The theme of the City Futures IV conference jointly organized by EURA and UAA is Creating Just and Sustainable Cities. Taking inspiration from the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals the conference topic focuses on the challenges that we are currently facing to create cities and communities that are just, inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable, while reducing poverty and inequality. Following a decade of crisis and austerity, inequalities are becoming ever more apparent at local, regional and global scales, with our current economic models increasingly being questioned and trust in formal politics declining. Violence and extremism lead to enforced migration and the post war geopolitical map is being shaken. Urban areas are often the sites where the contrasts between wealth and poverty are most stark, where inequalities become expressed spatially, where environmental degradation is most pronounced, and where the disenfranchised and disillusioned look for solutions in entrenchment and fear of ‘otherness’.
Despite such challenges urban areas, as they have been for millennia, are often the fulcrum of hope and innovation. The Conference theme asks scholars to reflect on how we can move towards more socially just, diverse, democratic, environmentally rich cities and city region.
City Futures Conference Series
In 2004 the European Urban Research Association (EURA) and the Urban Affairs Association (UAA) joined forces to organise an international conference on City Futures. Held in Chicago the conference explored future scenarios for cities and, as the conference was viewed as a success, the two associations decided to establish a five-year cycle of City Futures International Conferences. Productive City Futures Conferences were held in Madrid in 2009 and in Paris in 2014. This is the fourth City Futures Conference and now more than ever it is opportune for both EURA and the UAA to co-operate on the City Futures conference given the challenges for cities across the globe and the need for academics, in conjunction with policy makers, practitioners and communities, to shape positive outcomes for cities and more importantly their inhabitants. The City Futures conference can provide a platform for scholars to compare and contrast experiences in their cities, to draw out lessons of interest from different countries and to engage in cross national dialogue.
About EURA and UAA
Launched at an international conference held in Brussels, Belgium in September 1997, the European Urban Research Association (EURA) aims to encourage international exchange and co-operation in relation to urban research, to stimulate and encourage interdisciplinary and cross national urban research, and to contribute to urban policy debates.
In the 21 years since EURA was founded the international focus on urban issues has strengthened, particularly in the last decade. The UN Habitat III Summit held in Quito in 2016 agreed to back a ‘New Urban Agenda’ while in the EU urban issues and concerns have also come to the fore in policy making. Recent important EU policy statements include the Riga Declaration 2015 and the Pact of Amsterdam, 2016. Given these developments, high quality, academic interdisciplinary urban and regional research and analysis are needed more than ever. So too, is effective cross national research and policy exchange. Since its establishment EURA has strongly advocated the need to develop sound European urban policies. Now that there is growing awareness and engagement at both international and EU level with this perspective, it is crucial that academics engage in the debate, producing innovative and challenging ideas and research.
As a well-established international network of urban scholars EURA promotes innovative research design, exchange of knowledge and policy-transfer and, in particular constantly reiterates the importance of building strong bridges between research and policy. Members of EURA, while recognising the difficulties, want to help policy makers support social integration and collaboration in the area of urban policy. It is hoped that policy makers will come to appreciate that researchers have an important contribution to make. Our aim in the period ahead is that our shared agenda in relation to urban challenges can be developed, explored, extended and indeed challenged.
Among other initiatives, the EURA Journal, ‘Urban Research and Practice’, plays a key role not just in advancing knowledge and understanding, but also in bringing forward policy suggestions. Our Working Groups are another tool in that direction. Our annual conferences including the City Futures conferences jointly organized with the US based Urban Affairs Association provide a space for urban academics and practitioners to meet face to face and engage in international exchange and debate. For colleagues at an early stage of their careers our Best Paper Prize and the Summer School, are key supports.
For more information: https://eura.org/
The Urban Affairs Association (UAA) is the international professional organization for urban scholars, researchers, and public service professionals. The Urban Affairs Association is dedicated to creating interdisciplinary spaces for engaging in intellectual and practical discussions about urban life. Through theoretical, empirical, and action-oriented research, the UAA fosters diverse activities to understand and shape a more just and equitable urban world.
UAA is the successor organization to the Council of University Institutes for Urban Affairs, formed in Boston in 1969 by a group of directors of university urban programs. As urban affairs developed as a professional and academic field, the need for an organization that welcomed urban faculty, professionals, and students as well as urban program directors and deans became increasingly apparent. In recognition of this need, in 1981 the organization’s name was changed to the Urban Affairs Association. Today, UAA includes over 700 institutional, individual, and student members from colleges and universities throughout North America, South America, Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. Among its other activities, UAA sponsors the Journal of Urban Affairs, a refereed annual journal, publishing manuscripts related to urban research and policy analysis of interest to both scholars and practitioners.
The Urban Affairs Association holds a conference each spring in an urban center. Recent conferences have taken place in Montréal, Seattle, Baltimore, Chicago, Honolulu, New Orleans, Pittsburgh, San Francisco, San Antonio, Miami, and San Diego. Future conferences will occur in Los Angeles (2019) and Washington, D.C. (2020). These yearly conferences are an integral part of UAA’s efforts to increase knowledge about urban places and promote the development of research activities. They provide an excellent opportunity for members to exchange ideas, information, and experiences.
For more information: https://urbanaffairsassociation.org/
Local Organising Committee
Dr. Paula Russell, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin (Conference Chairperson)
Dr. Louise Dunne, Research Manager, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
Associate Professor Declan Redmond, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
Professor Mark Scott, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
Associate Professor Brendan Williams, School of Architecture, Planning and Environmental Policy, University College Dublin
International Scientific Committee
Professor Arturo Flores, National Autonomous University of Mexico and Anahuac University
Professor Karsten Zimmermann, Faculty of Spatial Planning, TU Dortmund University of Technology
Associate Professor Valeria Fedeli, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies, Politecnico di Milano
Dr. Sonia Gregoria Hurtado, Department of Urban and Spatial Planning, Universidad Politecnica de Madrid
Dr. Ignazio Vinci, Department of Architecture, University of Palermo