[TDW International Conference]

The post-pandemic right to the city
02 – 06 October 2021


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Conference program!


[Tirana Design Week (TDW) 2021]

[TDW Theme: Health & Wellbeing in the Post-Pandemic City]

[27 September – 10 October 2021]

In 1968, Henri Lefèbvre proposed the right to the city as a right of every citizen to participate in the creation of the urban and in co-production of social relations. The space is not merely physical or material, it is relational, and as such it implies the whole complexity of human interests and motives. For Lefèbvre this is simultaneously a perceived, designed and lived space. In 2003, David Harvey described the right to the city as not merely access to the city, but the “right to change it after our hart’s desire” (p.939). He added “we need to be sure we can live with our own creations (a problem for every planner, architect and utopian thinker)” (ibid.). Scholars, professionals and activists of different domains speak of the right to the city upon their lenses, but whatever the focus, an ethic’s deliberation is always behind as to whom does the city belong, who owns the city and in what practical ways does the city develop to encompass all interests and motives. In 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic raised, among other, concerns on cities as space for safety and disaster mitigation. This remains a legitimate concern for 2021 and unpredictably for the years to come, with many decisions and consequences being debated on the grounds of ethics and morality. The critique of urbanisation that follows capital to fulfil the purpose of growth through space commodification has discovered yet a new battleground. The public space as a relational construct is tested once again and while in many cities it proved to be the epitome of the social resistance to the crisis, it failed in others. Mobility was reconceptualised, with some transportation modes being suspended and pedestrianisation of space taking the stage for a while. The cities welcomed fresh and clean air and reduced noise pollution, but also lost their vibe with many activities shutting down, people being locked at home, travel being banned, and the act of consuming the city almost vanishing. While many people found their comfort at home, others were just slapped harder on the face by exclusion and the poverty they were already living in. Peoples’ relationship with the city, one of the greatest creations of humanity, is now questioned and the answer is a time-taking process rather than a recipe for solution. This conference invites scholars, students, professionals and even activists in the domains of city making, into a deliberative debate on the right to the city post-pandemic. In 2021, the figures of the pandemic will only increase and perhaps reach a peak. But a post-pandemic mentality should be encouraged earlier rather than latter, for people to engage into reflexion and forward-thinking on how to heal the weaknesses of the city as a human co-creation, and spur its strengths for liveability and resilience. The ethical and morality grounds of decisions and behaviour in the post-pandemic city stand at the core of the discourse on how the right to the city may transform after a crisis.

Conference format and dates

We are willing to organise the conference blocks and events matching your time, pandemic’s restrictions and travel possibilities. Let’s organise time together

We assume we will deliver a hybrid format of combined onsite and online events. While you submit your application for participation in any of the sessions, please indicate whether you would prefer / be able to come to Albania or engage online. During September and early October, the weather is usually sunny, warm at around 20-25oC and the tourist season is still open. For anyone willing to go to Albania during TDW, there is always the opportunity of planning a unique holiday after or before the conference.

The conference will take place during October 1, 2021 – October 6, 2021. Please, reserve this time and we will let you know the program within 30 June 2021.

Keynote Lecturers and Guest Speaker

Prof. Dr. Nick Dunn, Lancaster Institute of Contemporary Arts, Lancaster University, UK

Prof. Dr. Dan Dubowitz, Manchester School of Architecture, Manchester, UK

Greg Lindsay, NewCities, Montreal, Canada; CoMotion, FutureMap

Prof. Dr. Christian Iaione, Luiss Guido Carli University, Rome, Italy

Prof. Dr. Artan Fuga, Academy of Science, University of Tirana, Albania; LADYSS, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, Paris, France

Dr. Sotir Dhamo, POLIS University, Tiranë, Albania

Prof. Dr. Ellen van Bueren, Delft University, the Netherlands

Dr. Ivan Tosics, Metropolitan Research Institute, Budapest, Hungary

Dr. Ilir Alimehmeti, University of Medicine, Tiranë, Albania

Assoc. Prof. Alban Ylli, University of Medicine; Academy of Science, Tiranë, Albania

Robb Butler, WHO Regional Director for Europe 

Dr.  Michela Magas, Chair, Industry Commons Foundation, Stockholm, Sweden

Other lecturers and speakers to be announced soon.

Panel Debates

“Health, Wellbeing & Ethics in the post-pandemic city”

  “The new normal – Prospects of the city-making” 

Conference Sessions

8 themes: please see the conference sessions page: https://tiranadesignweek.com/?page_id=77

Pitching Sessions Open sessions for Innovative ideas. Please see the conference sessions page.