Innovation and Diversity:
Challenges and Opportunities in Architecture, Design and Urbanism

In the last few decades, many regions from all over the world have suffered a process of complex social, economic and spatial changes that has resulted in new expectations and imposed considerable demands on the built environment: on the field of Architecture, Design and Urbanism (ADU).
Rapid urbanisation processes have created vast areas of built landscape without sufficient services, infrastructure and proper equipment for living, and have left a footprint of physical, economic and social problems which will require prompt effort to ensure improvement and turn the urban fabric into a proper, sustainable and enriching environment. Furthermore, technological development and creative design have also become evident in a number of major cities – intelligent buildings, communication networks, sophisticated infrastructure – creating isolated areas of prosperity and development, and encouraging divisive social structures. Natural disasters of different kinds have damaged many urban areas, forcing rapid responses from authorities.
In this complex setting there is a need to rethink the traditional built environment process, on a human basis, and understand it as an expanded field where many disciplines converge and interact: architecture, urban planning, transport planning, urban geography, landscape architecture, economy, anthropology amongst others.
We believe that a new generation of ADU professionals is needed where critical thinking and especially creative design, sustainable articulation and trans-disciplinary communication are deemed essential.

Within this perspective, this conference aims to address the challenges and opportunities of innovation in the ADU expanded field of the built environment and its management. The conference will especially stimulate the debate on innovation in its diversity, i.e. in its interaction in the different contexts where it emerges, reacts and develops. Finally it also wants to open a discussion on the impact of that innovation towards the future education processes on ADU.