Theme & Topics

Theme: Promoting Sustainable Built Environment: Architecture, Environment, Technology, and Society in the Global South

Conference Sub-themes:

Sub-theme 1: Cities, Urbanisation, and Urbanism
Rapid urbanization continues to be the reality of many cities of the developing world. Cities have proved to be engines of economic development, opportunities for efficient use and management of resources, contributors to food security, counter-agents to effects of climate change, and promoters of social health, vitality and well-being. Cities brim with promise, potential, and problems – they are at once backdrops/platforms, receptacles, and instruments of change.

This sub-theme seeks to highlight, understand, articulate, and communicate the fundamentals regarding the often evolving terms and concepts integral to the conference such as sustainability, sustainable development, and built environment. It will seek to capture, contrast and correlate issues informed by the state of urbanization globally, of cities in the global south, and of African cities. Focused on Africa, it will seek to explore why sustainable built environments and development matter, what is being done in this regard, and what still needs to be done.

Sub-theme 2: Architectural Design and Sustainability
The built environment is the product of a creative and technical process that can involve a host of practitioners including architects, planners, engineers, surveyors, and designers. Increasingly there is an awareness and prioritization across the globe of the need to design and construct buildings that respond to the needs of the present without compromising the resources of the future.

This sub-theme highlights the design, development, and operation of smart and healthy workplace and living environments. It will seek to identify and evaluate methods and techniques of smart and sustainable design and construction, understand current trends, and explore the operation of new built facilities and regeneration of existing ones.

Sub-theme 3: Urban Design, Landscape Urbanism, and Neighbourhood Planning
Cities are much more than buildings, construction, and architecture – they also comprise public spaces such as parks, squares, streets and alleys that are equally significant components of the urban fabric. The built and un-built environments are in relationship with each other – sometimes conflictual, ideally harmonious and symbiotic – always integral to the form and function of the city.

This sub-theme will explore issues regarding built up areas and massing, open spaces, infrastructure, transport, community facilities, districts, communities and neighbourhoods. It will engage relationships between the house/residence, the neighbourhood, and the city and highlight the role that planning, urban design, and urban theory play in strengthening or weakening sustainable neighbourhood and urban development.

Sub-theme 4: Materials, Technology and Innovation
Invention, modification and adaptation of new and existing materials, technologies and systems remain critical to architecture and the construction industry. Interest to improve the speed, quality, and performance of buildings present opportunities for innovation and investment – be it through cutting-edge, high-tech approaches or more traditional, appropriate technologies to building and design.

This sub-theme will highlight new systems, innovative technologies and high performance products responding to emerging challenges such as climate change, closed materials loops, security, alternative energy, passive design, life-cycle assessment, cost efficiency and integration with natural systems. In addition, it will showcase good practices and challenges to financing of new technologies, ideas, and innovations.

Sub-theme 5: Built Environment Professionals and Practice
Focused on the man-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity (live, work, play), built environment professionals deal with buildings, green spaces, neighbourhoods, cities, and supporting infrastructure. Professionals in this field range from planners to engineers to landscape architects whose roles and responsibilities may contradict, compliment, and overlap in the spaces they create and the processes that enable them.

This sub-theme will focus on the improvement of sustainability deliverables in projects through design decisions, management processes, regulations, governance and community engagement.

Sub-theme 6: Education, Information, and Research in Sustainable Built Environments
Given the inter-disciplinary nature of the built environment and its continuously morphing subject matter i.e. neighbourhoods, cities, and education, discovery of new knowledge is critical to keeping practitioners, private sector, city administrators, national governments and other actors, in step with the potential and demands of developing countries’ ever-increasing populations.

This sub-theme highlights research and management of knowledge on sustainability for the built environment, communication of information, education and training on sustainable development principles, and enhancing of professional skills.

Sub-theme 7: Enabling Frameworks: National Government, Local Authorities and Communities
In order to promote sustainable built environments, multiple actors at strategic levels need to be engaged to ensure that progress in innovation, technologies, training & education, among other fields, are guided, enabled, and supported by appropriate public institutions with a long-term perspective.

This sub-theme will highlight policy issues – their formulation and implementation, the roles and responsibilities of local/county authorities and communities, enforcement of local legislation/by-laws, and creation of community development plans and strategies towards creating sustainable environments.