By Andrew Hickey

Art can play a powerful and valuable role in healing community and fostering dialogue about public policy. I experienced a striking example of this when a Portland art and music venue became a center for talking about community issues that failed to be addressed in other spaces, like the gender divide in electronic music; current sex worker issues; or the need for music spaces to address larger political concerns, such as the presidential election. The effectiveness of these events, workshops, and community dialogue, lead me to investigate recent efforts that bridge the gap between art and community.

Suzanne Crowhurst Lennard was keynote speaker at the Norwegian Architectural Institute’s Annual Conference in Oslo, November 24. “The built environment is health policy in concrete”, she reminds the audience, and if we want to make our cities healthy we must first make them healthy for children: the environment a child grows up in shapes their health for the rest of their lives.

This eReport presents six presentations and slides dealing with different aspects of community engagement, including a methodology for eliciting a community vision, children’s involvement in improving their neighborhood, a history of civic engagement in a city, and community-led improvements in a neighborhood, as well as case studies showing how to involve more diverse skills in achieving lasting improvements.

In Moscow and St. Petersburg where Maxim Atayants works, new buildings continue to be constructed using one of two styles – either classical, or 1960s concrete/glass style.  As an architect, Maxim believes it is important to create a continuous, human scale urban fabric that provides a hospitable background and setting for people’s lives. Classical architecture and urban design allows him to achieve this goal.

Presenting the latest achievements and research from Europe, North America, and around the world, this eReport contains 10 presentations (papers and slide sets), on city strategies, and tools for sustainable infrastructure, innovative research and state of the art solutions.

This eReport, consisting of 7 papers and slide sets, presents some of the most innovative and advanced achievements worldwide for creating a healthy city through protection of green areas and waterways.

I am very pleased this issue is receiving attention from Steve Price.  I hope he and others will take this much further. It is an issue I addressed some time ago in my article Loneliness is Life Threatening: We Can Design Cities to Foster Community. So much more needs to be done!

Pope Francis’ encyclical, Laudato Si is an urgent call to humanity to become aware of the negative and immoral impact bad city-making has on the planet, and on humans. The Pope, explained Father Alejandro Crosthwaite at his presentation at the 53rd IMCL Conference in Rome, calls for a global initiative, to reach across national borders and give topmost priority to the preservation of our ‘common home’.

Ferdinand Johns, FAIA gave a gorgeously illustrated, impassioned speech at the 53rd Conference in Rome arguing that the way our buildings and cities are designed really matters. We cannot let the market decide, and we cannot let big corporations or starchitects make all the decisions or we end up with a very unlivable city.

The most important aspect of city making – the design of public spaces for social interaction – is the theme of this e-report, which includes slides and papers by 12 experts and researchers from around the world, including Jan Gehl, Barra MacRuari and Michael Mehaffy. The expert content provides a wealth of insight and information for all committed to creating a more hospitable, lively, and equitable public realm.

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