Urban Environments Lab HK PolyU

Hong Kong, Online
Panel discussion, Webinar

About the Event

QUESTIONING URBAN COMPACTION AS A PRINCIPLE FOR THE NEW SCALES AND COMPLEXITIES OF DESIGN AND PLANNING CONTEXT Conventional paradigms of urban design and planning require an update. The scales and complexities of contemporary urbanization fundamentally disrupt the challenges that urban research and practice have to deal with. Just think of megaregions, operational landscapes of resource extraction, drone technology, 5G, or the COVID-19 pandemic and how these things are heavily influencing economies, societies, and environments. The Compact City is the perfect example for a paradigm that is used just as frequently as it is criticized. Designers, planners, and policy-makers promote urban compactness as the basis for sustainable development. However, urban theorists note that the effects of urban compactness are highly ambiguous: while building more densely and closer to public transport nodes may have economic benefits, it is far from certain that such principles are also beneficial in environmental and social terms. Furthermore, most of the research on urban compactness investigates European and North-American cases. Applications to rapidly growing agglomerations in the Global South and East-Asia remain scarce. Hence, more exploration is needed in order to clarify what the Compact City is, if it is desirable, and how it should be adapted to today’s urban realities. This symposium brings together urban researchers and practitioners from around the world to discuss the future of the Compact City. Particular interest lies on old and new ways of assessing the effects of urban compactness, as well as old and new strategies to achieve forms of compactness that are economically, socially, and environmentally sustainable. The first panel focuses on approaches that are concerned with the theoretical and conceptual background of the Compact City. Experts on urban and environmental design, regional planning, human geography, and political science discuss possible alternatives to the conventional conception of compactness and the implications that it has for current urban development. The second panel focuses on approaches to measure and assess urban compactness. Building up on the first panel, experts on economic geography, data-science, architecture, and policy-making discuss ways to determine “how compact” an urban area is, and which strategies for future development can be derived from this. Ongoing restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic continue to make face-to-face meetings difficult. The symposium turns this condition into an opportunity as it brings together scholars from around the world for a virtual debate. Structured as a half-day event and hosted from Hong Kong, participants from the UK to New Zealand will be able to join the symposium and discuss the future of better urban spaces, compact or not. Attendance is free, but please register via the link below.

Who's Coming

Scholars and Practitioners who work on processes of urban densification, agglomeration, concentration, intensification, etc.