Learning from the Past and Present for the Future
Public space is the crossroad on which all the sciences and knowledges that are related to cities meet. Since the 1960s and with the emergence of interdisciplinary sciences such as urban design on the one hand and the social changes that have occurred in numerous cities all around the globe on the other, public space has developed from a mere urban concept to a now social, political and economic one. This means that new windows have opened for discovering, analyzing and planning public spaces and enriching our current knowledge about this concept. Considering the huge impact of public space on the continuation of cities’ historical identity and its role in improving quality of life and linking the past to the future as well as the start of the 21st century as an urban era, the necessity of revisiting the concept of and experiences related to public space has gained much more significance. The reason lies with the fact that during the past two decades, urban changes resulting from economic events have led to deep transformations in the nature of public space. Urban experts need to develop a complete, purposeful and effective understanding of the past and the present of public space for any future planning through reviewing the related experiences without burdening themselves with theoretical approaches to the current changes.
With its moto “Public Space: Learning from the Past and Present for the Future”, this conference aims to prepare a ground on which urban experts from all over the world can share their knowledge via analysis of the concept of and experiences related to public space in different cities in relation to urban challenges of the new century.
This conference welcomes papers which are case studies about public spaces in different cities and which analyze the continuity of and the link between the past, the present and the future. It should be remembered that theoretical perceptions result from analysis of the existing realities of public spaces. The topics selected for this conference are suitable premises for reflecting upon the current and future conditions of urban public spaces.
Why in Iran and Tehran?
Throughout history, Iran has been a bridge between the east and the west. Iran’s historical cities such as Isfahan, which is often known as “half of the world”, are clearly indicative of this connection. From this perspective, Iranian public spaces can reflect the historical nature of the connection between the east and the west. Tehran, Iran’s capital, is one of the biggest metropolises in the world. In only 200 years, a small village turned into the most populated and most important city in this country. During this period, the evolutions in its public spaces and formation of new urban spaces influenced by a political economy, cultural factors and the globalization trend offer an interesting story especially during the past two decades in which the speed of these changes in Tehran has notably increased. Therefore, Tehran seems to be a suitable “workshop” for understanding the changes of public space and the other cities of Iran have turned their eyes toward this metropolis. The planners and organizers chose Tehran as the representative of other metropolises in the world as a suitable place for holding the conference because public space challenges are more numerous and varied in metropolises.
From this moment on, the conference invites all urban experts and thinkers to travel to Tehran and welcomes their scientific contribution to the event. This conference is attempting to gather around urban experts from different continents and create an opportunity for dialogue and exchange of knowledge.
During the three days of this event, visits from Tehran’s public spaces will be available in addition to concurrent panels. We hope that the first international conference on the future of urban public spaces paves the ways for holding the event again in the coming years in cooperation with universities and counterpart institutes so that a new groundwork can be built for reflecting upon urban public spaces.
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