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International Experts on Cities Gather in Cork at Academy of Urbanism Congress, 27 - 30 June 2018

Published: Friday, June 22, 2018

From 27-30 June, Cork will play host to the annual Academy of Urbanism Congress, a gathering of international experts on the planning and design of cities. The subject of the Congress is ‘Cities on the rise: delivering positive city-region growth’. The Congress is being supported by The Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland (RIAI).

The transformation of cities such as Aarhus, Marseille and Rotterdam in Europe and Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford in Ireland, is providing space for new ideas, enterprise, investment and even building types. The Academy of Urbanism Congress will ask how these cities can grow and expand physically and economically while promoting the wellbeing of their populations and retaining their own distinctive identities. The Congress will provide the opportunity to learn from international best practice on the design and management of cities, addressing core topics including transportation, housing, culture and education, from the perspectives of policy, planning and design.

Cork was selected as the host city for this year’s Congress as it exemplifies the opportunities and challenges of mid-level non-capitals. The Congress events will be held in a number the city’s most unique and interesting spaces. These include St Angela’s College, the Cork School of Music, the Crawford Gallery and Nano Nagle Place. Delegates will also tour key areas of Cork city centre on foot and by bicycle. The relationship between cities and their regional towns will be a particular focus for the Congress with visits to Cobh, Middleton, Kinsale and Clonakilty scheduled as part of the programme.

Project Ireland 2040 anticipates that Cork, Limerick, Galway and Waterford will grow by at least 50% in the next 20 years. While Cork’s emergent success is reflected in the progressive regeneration of its city centre, the vibrancy of its streets and the growth of population and employment, this success can bring its own problems: affordability, the preservation of local character, congestion and social inequality. How can Ireland’s emerging cities avoid such risks? Can these nimble, energetic smaller cities provide a positive template for urban futures, combining inclusion and identity alongside economic prosperity? Architects, planners, engineers, administrators and all citizens interested in the sustainability of our towns and cities should come to the Academy of Urbanism Congress to find out.

David Browne, President of the RIAI, said, ‘As architects, we play a vital role in shaping vibrant cities that are sustainable socially as well as economically. By integrating innovative and creative thinking at the outset, we can ensure that Ireland’s emerging cities become international models of best practice in urban development – and most importantly, that they serve their communities as healthy and enjoyable places to live. The RIAI is proud to support the Academy of Urbanism Congress 2018 which provides a valuable opportunity for reciprocal learning between Irish and international urban designers and strategic planners.’ For programme and booking click here 

Speaker Highlights

Richard Florida (Keynote Address)

Richard Florida is an influential author and one of the world’s leading urbanists. He rose to prominence with his 2002 bestselling book, ‘The Rise of the Creative Class’, which chronicled the back-to-the-city movement of the young, educated and affluent into cities, reversing decades of suburban flight. In his latest book, ‘The New Urban Crisis’, Florida analyses the crisis which has emerged in today’s urbanised knowledge economy as a result of this movement and calls for immediate action to shape more inclusive cities capable of ensuring growth and prosperity for all. One of his key recommendations is a greater devolution of power to local governments and cities.

Jeffrey Tumlin: Driverless Vehicles
Jeffrey Tumlin is a city planning strategist with transportation planning & engineering firm Nelson\Nygaard in San Francisco and a leading commentator on autonomous vehicles. In his presentation, ‘Anticipating the Driverless Future: Threat or Saviour for Cities and Societies?’, Jeffrey will take issue with the inevitable roll out of autonomous vehicles which, he argues, is at odds with our right to privacy and freedom.

Regitze Marianne Hess: Affordable Housing
Regitze Marianne Hess of the International Federation for Housing and Planning (IFHP) in Copenhagen has extensive experience advocating for better cities and built environments through the world of philanthropy. In her presentation, ‘New Demographics, New Housing Needs – a Nordic Perspective’, Regitze will speak about how we can create adequate, inclusive and affordable housing for all.

Susana Ruiz Fernandez is an architect with the Urban Planning Office of Bilbao, a maritime city that shares many similarities with Cork. In her presentation, ‘Combining Growth and Neighbourhood Regeneration to Rebuild and Rebrand City for All’, Susana will tell the story of how in just three short decades, Bilbao pulled itself back from the brink of urban crisis.

Ann Doherty: Strategic Planning for Cork
Ann Doherty is Chief Executive, Cork City Council. She will deliver an introduction to Cork, giving an overview of the strategic planning that will see the city achieve 50% growth over the next two decades.

Mary McCarthy: Art, Culture & Community
Mary McCarthy is Director of the Crawford Art Gallery in Cork city centre, which welcomes over 200,000 visitors a year. In her presentation, ‘Art, Culture and the Community in Cork’, Mary will discuss the importance of collaborative city making practices and the vital role that art and culture play.

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