29 October 2019
9:20 AM – 11:00 AM
The trajectory of the modern city over the past 50 years has been a story of great upheavals and revolutionary change, first in Europe and North America, and later in Asia and the Middle East. In North America, the idea of center cities as the root of urban decay resulted in mass clearance of “blighted” human-scaled neighborhoods in favor of tower blocks set on plinths and in parks, accelerating the flight to suburbia. Yet the latter half of this period has seen a 180-degree turn and a resurgence of interest in urban living, ushering in a new era of high-rise construction that also takes into account the human scale and environmental impact. Meanwhile, Asian and Middle Eastern megacities set out in entirely new directions, spreading outward as well as upwards. The speakers in the opening plenary have had a front-row seat to all these changes, and their work is infused with the deep insights they have gained. They are coming together for a very special session that kicks off the 10th World Congress on a strong establishing theme.