Our director Carmen Mendoza Arroyo and assistant director Raquel Colacios this summer co-coordinated and participated in this year’s Design, Disaster and Development Research Forum 2 – Learning from Urban Crises: 2019, a groundbreaking platform for professionals and academics working in the disaster and development sector led by RMIT University. The forum brought together leading built environment academics from universities across Europe to discuss how to deal with the pedagogic, spatial and research challenges of global mobility, migration and social inequality.

As pointed out by Prof Esther Charlesworth from RMIT University, approaches that use design to address the complex challenges of disaster mitigation and recovery are emerging through the intersection of research and field practice. Examples include landscape- and architecture-based strategies for reducing flood risks, design for climate change adaptation, settlement design for refugee encampments, and reconstruction of cities divided by ethnic conflict or recovering after natural disasters. These examples provide the inspiration and direction for training a new generation of architects and related built environment professionals. Indeed, progressive Schools of Architecture, Design and Planning are now transforming their educational programs to address such pressing global issues.

The chief goal of the forum, she explained, was to explore ways in which the emergent network of participating universities could be strengthened through potential collaborative activities, e.g. through research, curriculum frameworks, publication and interaction with practitioners in the disaster and displacement organizations.

This event report synthesizes the presentations and discussions that took place during the forum.


The second edition of the Design, Disaster and Development Research Forum – Learning from Urban Crises: 2019 took place from August 29 to 30 at RMIT Europe in the Barcelona, and was planned by staff from the Master of Disaster, Design and Development at RMIT University in Melbourne in partnership with Aalto University, Helsinki, and UIC Barcelona.



Feature Image: Dadaab Refugee Camp, Kenya ©ACNUR / B. Bannon / July, 2011 (Creative Commons licensed, image edited)

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