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Stellar architectural lineup announced for RIBA International Week conference on 'New Urban Agenda'

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RIBA’s International Week will connect with architects, no matter where or what size their practice is, to help them understand the potential impact and opportunities of global urbanisation
– Jane Duncan, RIBA president

The United Nation’s global strategy on sustainable development will be put under the spotlight at a forthcoming London conference, which will see some of the world's best-known architects discuss the biggest issues facing the built environment.

A programme of events and keynote speeches will take place around the British capital between 3 and 7 July for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) International Week, with the theme for the event being the "New Urban Agenda".

The centrepiece will be a day-long conference at RIBA’s headquarters on 4 July, in which renowned architects Sir David Chipperfield, Amanda Levete, Diébédo Francis Kéré, Elizabeth Diller, Odile Decq, Ma Yansong and Christopher Sharples will join UN-Habitat director Dr Joan Clos to discuss the “era defining” issues of rapid urbanisation and migration in cities.

Specific problems such as overcrowding and escalating property prices will be explored, with architects providing their perspectives and suggested solutions.

The conference will also look at the topic from a mayoral, planning and urbanist standpoint. Other speakers will include George Ferguson, the former mayor of Bristol; Eduardo Paes, the former mayor of Rio de Janeiro; sociologist Saskia Sassen; Arup associate director and urbanist Dan Hill; and director of the Victoria and Albert Museum and former politician Tristram Hunt.

Afternoon talks for the ticketed event will focus on international case studies around three core areas from the New Urban Agenda: social cohesion, housing and cultural heritage.

“Architects need to play a vital role in shaping our urban future, said RIBA president Jane Duncan. “RIBA’s International Week will connect with architects, no matter where or what size their practice is, to help them understand the potential impact and opportunities of global urbanisation.

“Under the umbrella of the New Urban Agenda, the week will provide explanation and inspiration, showing how the architecture profession can use its skills over the next two decades to make a valuable and long-lasting contribution to our future cities and society.”

Discussing the theme, Francis Kere – architect of the new Serpentine Pavilion – commented: “I believe that architects are far too passive in the world. We should be leading the discussion on proposing creative and effective solutions for the urban environment; we should not sit back and wait for governments or corporations to make the decisions that affect all of us.”

RIBA will also use the conference to launch the call for entries for the second RIBA International Prize. Open to qualified architects anywhere in the world, the award recognises and celebrates the best new international civic building. Last year’s accolade was won by Grafton Architects for their UTEC university building in Lima, Peru.

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The United Nation’s global strategy on sustainable development will be put under the spotlight at a forthcoming London conference, which will see some of the world's best- known architects discuss the biggest issues facing the built environment.
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