Attending Global Place: Practice, Politics and the Polis?

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The University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning is hosting a two-day interdisciplinary symposium on January 4-6,2007 in Ann Arbor Michigan. Global Place: Practice, Politics, and the Polis will bring together two dozen renowned architects, urban planners, researchers and scholars from around the world. The centennial conference will address questions and opportunities that architecture and planning face in an increasingly urbanized, media-driven and commoditized world.

An amazing group of distinguished guests has been assembled, including Homi Bhabha, Charles Correa, Kenneth Frampton, Liane LeFaivre, Saskia Sassen, Michael Sorkin, Susan Fainstein, Ken Yeang, Teddy Cruz, Dan Solomon, Marilyn Taylor, Bish Sanyal, John Habraken, Arif Hasan, Phillip Enquist, Ed Mazria, David Orr, John Thackara, Anthony Townsend, Anne Spirn, Anne Vernez Moudon and Alex Wall, along with TCAUP faculty Doug Kelbaugh, Robert Fishman, Scott Campbell, Rahul Mehrotra, Malcom McCullough, Larissa Larson, Lan Deng, and Roy Strickland.

TCAUP has also arranged streaming video of the event for those that cannot attend, click here for more information.

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Will enough sparks fly?

This list could be better balanced, ideologically speaking, but at least accomplished urbanists such as Dan Solomon, Philip Enquist and Anne Vernez Moudon will be on hand to keep critics such as Michael Sorkin honest (in which case, he has plenty of smart things to say).

Teddy Cruz considered accepting an invitation to speak at CNU XIV but had a schedule conflict. He's doing some intriguing modern architecture and urban design that engages the vernacular and ethnic traditions of San Diego and northern Mexico.

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Ecology and Community

I'm particularly interested in two sessions on Friday, Ecology and Technology with Ed Mazria, David Orr, John Thacara, and Larissa Larsen; and Polis I--Community and the City with Daniel Solomon, Anne Spirn, Anne Vernez-Moudon, and Roy Strickland.

Anne Spirn delivered an amazing lecture at a Planners Network Conference in Minneapolis in 2005. She described the work that she did with elementary students in West Philadelphia during her time as a professor at the Department of Landscape Architecture and Regional Planning at the University of Pennsylvania. She identified the correlations between stormwater management and blighted properties. The natural processes of streams, even though they had been piped for decades, were still occuring in old urban neighborhoods, leading to structural problems within residential buildings and property devaluation. With a community mapping project, the neighorhood children learned about the larger environmental processes at work. Spirn's lessons from West Philadelphia show the importance of paying attention to natural processes even when building in previously developed land.

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Streaming Video

Check out the streaming video of the Global Place conference. It's fun to watch!


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