OPPORTUNISTIC URBAN DESIGN – The Conference, Melbourne 2012

The 5th International Urban Design Conference will be held at the Hilton on the Park in Melbourne from Monday the 10th to Wednesday 12th of September 2012

If the act of planning is to legitimise ‘what should be done’, opportunistic design thinking seeks to action ‘what can be done’.

Indeed, the focus of planning may enable it to be read as one form of catalyst for thinking opportunistically. That is, a process of creative thinking leading to more flexible, more inventive and more contextually responsive strategies of intervention into the urban environment.

City leaders in Australia and internationally are , to varying degrees, endeavouring to respond to the aftermath of the GFC, effects of climate change, dramatic population movements, peak oil speculation, emerging social media and the influences on how we socialise and connect with each other, and a search for meaning (to name a few !).

Growth, flux, and decay are inherent aspects of urban systems. As changing financial, political, environmental, technical and social conditions influence urban life,  it is apparent that urban design will have to become increasingly opportunistic and creative in approach, formulation and delivery.

This trend is manifesting itself across a broad range of disciplines, scales and intents. It is most popularly evident in innovative place making projects and strategies such as the High Line in NYC, tactical urbanism, a multiplicity of fluid uses of public spaces (eg pop ups). 

The conference will focus on ideas and projects that are visionary despite, or maybe because of, the current context.

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