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Updated 10:00 AM December 4, 2006




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College's centennial conference will focus on global place

"Global Place: Practice, Politics and the Polis," the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning's centennial conference slated for Jan. 4-6, will bring together two dozen renowned architects, urban planners, researchers and scholars from around the world.

They will address questions and opportunities that architecture and planning face in an increasingly urbanized, media-driven and commoditized world.

Organizers say that a century ago, the planet was primarily rural, today it is half urban and in 25 years it will be predominately urban. The conference will address what that means for the design, production, sustainability and experience of buildings and cities, as well as for the sense of community and place.

The interdisciplinary symposium kicks off with a panel of distinguished guests, including Homi Bhabha, Charles Correa, Liane LeFaivre, Saskia Sassen and Michael Sorkin at Rackham Auditorium.

The following two days will focus on global politics and practice, including presentations by David Harvey, Susan Fainstein, Ken Yeang, Yung Ho Chang, Dan Soloman, Marilyn Taylor, Bish Sanyal, John Habraken, Arif Hasan and Phillip Enquist. Other sessions will focus on global cities and on sustainability and technological issues, with talks by David Orr, John Thackara, Anthony Townsend, Anne Spirn, Lars Lerup and Richard Burdett.

"This conference is of centennial significance, bringing together the world's leading social theorists and design practitioners to discuss what kind of architecture and urbanism is possible and desirable in this high-velocity global century," says Douglas Kelbaugh, professor and dean of the college.

Other discussion topics include information technology, community and the city and megacities, punctuated by case studies and panel discussions among guests and faculty respondents from other schools at the University.

"Our conference title, 'Global Place,' seeks to capture that paradox—that is, the challenge of creating place in a world dominated by the forces of placelessness," says Robert Fishman, professor of architecture and urban planning and a conference organizer.

Forces such as global technology and information flows, ethnic diasporas, climate change, expensive energy, transnational corporations, religious fundamentalism and the loss of local cultural identity challenge designers, planners, researchers and scholars in many fields. As the college begins its second century, organizers hope the conference proves to be a seminal moment in international public discourse.

After the kickoff panel Jan. 4 at Rackham, events the following two days will be in the auditorium at the new Biological Science and Research Building at Huron and Glen Streets.

For more information, visit the Web site at, or contact the Taubman College of Architecture + Urban Planning.

For parking information go to

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