Key note presentation

Dr Husam Al Waer

Reader in Sustainable Urban Design, University of Dundee

Husam is an architect, planner and urbanist, with a background in architecture, urban planning and sustainability. He is currently Reader in Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Dundee and has worked with various UK and International governmental and corporate agencies on research, training and engagement projects. Husam’s work has had a demonstrable impact in both academia and practice. He has a focussed interest in the past and future of sustainable places, towns and cities, and in particular the development of new approaches to sustainable urbanism and the way new methodologies are facilitated and managed. He is a member of the Urban Design Group Executive Committee, and honorary chief editor of the Urban Design and Planning journal. 

Husam is an award-winning author with published work on a wide range of subjects from architecture, urbanism, sustainability and healthy neighbourhoods to the specifics of placemaking facilitation and performance evaluation. He brings insight to research, teaching, community stakeholder engagement and professional practice at the intersection between theoretical and contemporary policy and practice.

Husam has a national and international profile through his contribution to government departments and professional institutes. These include: The Scottish Government’s Planning Review Evidence; the recent Scottish Government investigation into community participation design processes; the RTPI’s Measuring Planning Outcomes; and coordinating and facilitating the Cairo International Future City Co-Design Workshop. He has been a Special Advisor to Scottish Government charrette events and the New Ideas Funded Programme.  

Husam is a Registered Overseas Architect, a Corporate Member of the RTPI, an Academician with Academy of Urbanism (AoU), a Recognised Practitioner in Urban Design (UDG), and a BREEAM AP Communities assessor.

Facilitating 20min Neighbourhoods: Catalysts for Creative City

This presentation will explore whether the Twenty Minute neighbourhood is a welcome or effective way to organise urban life. This initiative builds upon the long-established notion that people should be able to access most daily needs within 20 minutes of their home, thereby reducing commuting lengths and transport demand, and promoting local neighbourhood identity, health and liveability. However, this initiative raises some critical questions, particularly in the context of Covid-19 and the future of creative cities. This presentation aims to address issues such as: Can we accommodate an urban quarter in 20 minutes? Could it draw investment, services and power back into local communities? Or does it misjudge the hierarchical nature of cities, including the role of their centres? What would the benefits and risks be for the economy, health and the environment? For residents, traders, employers and transport providers? For the old and young, families and singles?

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