Posts tagged with "conferences":

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AN reports from New Cities Summit in Montreal, an international conference on new technology that shapes cities

Today in Montréal, 600 designers, architects, geographers, technology experts, entrepreneurs, and policymakers convened for the New Cities Summit, a forward-looking conference hosted by the New Cities Foundation. The Summit tries, through the lens of technology, to put a finer point "innovation," "urban change," and "economic growth," often-nebulous concepts that nevertheless drive the design and governance of our cities. Speakers, panels, round-tables, and workshops focus on using new technology to engage visitors in "thirdspaces" (where people neither work nor live), boosting the sharing economy through new (and old) means of engagement, finding solutions to a global affordable housing crisis, placemaking, and public art are held over a two-day period, followed by site visits around Montréal. The Architect's Newspaper (AN) attended the summit when it was held in Dallas, in 2014, but this is the first time AN is attending the event internationally. Follow @archpaper in Montréal for live updates on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat (archpaper). The opening panel, "The Age of Urban Tech," moderated by Estelle Métayer, founder and principal of Competia, featured four city leaders in the private and public sectors: Chiara Corazza, managing director of the Greater Paris Investment Agency; Anil Menon, president of Smart and Connected Cities and the deputy chief globalization officer at Cisco (a conference sponsor); Alexandre Taillefer, managing partner of XPND Capital and the founder of Téo Taxi; and Ivy Taylor, the mayor of San Antonio, Texas. Métayer opened with a broad question on the role of technology in the 21st century city, and panelists, despite their mostly tech-centric backgrounds, were keen on both the appeal of (and limits to) apps and hacks. At each fork in the discussion, the panelists turned back to the importance of using technology to enhance existing communities. "The best and worst thing is that people are focused on technology. [The] focus should be on urban experience, not on the technology. Technology should be invisible and should maintain and enhance the quality of life," Menon noted. Speaking of her city, Taylor explained that "people are the heart of cities we serve." San Antonio, population 1.4 million, is seventh largest city in the U.S. and is 60 percent Latino. She emphasized that closing the digital divide, especially though education and neighborhood engagement, is key to not leaving the most vulnerable residents behind, especially in an an era where cities compete directly with one another for resources and capital. Building on Taylor's observations, Taillerfer underscored the importance of adapting technology to current users with a homegrown example: A taxi company on east side of Montréal receives 90 percent of its calls via an old-fashioned phone. In that district, only twenty percent of residents use smartphones. Education and access can bring users up to speed on smartphones, but the current means of calling the taxi must be consistent with the current knowledge base. Taillefer urged participants to be wary of the role of corporations in shaping public tech projects. "A lot of innovations require a lot of capital, so cities have to be careful about the deals [we] sign with corporations. Tech," she declared, "is fun, but we need to take into account the lives of citizens." Sharing information transparently is key to having that fun and sustaining trust. Taylor noted that when body cameras for police officers were introduced in San Antonio, at first there wasn't enough communication about the new technology. Consequently, public misunderstandings and resentments arose around the cameras. "We're still on front end of conveying public what access to information will be, how quickly information will be processed," said Taylor. For all the conversation around anti-union sentiment in tech, Menon grounded the discussion in the importance of sustaining local entrepreneurs while engaging labor unions. "Unions represent the current middle class who are deeply suspicious of new tech because it's seen as replacing jobs." Public and private-sector unions, he argued, need to establish new ways to work with corporations. He cited Germany as an example of a country that has both strong economic growth and union representation. For all the barriers, there was profound optimism among panelists that cities will look radically different in the next five to ten years because of new technologies. Corazza, Taylor, and Taillerfer highlighted public transit innovations as a key locus of innovation (Taillerfer: "I dream of the day you pay $250 per month for access to multimodal, anti–private car transit for everything) while Menon cited video internet and, surprisingly, liquid biopsy, a form of data collection to detect and treat cancer. Who knew?
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MIPIM Day Three: Where’s the U.S. contingent?

MIPIM, the world’s largest and most important real estate and development convention, conference, and meeting attracts nearly 25,000 people to Cannes every year. But like the Venice Biennale, or Saloni di Mobile in Milan, there are virtually no Americans in attendance at this international meeting. MIPIM is primarily a development gathering, and, while the United States is the strongest economy in the world with $534 billion in total real estate transactions, $91 billion in foreign investment in commercial property, and $104 billion in residential sales purchases by foreign buyers, American developers and cities seem immune to the attraction of foreign capital. But MIPIM is also a meeting about the physical development of the city and while there are many European architects in attendance there are only a handful of U.S. architects in Cannes. A meeting with the Berlin architect Jurgen Mayer H. it is clear that three days spent at the fair an architect can meet with dozens of future and potential clients both private and civic. There are pavilions by nearly every moderate-sized city (Lyon, Brussels, Palermo) and large cities (Istanbul, Paris, Mexico City) in the world-except from North America. It may be that America is large enough to be a self-supporting internal market but our myopia leaves billions of potential development dollars on the table. We seem more interested today in building walls than bridges.
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From Placemaking to Social Media: Takeaways from AIA San Francisco’s NEXT Conference

next-conference The NEXT Conference, sponsored by the AIA San Francisco, just concluded its first year, and The Architect’s Newspaper was there moderating two panels. Day one convened in a historic bayside dock transformed into a children’s Exploratorium. We moderated a session on the urban planning concept of "Placemaking" that featured David Burney, Jennifer Wolch, and two "makers," Anisha Gade and Sue Mark of the firm Marksearch. This relatively new way of thinking about planning, particularly marginalized and rapidly transforming the space of the city, is making inroads into city planning circles and art academies and joining these two practices. David Burney just launched the first academic Placemaking program in the country at Pratt Institute and described how the practice is training students to link policy to the use and ownership of public space. Jennifer Wolch Dean of the College of Environmental Design at Berkeley was more critical and nuanced about Placemaking. She wondered what happens when the makers leave a place and move on to another site? Might this practice inevitably be, Wolch wondered, just another gentrifying agent in an already rapidly changing neighborhood? The two Placemakers Gade and Mark presented their latest North Oakland project, Communities Crossing, that attempts to “reveal a community in search of its identity.” Follow-up questions debated various aspects of the practice but left the gentrification issue unresolved on the table. The audience and panelists from earlier sessions seemed thrilled to be in the company of other practitioners, so the harder questions about the long-term impact of the practice were not addressed. The second day of the conference moved to the sagging modernist San Francisco County Fair Building in Golden Gate Park. In a session labeled "Business," we moderated a panel, Architects & Social Media, with Kenneth Caldwell, Amanda Walter, and architect Mark English. Caldwell a communications consultant to architects argued that designer featured profiles in traditional or “earned” media are difficult to come by and that today most architects would be better served to have a social media strategy targeted to their existing networks. This he considers professional “owned media.” But he argued content in these media streams should be delivered personally to key those contacts nurtured over many years. Walter was more direct. She wrote the book Social Media in Action: Comprehensive Guide for Architecture, Engineering, Planning and Environmental Consulting Firms, which is the bible for design firms trying to figure out marketing. Water claimed they should “consider what issues and challenges their potential clients are looking for online and then develop and share content that helps them." Mark English, a San Francisco architect who specializes in single-family homes and entertainment projects, spends 10 hours a week promoting his practice on various social media sites. He also claimed that he has gotten four major projects in the last year from his personal blog posts and other media posts. This session had a flurry of audience responses and questions to these media professionals from both older architects trying to understand this media landscape and young designers just starting out and wanting to know how to position their firms. Created by the earned media, this panel highlighted the difficulties of owned media. The NEXT Conference was lightly attended and suffered from being staged in two venues (each with its own problems) across the city, but hopefully the organizers will learn from this first event and give San Francisco the professional conference it deserves "NEXT" year.
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Talking tall buildings in Shanghai

In September the Chicago-based Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat (CTBUH) gathered high-minded designers, developers and engineers for a conference in Shanghai. CTBUH, which often partners with AN on conferences, including our own Facades+ events, invited me to serve as a special media correspondent for the conference, held September 16–19. I spent most of the time conducting video interviews with the symposium guests, which we'll post here on the AN blog as they become available. For now, here' a quick overview of the topics discussed. The theme of this year's conference was “Future Cities: Towards Sustainable Vertical Urbanism.” It was an especially relevant topic given the venue—held in the elegant, SOM-designed Jin Mao Tower, the conference looked for lessons (and warnings) in the kind of supertall, super-dense development that turned the Lujiazui area of Shanghai's Pudong district from farmland into a world financial center in just 20 years. Symposium presenters tackled sustainability from several angles. Matthew Clifford, head of energy and sustainability services for North Asia at JLL, stressed building operation and management is as important as design when it comes to energy use and building performance. Cathy Yang, manager of Taipei 101, recounted how “greening” the 101-story building did not turn a profit until the initiative's sixth year, but then made up for it in just three years. The Taiwanese supertall remains the largest LEED Platinum–certified building in the world. Jianping Gu of Shanghai Tower Construction and Development espoused the benefits of the “stereoscopic” form of his building, which at 2,073 feet is set to become the tallest building in China upon completion next year. “If you compare Shanghai Tower to Taipei 101Petronas Towers, those were all isolated," Gu said. "There were already two towers in the vicinity when we started. We had to pay particular attention to harmonizing with those buildings. We consider this an issue of sustainability.” But towering, monumental architecture may not be for everyone. David Gianotten, an OMA partner heading the firm's Hong Kong office, told me OMA gets so many briefs seeking “iconic” design that the word has begun to lose its meaning. “If everything's special, then nothing's special,” he said. That debate continued onto the conference floor, where developers discussed how China's third- and fourth-tier cities should embrace the tall building boom—or whether they should at all. On the conference's final day, Mun Summ Wong of Singapore-based WOHA talked about the psychological environment of horizontal cities, and how tall buildings should better embrace the human scale. “The idea is to inject more urban life into the high-rise city,” Wong said. “We introduce horizontal movement in the high-rise building because it changes the dynamic. When you talk to the people next to you in an ordinary high-rise, it is considered rude. But in the street, you talk to people, build relationships and bonds.” Similarly, Yang Wu of the Bund Finance Center warned of the risks of homogeneous skylines. “When I open my eyes in the morning and I am in Shenzhen, I still think I am in Shanghai because they look the same,” he said. “[China is] duplicating buildings and the mistakes of the West. There is focus on building bizarre and tall buildings but ignorance of the connotations–resulting in cold buildings for cold cities. As a developer, I call on architects: you need to have your own independent ideas that bring vitality.” You can read more about the conference on CTBUH's website. Check back here as we post video interviews.

The Clock is Ticking! One Week Until Facades+ PERFORMANCE in Chicago

AN and Enclos' Facades+ PERFORMANCE is only one week away! Register today to join hundreds of like-minded professionals from across the AEC industry as they converge on Chicago from October 24th-25th to discuss the most exciting breakthroughs in high-performance building enclosures. The response has been overwhelming and there are just a few seats remaining, so don’t miss your chance to be part of this groundbreaking event! Be there for hands-on technology workshops and in-depth discussions of the tools and techniques that are forcing a paradigm shift in the way high-performance architecture is conceived and constructed. Form lasting professional connections with leading innovators from across the industry through our unbeatable networking opportunities. Set new standards for performance in your professional practice. The future of architecture begins at Facades+, so sign up today before the clock runs out!
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Network with Leading Professionals from Across the AEC Industries at Facades Plus

At AN and Enclos’ Facades+ PERFORMANCE, the most anticipated conference on high-performance building enclosures, we not only provide you with the educational experiences that enable you to push your professional practice into emerging architectural frontiers, but we facilitate the networking opportunities that provide you with connections you need to excel in today’s dynamic professional environment. Be there as hundreds of leading specialists from across the AEC industries gather to share and discuss the latest methods and technologies that are revolutionizing the built landscape. Whether you are an architect, engineer, fabricator, contractor, materials supplier, developer, educator or student, Facades+ PERFORMANCE is the destination for those interested in the latest breakthroughs in all aspects of high-performance facades. There are only nine days left before the conference touches down on Mies van der Rohe’s IIT Campus in Chicago, so register today to take advantage of this exciting opportunity. Sign up now and mark it down on your calendar: Facades+ PERFORMANCE, Chicago, October 24th-25th! With networking breaks every two hours, complementary lunches, our jam-packed sponsors gallery, and, to top it all off, a cocktail reception at Rem Koolhaas’ IIT McCormick Tribune Campus Center, the Facades+ agenda was crafted to maximize your ability to form crucial professional connections. Be exposed to new technologies, new methods, new materials, and new ideas as you meet and mingle with representatives from today’s most exciting firms. The clock is ticking, so reserve your space today to begin the next stage in your career.
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Facades+ is Fast Approaching! Sign Up Today for Exclusive Educational Opportunities

icons_blog-3 Facades+ PERFORMANCE is only ten days away! Space is filling up fast, so don’t miss your chance to be part of this groundbreaking, two-day convergence of the industry’s leading innovators. Register today to take advantage of our exclusive educational opportunities, including a day-long symposium examining new perspectives on building skins and sustainable practices, and hands-on technical workshops in the latest design and analysis technologies that are revolutionizing contemporary architecture. And don’t forget about our in-depth, seminar-style dialog workshops, in which leading professionals from across the AEC industry sit down with you to discuss their most innovative recent projects. Space is limited, and some sessions are already SOLD OUT, so sign up today to reserve you seat! Join the movement that is changing the face of the built environment, only at Facades+ PERFORMANCE – Chicago, Oct. 24-25th! The conference kicks off next Thursday morning with a keynote address from founding principal of Behnisch Architekten, Stefan Behnisch, as he discusses the evolving role of building enclosures amidst ever-advancing technologies. The symposium will continue throughout the day as representatives from SOM, Thornton Tomasetti, Rojkind Arquitectos, and other leading firms will discuss the most pressing issues in sustainable, high-performance facades. Registered architects can earn 8 AIA LU/HSW credits. The following day, attendees can customize their schedules to best suit their professional goals. Sign up for two, half-day dialog workshops to join representatives from SHoP Construction, Gehry Technologies, Morphosis, and other industry leaders for intimate discussions of exciting, real-world case studies. Or register for our cutting-edge technology workshops, and join the experts for full-day, project-based instruction in the most relevant applications of breakthrough technologies, like environmental analysis with Grasshopper and Ladybug, and parametric facade design with Dynnamo for Revit—another exciting opportunity to score your AIA credits! For a complete schedule of events, check out the full Facades+ PERFORMANCE site.
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Cory Brugger of Morphosis Redefines Performance at Facades+ Chicago

Anticipation is growing for AN and Enclos’ eagerly awaited Facades + PERFORMANCE conference, touching down in Chicago from October 24th to 25th. Leading innovators from the architecture, engineering, and construction industries will share their insights on the latest in cutting-edge facade technologies that are redefining what performance means for 21st Century architecture. Don’t miss your chance to join Cory Brugger, Director of Technology for Morphosis Architects, as he is joined by a group of industry specialists to lead an in-depth dialog workshop on expanding the idea of performance in the design, engineering, and fabrication of innovative building systems. "Traditionally, performance has been defined in singular terms," Brugger told AN, "but when it comes to delivering architecture, it can encompass everything from energy usage to fabrication technique. For us, performance is multifaceted and interdisciplinary. We have found that technology provides a platform for incorporating a variety of performance criteria in our design process, allowing us to create innovative architecture, like the Cornell NYC Tech project on Roosevelt Island." Set to open its doors in 2017, Morphosis’ winning design for the highly publicized Cornell Tech campus will be breaking ground on Roosevelt Island in the coming year. As part of this ambitious, 2.1 million square foot development, Brugger and his colleagues at Morphosis hope to earn LEED-Platinum certification by with their 150,000 square foot academic building by utilizing cutting-edge modeling techniques and an array of sustainable technologies. "In general, we are designing for extremely high EUI (energy use intensity) goals, which are being accomplished through the use of comprehensive models that integrate mechanical systems, day-lighting analysis, and architectural assemblies," said Brugger. "This effort is being supported by a 140,000+ square foot PV array that is integral to both the performance and aesthetics of the design. Other technologies include high performance facade systems, smart building technology, and geo-thermal wells." In conjunction with master-planners SOM and landscape architects James Corner Field Operations, Morphosis are working to create a new model for high-tech education in the information age by extending the definition of performance beyond traditional notions to incorporate far-sighted social and technological considerations. Reserve your space at Facades+ PERFORMANCE now to take part in an intimate discussion. Brugger will be joined my Paul Martin (Zahner), Tyler Goss (CASE), Matt Herman (Burro Happold), and Marty Doscher (Dassault Systèmes ) on Friday, October 25th at the Illinois Institute of Technology Main Campus in Chicago. Don’t forget to check out our other exciting key-notes, symposia, and workshops on the complete Facades+ PERFORMANCE schedule.
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Registration Open> Facades+PERFORMANCE Symposium, Workshops in Chicago

Launched in 2012 in collaboration by The Architect’s Newspaper and Enclos, the Facades+ conference series is heading back to Chicago for two days of architecture symposium and workshops with a brand new theme: Performance. On October 24th and 25th, keynote speakers Stefan Behnisch of Behnisch Architekten and Gerardo Salinas of Rojkind Arquitectos, as well as a host of recognized architects, innovators, and engineers will engage attendees on the subject of facade design within the last five years, specifically sustainable, yet aesthetically pleasing construction. Day one hosts a symposium of panel speakers and networking opportunities. And during day two, attendees make the choice between tech or dialog workshops, both intimate groups with hands-on training and personal discourse. Registration is now open for both days and early bird rates apply until September 27th. Partnering with YKK AP, Facades+PERFORMANCE in Chicago offers dialogues, workshops, and opportunities for networking for professional architects and designers The conference addresses an increasingly current issue within an era of climate change and environmental responsibility. Day one of the symposium will offer two keynote addresses and a variety of environmentally-themed architectural panels. Presenters in attendance represent YKK AP, Buro Happold, Thorton Tomasetti, Eckersley O'Callaghan, Studio NYL, among others. Students can earn eight AIA Continuing Education Units for attending this day's events. In keeping with the theme of Performance, panel topics include: Innovation, Climate Responsive Design, Material, Complex Façades, and Client Perspective. On the schedule for day two are intimate group workshops, either tech or dialogue based. In tech workshops, design engineers from firms like Mode Lab, Thornton Tomasetti, and CASE provide one-on-one training in cutting-edge architectural facade design technologies. In dialog workshops, participants set their own daylong schedule to attend creative-thinking sessions where architectural and engineering firms present their own work as case-studies. Coordinators for these workshops include Gehry Technologies, Enclos, SHoP, Cricursa, and more. Comprehensive, interactive, and present, Facades+PERFORMANCE is a symposium not to be missed. Register here before September 27th for early bird rates.
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Facades+ Tech Workshop: Advanced Facade Panelization and Optimization Techniques

On October 25th, AN’s Facades+PERFORMANCE Chicago offers participants the chance to collaborate with industry experts on practical projects to cultivate valuable skills required for the delivery of ground-breaking facade technologies. Registered architects can earn 8 AIA LU credits by selecting one of six full-day, comprehensive workshops that take place in small, one-on-one, classroom settings. Lead by Jonatan Schumacher and Mathew Naugle of Thornton Thomasetti, the Advanced Facade Panelization and Optimization Techniques workshop is designed to discover distinctive systems for the rationalization of envelope surfaces for efficient fabrication, using a selection of plugins for Grasshopper. Participants will ascertain fundamental concepts of facade panelization, and optimization thereof, using Grasshopper’s optimization plugin Galapagos. Schumacher and Naugle will examine a number of cases for facade optimization using Galapagos before imparting an assortment of advanced panelization techniques using the dynamic relaxation plugin Kangaroo. Participants will delve into the TT Toolbox plugin, which will permit them to track the development of the design through various iterations with Excel. This workshop is catered for participants with beginner to intermediate knowledge of Rhino and Grasshopper. Personal laptops loaded with the required software—Rhino 5.0 Evaluation or SR3, Grashopper 0.9.0056, and Kangaroo Add-On for Grasshopper—are required to attend this technology workshop. Schumacher is the Director of Advanced Computational Modeling (ACM) at Thornton Tomasetti, where he has worked since 2010, with the goal to create new workflows and processes to enhance building design. He oversees and implements strategic developments related to integrated structural design, facade design, environmental analysis, and building information modeling. Naugle is an Integration Engineer at Thornton Tomasetti’s ACM group, where he focuses on instituting digital workflows catered to the company’s multifaceted modeling processes. He teaches and develops methods that utilize parametric modeling, interoperability, integrated analysis, BIM management, and geometry rationalization.
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Gerardo Salinas of Rojkind Arquitectos on Lineup at Facades+PERFORMANCE Chicago

AN is running full steam ahead to bring its Facades+PERFORMANCE conference series back to Chicago on October 24th and 25th. In an effort to offer the most stimulating presentations at the conference, the symposium afternoon keynote has been confirmed as Gerardo Salinas of Rojkind Arquitectos, a Mexico City-based firm. During the Day 1 Symposium, Salinas will discuss how his firm addresses users’ needs directly by viewing them as prospective sources of inspiration. As partner of Rojkind Arquitectos, Salinas has worked with the firm to discover new methods and opportunities in architectural practice. By investigating the uncultivated geometries that tackle issues of technology, materials, and structure in addition to other questions related directly to geography, climate, and local urban experiences, Salinas has demonstrated his expertise in the fast-paced evolution of facade technology. Salinas, upon receiving his undergraduate degree in architecture from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico and his Master of Architecture from the University of Maryland, worked for Ellerbe Becket (now AECOM). After working on several master planning and institutional projects, Salinas became a Senior Project Designer with HNTB and then Senior Associate at Anderson Mason Dale Architects, Denver. In 2008, he was named Young Architect of the Year by AIA Denver. After 16 years in the U.S., Salinas returned to Mexico City in 2010 to join Michel Rojkind as partner of Rojkind Arquitectos. A member of the U.S. Green Building Council, Salinas demonstrates a knowledge and passion for sustainable design.
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Koolhaas Flames Out, Shantytowns Inform

The announcement that Rem Koolhaas would be the keynote speaker for the “Ecological Urbanism” conference at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (GSD), which took place over three days last weekend, raised eyebrows, especially among sustainability-minded architects, landscape architects, and planners. Koolhaas had never shown any particular interest in the subject, and the fire at his TVCC Tower in Beijing was interpreted by many as a symbol of an era that had come to an end, ushering in more sustainable and responsible practices. Those of us who admire and respect his projects, but also believe that our profession needs to go green to adapt to the 21st century, were hoping his speech would redeem his formerly blasé attitude toward sustainability and provide some clarification of why this seemingly odd choice for a keynote was made. No such luck. Despite the disappointing keynote speech, charged with needless attacks against talented colleagues, including Renzo Piano and Norman Foster, and no definitive resolution as to what Ecological Urbanism is or should be, the conference added provocative ideas to the discourse on sustainable architecture and planning. Along with the usual urban farms, solar panels, wind farms, and bioswales, there were innovative proposals that advocated for changes in technological and programmatic aspects of the profession, from Mitchell Joachim’s radical houses made of meat and compact electric transportation systems presented by MIT’s William Mitchell to proposals for highrise cemeteries and prisons in the middle of Manhattan by Spanish architect Inaki Abalos. Probably one of the most enlightening talks, stripped from the glamour of sci-fi technologies or sexy images, was the breakout session on informal cities in Latin America led by Christian Werthmann, Associate Professor and Program Director at the Department of Landscape Architecture at the GSD. He conducts what he calls “dirty work,” a research initiative on upgrading informal cities. Despite the region’s slowing growth rate, lessons can be learned from the formation of favelas, barrios, or shantytowns. “The world has entered the urban millennium. Half the world's people now live in cities and towns. That in itself marks a historic transition,” said then UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan, according to a 2005 UN-Habitat report. “But what will happen over the next 30 years is just as significant. According to United Nations projections, virtually all of the world's population growth will occur in the urban areas of low- and middle-income countries. How we manage that growth will go a long way toward influencing the world's future peace and prosperity.” Werthmann told AN: “There are two fields of operation regarding informal settlements. One is to retrofit existing informal cities, and the other is how do you control or guide the future of informal cities.” In Latin America, there are examples like Brazil, where the government provides informal cities with communal infrastructure: water, electricity, health, sewage, and roads. But there are no comprehensive strategies. Other approaches involve community endeavors and grassroots movements. But how can cities prepare for this to create healthier communities? “That is a harder task. Nobody wants to give away their own land so people can build on it,” he said. Favelas and slums have received a lot of attention in movies like City of God and Slumdog Millionaire, in which they are depicted as unsanitary and dangerous places. But there is more to them than violence and disease. Interestingly enough slums have many of the qualities that make thriving cities frequently promoted by urban planners: They are pedestrian-friendly, high-density, mixed-use, and made of recycled materials, usually debris from adjacent formal cities. “American and European cities could learn from these informal settlements as an example for low-rise, high-density development. They have an intensive street life, the public space is not much but well used, as opposed to the suburban model, which is completely inefficient,” Werthmann said. “There is a need for an in-between model, that is not the highrise of Manhattan or Sao Paulo.” The overall sentiment of the conference was that urban living is the most sustainable way to live, so it was interesting that the counterpart of retrofitting shantytowns—fixing suburbia—didn’t come up. It would have been nice to see more ideas like that and less of distant, zero-carbon cities for a privileged few, like Foster’s Masdar project in Abu Dhabi.