DESIGN MATTERS IN CALGARY
Design geeks and urbanites unite! One of the awesome things about Calgary in the fall is the annual Design Matters Series. Organized by the Faculty of Environmental Design (EVDS) of the University of Calgary, this public lecture series runs from September to April each year.
The purpose of the lecture series is to engage the community in the exchange of ideas and strengthening Calgary’s stance as an up and coming metropolis. Each session has a different theme for potential urban opportunities and weaknesses in Calgary. Speakers are local and international, providing presentations on architecture, urban planning, urban design, community and economic development. Discussing these topics from both a local and international perspective allows the audience to examine these topics from a genuine “beginning to end” thought process on implementing ideas.
I first experienced this at last year’s makeCalgary Panel Discussion. The theme was to “challenge us to translate experiences of change” and was kicked off by an honest and funny speech by our ever-eloquent Mayor Nenshi. Among the three international guest presentations that followed, my favourite was that of Rob Adams, Director of City Design at the City of Melbourne.
With a highly visual and straightforward presentation, he explained to the audience the similarities between Melbourne and Calgary. Obviously not regarding climate but that of their urban growth and the daunting tasks faced by both municipal governments. He spoke of the importance of integrating design among the various departments and a holistic approach to avoid miscommunication. He also presented the importance of small practical changes and the value of citizen participation in design research. Through innovative urban revitalization programs, the city centre reversed its’ declining image and has become one of the most desirable and livable areas in the world. The Economist magazine ranked Melbourne 2nd for its’ World’s Most Livable Cities Index in 2010 and elevated the ranking to 1st in 2011.
Rob Adams showed the immense possibilities of embracing change and new ideas and reminded me of some of my favourite spaces in Calgary. It was a memorable evening. It was one of those moments when I was reminded that Calgary is in an exciting state of growth and opportunities.
The first lecture is September 12th and will be lead by Bruce Mau, a highly respected designer that believes in the importance of design that unleashes creativity. To learn more about this lecture series and upcoming events, click HERE for the Design Matters Lecture Series website.
Where: All lectures are held at the University of Calgary Downtown Campus 906, 8th Ave. SW and begin at 6 pm
Design Matters Lecture Series – Speakers List
September 12, 2012 Bruce Mau – Bruce Mau Design
October 10, 2012 Shelley Hornstein – York University
November 7, 2012 Jose Gomez-Marquez – Little Devices
January 23, 2013 Richard Thieme – Thieme Works
Febuary 6, 2013 Tom Wiscombe – Tom Wiscombe Design
February 20, 2013 Alvin Huang – Synthesis Design + Architecutre
March 6, 2013 Nader Tehrani – NADAAA
April 3, 2013 Leon van Schaik – RMIT Architecture