10-15-18

ALTERNATIVES TO THE PRESENT a Conference on Urban Futures

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Kent State Teams up with the AMPS Group to host Alternatives to the Present a Conference on Urban Futures – October 31 to November 2

Starting on Halloween, Kent State’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design will host an international conference on urban futures at the at the CUDC’s home in CAED’s Cleveland site in Playhouse Square. The conference will open with a keynote lecture on the 31st at 6:00pm (free and open to the public), with paper sessions all day on November 1 and 2 (registration required). The CAED’s partner in this effort is Architecture Media Politics Society, an international group of scholars that publish interdisciplinary inquiry on the politics and representation of contemporary architecture and urbanism.

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Theme Virtually every 21st century statement on cities begins by acknowledging that this is the century of global urbanization. While we can’t say exactly how our cities will evolve in response to the enormous social and ecological transformations that are underway, we can say that there will be no return to mid-twentieth century statist models, and that there may not be much more life in the Neoliberal economic principles that have defined urban possibilities in the last 40 years. We can also say that, to date, architects, urbanists, planners, sociologists, human geographers and community activists have played only a limited role in informing the ongoing transformation. Most urban development decisions today have a lot to do with speculative finance and flows of capital, and those who seek positive change in cities often struggle to work with, or around, that reality.

The goal of this conference is to look critically at how various disciplines study the city and to consider how the knowledge base of one discipline should more fully inform another. In the final analysis this conference seeks to better comprehend what a 21st century model of the theory-practice relationship in urbanism might look like and whether, under current economic models, such an alignment is possible, or even desirable.

While the conference examines international experience, its host city is significant to the theme. Unevenly developed cities such as Cleveland exhibit a patchwork of economies, market conditions, and forms of social dislocation. They provide compelling laboratories for examining the social, political, economic, and design issues of concern in many cities in both legacy and emerging economies.

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Keynote Anya Sirota, Associate Professor, Taubman School of Architecture and Planning, University of Michigan

Anya Sirota works at the intersection of media, urban politics, and design, both in her teaching at U of M and with her co-principal Jean Louis Farges in the Detroit-based firm Akoaki Design. Through temporary installations and sustained work with grassroots organizations, Sirota seeks to devise modes of urban development that foster both equity and glamour in the culturally rich and economically parched landscape of the so-called rust belt.

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Alternatives to the Present: A Conference on Architecture, Sociology, Urbanism, and Planning

Where: 1309 Euclid Avenue

When: October 31 (evening keynote) – November 1 & 2 (all-day sessions, $250 registration, check only)

Who: Over sixty scholars from four continents

More Information: architecturemps/Cleveland/

Questions: Professor Steve Rugare at srugare@kent.edu

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