‘Unconference’ to put spotlight on importance of urban design – Metro US

‘Unconference’ to put spotlight on importance of urban design

For four days this month, a new annual “unconference” will emphasize the importance of forward-thinking design for Halifax’s urban landscape.

The 4 Days: Sustained by Design “unconference” — taking place today through Saturday at various locations in Halifax — aims to highlight the power of design to reshape local economies, improve public services and increase quality of life in communities. According to organizers, special emphasis will be placed on sustainability throughout the discussions and presentations.

“The idea of sustainability, although you hear it academically a lot, it’s really about how each of us are living our lives, how we’re interacting with each other,” said Rachel Derrah, cultural projects planner with Breakhouse, the Halifax-based design firm co-hosting 4 Days. “It’s really about people understanding how their choices are impacting the world around them, in positive ways or negative ways.”

Peter Wünsch, creative director at Breakhouse, said the discussions will not only be pertinent to urban gurus, but to every Haligonian.

“The ‘every person’ is hugely impacted by anything on this level, because it’s about where and how we live,” he said. “It’s about everything: where you work, how you get to work, why you want to stay here, why you want to raise a family here. To me, it’s all encompassing.”

Wünsch added Halifax runs the risk of letting a small number of people decide the direction of the urban landscape unless the general public is involved in the discussion

“Having the citizenry involved in these discussions is key,” Wünsch said. “It’s also key that its framed and guided in a way that the momentum (of the discussion) is kept fresh, and that one particular interest isn’t taking control of the headlines.”

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