OWNING [UP TO] THE URBAN SPEAKER SERIES: Douglas Burnham
Series co-organized by Maria Arquero de Alarcón (Taubman College) and Mona El Khafif (UVA)
March 25: Douglas Burnham
Architect and Entrepreneur
Founder of Envelope AD
With the urban population more than doubling its current size within the next 30 years, global challenges caused by climate change and economic paradigm shifts will demand novel strategies to address an ultimately planetary urban condition. This anticipated population growth will be unevenly distributed, with large migrations driving metro areas’ rapid urbanization while other regions will experience acute depopulation. The fast pace of these processes may further the legacy of socio-environmental injustice and put additional strains on the equitable access to land and natural resources. This presents unique challenges but also opportunities for the design disciplines to effect positive change.
Owning [up to] the Urban brings together educators, practitioners, and scholars to discuss the nature of contemporary global urban transformations. In this inaugural semester, we are specifically interested in featuring novel avenues of our disciplines with speakers who embarked on devising new methods to address urban challenges and testing them 1:1. As assignments from city administrators or clients may be lacking, the presented work shows in an exemplary way how designers can carve out new agencies and urban design applications. In their work, they fulfill many roles and take risks as they explore new territories. By examining the work, we will discuss the temporal and spatial scales of these emerging urban projects, the access to funding and land resources, the involvement of actors, and the strategies engaging the public. As urban projects are inherently political, we will foreground the power structures in place and representation questions. How is persuasion employed? Can we design for resistance and insurgency? Is open-source helping to shape new commons? Together, we will speculate on urban design avenues that generate agency and elicit more inclusive, just, and joyful urban futures.
The online UD Speaker Series is open to current UVA School of Architecture and University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning students, faculty and staff. Zoom information will be shared with this audience through email.