Rethinking the City in the post pandemic
David Covo (Vice-President)
Moderator in Dialogue
Professor, McGill University, Canada
David Covo, Professor is an architect and former Director of the Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture at McGill University, where he has been teaching since 1977. His teaching responsibilities cover design, architectural drawing and sketching, geometry, and universal design, and current research addresses topics in architectural representation, housing and urban rehabilitation in China, and the work of Canadian architect Arthur Erickson. He served as the Professional Advisor for the 2014, 2017 and 2019 editions of the RAIC International Prize, and was also a member of the juries for the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in Winnipeg, the Canadian High Arctic Research Station in Cambridge Bay, and the transformation of the Musée d’art contemporain in Montreal. He is a Fellow of the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, a member of the Order of Architects of Quebec, and Professor Honoris Causa at Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urbanism in Bucharest.
Moderator in Dialogue
Professeure associée, Université Laval, Canada
René Joly Assako Assako
Vice-Recteur, Université de Douala, Cameroon
René Joly Assako Assako est Professeur titulaire hors échelle. Il est né le 19 septembre 1971 dans l’Arrondissement d’Olamze au sud Cameroun, où il a créé son village BIYI-AKOUM-ESEJE’E. Après sa Licence de géographie à l’université de Yaoundé en 1990, il obtiendra tour à tour une Maîtrise et un Diplôme d’Études Approfondies à l’Université de Nantes, respectivement en 1991 et 1992. Le 19 janvier 1996, il obtient le Doctorat à l’Université Paris 10 Nanterre et une Habilitation à Diriger les Recherches à l’Université Joseph Fourier – Grenoble 1 en 2004. Bénéficiaire d’une bourse d’excellence de l’Agence Universitaire de la francophonie, il passera un séjour post-doc d’un an à l’Université de Fribourg (Suisse), en 1996/1997. Il totalise 40 articles et chapitres d'ouvrages collectifs et 10 ouvrages. Il a dirigé plus d'une centaine de Mémoires de Master 2 Recherche, plus de 10 thèses de Doctorat et 3 HDR. Il es Chevalier de l'Ordre National de la Valeur du Cameroun et Chevalier de l'OIPA/CAMES. Il a obtenu le Prix Jeune chercheur de l'Académie des Sciences du Cameroun (2001) et le Prix Jeune chercheur de l'Agence universitaire de la Francophonie (2007). Il est Membre titulaire de l'Académie des Sciences du Cameroun depuis 2011.
Professor Emeritus, Peter Guo-hua Fu School of Architecture, McGill University, Canada
Vikram Bhatt, MRAIC, is a Professor of Architecture, McGill University, where he teaches courses in urban design and housing. Born and raised in India, Bhatt graduated from the prestigious Ahmedabad School of Architecture, Centre for Environmental Planning and Technology (CEPT University) in 1973. During and after completing his professional studies he worked for the renowned architect Balkrishna Doshi. He obtained his Masters of Architecture from McGill University in 1975. Following his graduation, he joined the research team of the Minimum Cost Housing Group (MCHG, then under the direction of Professor Witold Rybczynski), an educational and research unit of the McGill University School of Architecture. After, briefly from 1977-78, working for the International Development Research Centre he rejoined the School of Architecture at McGill, where since 1988, he has also led the MCHG activities focusing attention on the shelter problems of poor.
He has done extensive research in the field of human settlements planning, urban design, housing and urban agriculture. More specifically, his human settlements research deals with the issue of where and how people live interactively via the creative engagement of designers in the process. Currently, he is working on the question of food security and urban sustainability both in North America and abroad, particularly in informal housing in developing countries. The series of his action-design projects related to the “Edible Landscapes” assimilate urban agriculture (UA) in cities, neighbourhoods and communities, which requires including, or better still sustainably integrating, food systems within urban structures and urban designs.
In the 1970’s the MCHG did pioneering work on the subject of utilizing rooftop wastelands, which was achieved by putting rooves under productive use. Today, this has become a standard LEED design norm in buildings. In the 1980's and 90’s the team looked at housing and growing activities as an integrated way of living in the informal sector in developing countries. Since the beginning of the new millennium, the main focus of his research is making the edible landscapes, and the field has grown under the larger umbrella of the UA. First, he led a study of community gardens of Montreal; demonstrating where and how gardens are situated in the city, the geo-socio impact of this important activity, who are the users and its varying effect in different neighbourhoods of the city; the issues involved, and more specifically, demonstrating the need for expanding the program. From 2004 to 2008, colleagues from the Schools of Architecture, Environment and Urban Planning of McGill University and the RUAF (a leading NGO working in the field of UA) worked together on a global UA project in three cities on three continents. The first noteworthy outcome of the project, because of their involvement and that of other similar groups and researchers working in Uganda, was the 2005 land-use legislation change in Kampala: legalizing urban agriculture and fish-farming as formal activities that could be practiced within urban boundaries. This is remarkable, because most cities are still struggling with this legislative challenge. The team’s projects in Colombo and Rosario creatively used UA in urban upgrading of popular and new housing estates and were well adopted by users. The results of this comparative and comprehensive global project were showcased at the World Urban forum III in 2007 at Vancouver to coincide with the 30th anniversary of the founding of the UN-HABITAT and shared with more than 10,000 delegates including 200 mayors and a number of ministers from various countries.
At McGill he has served on numerous committees and forums including the Senate. He was the Vice-Chair of the University Grievance Committee and the Senator representing the Faculty of Engineering.
Mary W. Rowe
President & CEO, Canadian Urban Institute, Canada
Mary is a leading urban advocate and civil society leader who has worked in cities across Canada and the United States. Mary comes to CUI with several years of experience as an urban advocate and community leader, including serving as Executive Vice President of the Municipal Art Society of New York (MASNYC), one of America’s oldest civic advocacy organizations focused on the built environment. A mid-career fellowship with the US-based blue moon fund led her to New Orleans where she worked with national philanthropy, governments and local communities to support rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina. Prior, Mary was President of the Canadian platform Ideas That Matter, a convening and publishing program based on the work of renowned urbanist Jane Jacobs.
Mary has been a frequent contributor to national and international city-building programs, including UN Habitat and the World Urban Forum. She brings an extensive international network of practitioners from government, industry, community activism, and the city-building professions to strengthen CUI under her leadership.
Chair Professor, Peking University, Beijing, China
Dr. John Zacharias is currently Chair Professor at Peking University where he runs the Laboratory on Urban Process Modelling and Applications. He is interested in people-environment relations, with a focus on urban planning, transport planning and urban design. How people respond to the planned and designed environment is studied using observation, remote sensing, and participation of sample populations in surveys and experiments. How people perceive the planned environment is also examined. While the studies have a basic scientific approach and are published in the leading international journals in these fields, they are conducted with an eye to policy formulation. At Peking University, he teaches research methodology for students of the planning sciences, leads a seminar course in planning theory and supervises graduate students in the preparation of their graduation theses. He is frequently asked to speak at city planning bureaux and their related institutes and also to offer comments on specific plans and projects. Prior to his appointment at Peking University in 2012 he was longtime Director of the Urban Studies Programme and the Urban Planning Programme, housed in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, where he also served as Chair for several years. He served on the Commission de la Représentation Électorale du Québec from 2005 to 2010. His Ph.D. was awarded by the Université de Montréal in 1990, where he also co-taught an urban planning laboratory for the Institut d’urbanisme, during the years of his doctoral research. He also worked in the administration of McGill University as a liaison person with the Gouvernement du Québec in the mid-1980s. His earlier career as an urban planner was with the City of Vancouver and the British Columbia government, following his graduate degree in urban planning from the University of British Columbia.
Dean of School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, China
Zhang Li (a.k.a. Li Brian Zhang / Brian Chang) [1970-] (D. Eng., M. Arch.) is the Dean of School of Architecture of Tsinghua University/ a Professor of Architecture. He leads the design practice Atelier TeamMinus in Beijing. He is currently a board member of the Architectural Society of China and the Editor-in-Chief of the leading Chinese magazine World Architecture. Zhang Li’s research focuses on pre-industrial oriental philosophy and its contemporary reinterpretation. Besides his teaching in China, he has been the Professor of Practice (2012) in Syracuse University and the Visiting Critic (2010) in National University of Singapore. He has also taught joint-studio projects in a number of institutions, including: GSD, Harvard; Barcelona School of Architecture, UPC; Berlage Institute; Polytechnic University of Turin. In recent years, Zhang Li and TeamMinus have completed a variety of buildings and urban renewal projects in China, and have been published internationally. Some of the buildings and projects are: Janamani Visitor Centre (2013), Ningbo Hefeng Industrial Design Complex (2012), Provincial Pavilion and Roof Park of China Pavilion in Shanghai Expo (2010), National Flower Show and Logistics Complex (2009), Jinchang Culture Centre (2007). Zhang Li and his team have won multiple awards, including: AR+D Highly Commended (2013), National Grand Award for Architecture (2009), ASC Gold Award for Design Excellence (2014, 2008), ASC Award for Emerging Architects (2008), etc. Zhang Li has been a keynote speaker or guest panelist at different international events, including: ArchiLab 2002 (Orleans, France); Sensual City 2009 (Paris, France); Datum KL 2011 (Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia); ISAIA 2012 (Gwangju, Korea). He moderated the Tsinghua Session in the 2012 Pritzker Beijing Architecture Forum. Zhang Li got all his degrees from School of Architecture, Tsinghua University and has been a Tsao Fellow in the Graduate School of Design, Harvard University.