10 fundamental concepts for a better city

Have you heard about Ottawa's Urban Forum? From what I understand, it is a group of professionals from various fields providing free lectures on various topics.

I recently attended their latest lecture, entitled "Design, Society and Well-being: Making the Link" presented by David Witty, Dean of the Faculty of Architecture in the University of Manitoba. It was quite interesting. The lecture was presented as followed:

David Witty will express his thoughts on the growing consensus that design will be critical to get us out of the social, ecological, and economic mess we are in. In his view, the environmental design professions: architecture, landscape architecture, planning and interior design, have a role to play individually and collectively to ensure a sustainable future that provides quality of life. This is especially pertinent to Ottawa as we complete our Official Plan review.

A lot of ideas and concepts were mentioned. The 10 things I retained from this lecture are:

1. Design is in and societies seek design innovation
2. Cities are powerful symbols of what we got right and what we got wrong
3. We're in a mess. We lost proportion, scale and harmony
4. There is a difference between city design and urban design
5. There should be a social implication in design.
6. Poverty needs to be addressed in design
7. Attractiveness of place is the new variable in competing cities
8. Cities should be designed with kids in mind. Public schools downtown are good indicators of a better city.
9. Multidisciplinary design is important
10.Being the nation's capital add an important layer in the importance of city design

Quite a few of the ideas and concepts that were presented go along my way of thinking when it comes to design :) There's a lot of work to do.

The next lecture, entitled "Going Underground" will be presented by Michel Boisvert and James Parakh, Wednesday, April 8, 2009, 7pm. He's a summary of the upcoming lecture:

With Ottawa planning a transit tunnel through its downtown, some have suggested that this will be a great opportunity to make an underground pedestrian network. This lecture will feature experts from Toronto and Montreal who will discuss of the successes and pitfalls of their extensive underground pedestrian networks.

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