Urban Forum – Across scales

Last changed: 03 December 2021
View  over a village in Austria.

On 12th March 2021, the second event of Urban Forum 2021 brought together actors from practice and academia to share perspectives on contemporary societal and spatial challenges relating to the theme of “Responsibility of Design – Across scales”.

The theme shed critical light on how design can contribute to building sustainable and socially inclusive urban futures, in different contexts, spatialities and social settings. The international project groups (from Bahrain, Denmark, Sweden and Austria) reflected both geographical diversity and a broad array of project concepts and themes relevant to the idea of scale in design. The six projects prompted discussion on issues ranging from traditional and new building materials, the Swedish housing crisis, to the role of nature in design.

The scope and purpose of design

Participants shared knowledge across disciplines and the academic/practice divide in a purposely fostered collegial atmosphere. The transdisciplinary group contemplated what defines conscious and high-quality design and how it can be achieved. As discussions unfolded, the Forum delved deeper into understanding the scope and purpose of design, recognizing that the responsibility of design lies in raising awareness, and not simply in problem-solving. Design as activism emerged as a theme connecting actors from practice and academia, who agreed that we all share a responsibility to address immediate and emerging conflicts, complexities and crises relating to the transformation of urban areas.

A supportive collegial atmosphere

Cultivating a safe, inclusive and mutually respectful space for dialogue is the central purpose of the Urban Forum. The digital format of this year’s Urban Forum presented extra challenges for creating this intimate environment. However, through careful planning and dedication from the Urban Forum team and participants, the event was as inspiring and enriching as ever. The successful event provided “inspiration and interesting perspectives” and a “diversity of topics and participants” according to attendees. Participants appreciated the friendly environment saying that “the great collegial atmosphere is very supportive and encouraging of new ideas”. In some ways, the virtual Urban Forum allowed for a greater breadth of projects and participants, as guests logged in from all across the globe.

Programme 12 March

14.00      Introduction
              Per-Johan Dahl, Urban Arena, Lund University, Sweden
              Sonia Curnier, SLU Urban Futures, Sweden 
              Andrew Gallagher, SLU Urban Futures, Sweden

14.15     Nomadic Pavilion
              Pia Högman, Pia Högman Studio, Sweden

14.40     Territorial Obsolescence
              Eva Schwab, Technical University Graz, Austria
              Jennifer Fauster, Technical University Graz, Austria

15.05     Snabba Hus – Fast Housing
              Amne Ali, jagvillhabostad.nu, Sweden

15.30     Break

15.55      Integration of Blue, Green and Grey
              Martin Vysoký, Edge, Sweden

16.20      A nature based world
              Kristine Kjørup Rasmussen, SLA, Denmark

16.45      Developing the Vicinity of Kanoo Mosque
              Narjes Bukannan, Mawane, Bahrain

17.10      Closing discussion

Moderator: Andrea Kahn, SLU Urban Futures, Sweden - designCONTENT, New York, USA

The Urban Forum is a format fostering exchanges between practice and academia, in a collegial atmosphere. The safe space we offer should allow everyone to speak freely about ongoing projects and unresolved issues, to share intuitions and bold ideas they wish to bring to light and get feedback on. For this reason, the sessions will not be recorded and the audience is limited to presenters and their colleagues.

The online Urban Forum is planned as a recurring event. If you wish to take part in a future session you are warmly invited to answer our next call for projects (check our website and social media for updates).


Time: 2021-03-12
Location: Online
Organiser: SLU Urban Futures, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (Prof. Lisa Diedrich, Dr Sonia Curnier, designCONTENT/Andrea Kahn)
Urban Arena, Lund University (Assoc. Prof. Per-Johan Dahl)

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