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Keynote Speaker- Dr. Husam AlWaer

About “Facilitating 20min Neighbourhoods: Catalysts for a Resilient and Liveable City”

Arguably the most acclaimed urban policy response to the Covid-19 pandemic and climate crisis has been the Fifteen Minute City and 20min Neighbourhoods that have been developed and applied across the world to establish urban development and community regeneration (eg in Paris and London) and also to remedy lower density sprawl (in greater Melbourne).

These initiatives build upon the long-established notion that people should be able to access most daily needs within 15/20 minutes of their home, thereby reducing commuting lengths and transport demand, and promoting local neighbourhood identity and liveability. However, these initiatives raise some critical questions, particularly in the context of Covid-19 and the future of liveable cities and climate mitigation: Can we accommodate an urban quarter in 15/20 minutes? Could it draw investment, services and power back into local communities? Or does it misjudge the hierarchical nature of cities, including the role of their centres? What would the benefits and risks be for the economy, health and the environment? For residents, traders, employers and transport providers? For the old and young, families and singles?

This presentation will explore whether these initiatives are a welcome or effective way to organise urban life.


About Speaker

Husam is an architect, planner and urbanist, with a background in architecture, urban planning and sustainability. He is currently Reader in Sustainable Urban Design at the University of Dundee, having previously researched and taught at Reading and Liverpool universities. He has worked with various UK and International governmental and corporate agencies on research, training and engagement projects. Husam’s work has had a demonstrable impact in both academia and practice. He has a focussed interest in the past and future of sustainable places, towns and cities, and in particular the development of new approaches to sustainable urbanism and the way new methodologies are facilitated and managed. Titles include: Site and Composition: Design strategies in Architecture and Urbanism, Rethinking Masterplanning: Creating Better Places, ’Changing the Focus: Viewing Design-Led Events within Collaborative Planning, and Unhealthy Neighbourhood “Syndrome”: A Useful Label for Analysing and Providing Advice on Urban Design Decision-Making?. Husam is a member of the Urban Design Group Executive Committee, and Honorary Chief Editor of the Urban Design and Planning journal.

Husam is an award-winning author with published work on a wide range of subjects from architecture, urbanism, sustainability and healthy neighbourhoods to the specifics of placemaking facilitation and performance evaluation. He brings insight to research, teaching, community stakeholder engagement and professional practice at the intersection between theoretical and contemporary policy and practice.

Husam has a national and international profile through his contribution to government departments and professional institutes. These include The Scottish Government’s Planning Review Evidence; the recent Scottish Government investigation into community participation design processes; the RTPI’s Measuring Planning Outcomes; coordinating and facilitating the Cairo International Future City Co-Design Workshop; and curating and facilitating ‘Damascus 2040: A city of 15 minute neighbourhoods workshop. He has been a Special Advisor to Scottish Government charrette events and the New Ideas Funded Programme.

Husam is a Registered Overseas Architect, a Corporate Member of the RTPI, an Academician with Academy of Urbanism (AoU), a Recognised Practitioner in Urban Design (UDG), and a BREEAM AP Communities assessor.