.
This conference thus seeks to explore how the three issues of city development, sense of community and housing need, all combine to make lives in our cities livable – or not. How will our urban environments change in the near future? Are the cities we live in now likely to contract or expand? How will these changes impact on communities and the way they are housed? Will new technologies facilitate community engagement with planning? Will resident voices be heard by planners? Will unaffordable housing turn some cities into enclaves of the wealthy, or will the private sector and personal preference gate our communities?
The conference encourages debate and exchange between disciplines, and will promote and publish multiple voices. It seeks to better understand the relationships between cities, communities and homes.