Cities in a Change World: questions of culture, climate and design

30 de Novembro 2020

Call for abstracts

The premise of this conference is that the city is a site of interconnected problems. No single issue dominates its needs. No single discipline has the answers to its questions. As a result, the range of issues we deal with is vast. Urban designers are developing new models of settlement planning to address housing needs. Architects are renovating ever more existing buildings. Infrastructure designers are developing faster modes of transportation. Planners are demanding lower C02 emissions from industry. In a COVID-19 context healthy cities are on the agenda like never before. Policy makers are addressing grass-roots demands for regional governance.

While all such issues respond to unique and independent demands, they are all interrelated. Climate change is a perfect example. Scientists, policy makers, activists and designers the world over are engaged in the issue. Some focus on rehousing displaced peoples, others challenge throwaway culture and stress reuse. Health professionals examine disaster relief while planners look at shared transport models. Environmentalists seek to reduce energy consumption, while communities plan for resilience. At the same time, economists look to finance cleaner industries. In tackling a particular issue then, multiple disciplines are overlapping and drawing on the work of others. In short, their work is reaching beyond the boundaries of individual fields.

In looking at the city as a site of such inherent interdisciplinarity, the conference venue offers insights. New York is a city of over 8 million people. It has an affordable housing problem and, located on the coast, is threatened by rising sea levels. The site for the United States’ most iconic historic buildings, it demands 21st Century uses of them. The home of the US public health movement in the 19th Century, it was at the forefront of the COVID-19 outbreak in 2020. Historically a landing port for immigrants it knows the pressures of displacement and migration. A city for the wealthiest elites in the world, it exhibits poverty, social exclusion and periodic cultural tensions.

In this place, as in cites the world over, none of the issues that vex the metropolis are isolated, and none of their factors, consequences or responses are limited to single disciplines.


Disciplines & Themes:

Whether we are architects, planners, infrastructural designers, transport engineers, policy makers, social activists or health professionals the work we do is informed by and informs the work of other fields when applied. On that basis, this conference seeks to explore best practices in:

Urban Design | Architecture | Sustainability | Engineering | Housing | Public Health | Sociology | Economics | Business | Governance | Art and Culture  |  History

Participants in these discipline areas are invited to propose ‘lead themes’. Reflecting the expertise of the City Tech, proposed themes include:

Urban Design and Planning in Globalized Cities | Architecture in the Digital Age | Landscaping the City for Climate Change and Growth |  21C Infrastructure and Transportation | Sustainability and Resilience | Affordable Housing and the Right to the City | Public Health and the Healthy City | The Economics of Development | City Management and Governance | Cultures, Communities | History, Heritage and the Challenges of Today.


A conference on architecture, urbanism, planning, sociology, health, environments, infrastructure and economies.


This conference is currently planned as a hybrid in-person and virtual event. If necessary it will be moved to a fully virtual format.

Place: Virtual / New York. City Tech, CUNY

Dates: June 16-18, 2021

Abstracts (Round One): Nov 30, 2020

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