DUBAI – The CTBUH Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee convened for the first time this year at the CTBUH 2018 Middle East Conference in Dubai. Chaired by James Parakh, Urban Design Manager, City of Toronto Planning Department, the meeting focused on reviewing and reflecting on the year’s achievements, as well as formulating a plan for next year’s programming and research efforts.
James Parakh opened the meeting with an overview of the committee’s history, beginning with its formation in Shanghai in 2014. He also outlined the successes of the committee’s five annual Global Walking Tours, which have occurred every year since and have only continued to expand in scope and scale, with 2018’s tour including 24 cities.
For next year, the committee decided the Global Walking Tour’s theme to be “50 Forward, 50 Back,” so as to align with the CTBUH 2019 World Congress' 50th anniversary theme. These Walking Tours would accordingly include visits to construction sites, as well as buildings that are undergoing renovations and creating new lives for themselves. Tours would conclude with discussions on the future of the tall building in question, which would be recorded in the tour reports. Additionally, the committee expressed shared interest in continuing to expand the scale of the program, hoping to include new tour cities such as Cape Town, South Africa; San Francisco, United States; and Copenhagen, Denmark.
Central to the Urban Habitat / Urban Design Committee’s guiding mission has always been an annual research publication, focusing on various selected aspects of the intersection of urban space and tall buildings, with previous issues including The Space Within: Skyspaces in Tall Buildings (2018), and The Space Between: Urban Places, Public Spaces & Tall Buildings (2017). Looking to the year ahead, the committee proposed The Space Below: Connecting People, Transit, and Tall Buildings, which would be an analysis of underground connection and transit stations such as Toronto’s PATH system, Calgary’s +15 system as well as Sydney’s Chattswood Interchange. Another potential publication concept would revolve around the question of how tall buildings might better accommodate families with children.
As negotiations about the forthcoming research efforts for the year ahead began to wind down to a consensus, James Parakh concluded the meeting by thanking the small group for their attendance, committing to communicating the findings at the upcoming Leaders Meeting.