Advancing the global conversation on cities

School of Architecture and Planning joins architecture programs from around the world in international conference on the future of cities

by Rachel Teaman

Published October 12, 2018

Shaping the City forum at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice.

The Shaping the City forum takes place Oct. 12-13, 2018, at the Fondazione Querini Stampalia in Venice. Photo courtesy of the European Cultural Centre and Global Art Affairs Foundation

Dean Robert Shibley will represent the University at Buffalo’s School of Architecture and Planning in an international conference engaging educators and practitioners in design and urban planning in conversation on the sustainable future of cities.

“Shaping the City: A Forum for Sustainable Cities and Communities,” organized by the European Cultural Centre and Global Art Affairs Foundation, will take place Oct. 12-13, in the heart of Venice, Italy.

Featuring scholars and practitioners from Moscow to Morocco, the conference aims to inspire new research on the structure of cities and strategies for cultivating sustainability, resilience and livable communities through architectural developments. It is being organized as part of the “Time-Space-Existence” exhibition in Venice.

Shibley will discuss “See It Through Buffalo,” the school’s documentary short on the urban landscapes of Buffalo and the work of our faculty and students within them. The film serves as a provocation on the potential of universities to address global issues in urbanism through intensive engagement with their host regions.

UB is among several schools and institutions participating in the conference’s segment on “Urban Developments and Re-imagining the City,” considering the themes of inclusive, sustainable urbanization and the capacity for participatory and integrated human settlement planning.

In the case of the School of Architecture and planning, faculty and students have worked closely with the city’s citizens and leaders over the course of five decades to develop groundbreaking work in regional planning, community-driven food systems policy, climate action and clean-energy urban development, innovation in architectural manufacturing, and refugee health and housing.

Shibley says such research reveals the translational potential of community-engaged teaching and research in design and planning to both advance the long-term regeneration of host regions and generate new practices for the profession and communities worldwide.

Produced by the school with Paget Films and directed by UB architecture professor Gregory Delaney, “See It Through Buffalo” has been on exhibit in Venice since May as part of Time Space Existence, which runs in parallel to the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale.

Produced with no dialogue, only a soundtrack, the documentary unfolds through 29 different sites across Buffalo, from the grain elevators along the Buffalo River to the churches of Buffalo's East Side to school’s own studios. The film is a pensive yet hopeful portrayal of Buffalo’s complex history and contemporary challenges as points of engagement and inspiration for faculty and students.

UB was among an elite group of about 30 architecture and planning schools worldwide invited to participate in Time Space Existence, which brings together more than 200 architects, artists and universities from around the world to provoke conversation on the most pressing challenges facing the discipline today. The school was recognized in its invitation for rooting design and planning education in research and intensive engagement with its host region.