Notre Dame University- Louaize (NDU) Ramez G. Chagoury, Faculty of Architecture Arts and Design (RC FAAD) organized from October 31 until November 3, 2018, the Third International City Streets Conference at NDU titled, “TRANSITIONAL STREETS: NARRATING STORIES OF CONVIVIAL STREETS.”
This conference aimed at providing a platform for an international and interdisciplinary exchange of scholarship between universities from Canada, Germany, Spain, Italy, Finland, New York, Macedonia, United Kingdom, Japan, Portugal, and the Netherlands, among other.
A lecturer from the Department of Design Roula Majdalani participated as A member of the conference organizing committee.
Chairperson of the Department of Architecture and the Department of Music, Dr. Christine Mady introduced the conference and said: “As public spaces, streets are the places of encounter in everyday life. This is where exchange and acceptance of differences or their lack are manifested. Increased mobility facilitated both in physical and virtual realms and exposures to multi-culturalism are swords with two edges. The opportunities and threats are explored through the various formats of CS3. Among them, the keynote speeches are meant to highlight various aspects of convivial streets. The conference tracks had about 40 contributions.”
For his part, Dean of RC FAAD, Dr. Jean-Pierre El Asmar said: “We are currently facing what has been dubbed as the largest humanitarian crisis in history. The causes vary from environmental disasters, socio-political instabilities, civil wars to terrorism. This situation requires deep reflections on how the identities of cities and their streets are transforming. The different tracks will go over communication, visualization, and semiotics. Urban planners’ engineers, landscape architects, and designers in addition to philosophers’ sociologists’ musicians and artists have all addressed city Streets within their own field.”
NDU President, Fr. Pierre Najem said stressed on the importance of the conference in light of the upcoming challenges that the world is facing and will be facing, and highlighted the theme of city and street as analogous to the relationship between Christ, the way, and the Church, the dwelling place of God, the new city of peace.
The guest speaker was a renowned Lebanese Urban Planner: Arpine Mangassarian. She was head of the department of architecture and urbanism at the municipality of Bourj Hammoud and is currently founder and director of Badguer–an Armenian Cultural House, which turned into a platform for the promotion and transmission of the Armenian cultural heritage.
On day one, Keynote speaker, Prof. Rob Shields from Canada, was invited to give a lecture titled, “The Right to the Street: Walking, Street Ballets, Improvised Emancipation. Using the metaphor of Street Ballet, which underscores the importance and richness of streets and their multiple dimensions, Shields spoke about emancipation that goes beyond ‘from’ towards the ‘for’ and ‘to’ a clear, simple goal, addressing everyday life, conviviality, and an ethical vision rather than grand moral politics. Shields elaborated on the importance of changing the way we research streets, and the need to develop tools for designers and planners that allow investigating the intangible dimensions of streets, and going beyond the description towards the design of convivial streets.
On day two, participants contributed to three mobile workshops on the conference theme within Beirut: Hamra, and the Corniche area; Karm El-Zaytoun and Mar Mikhael; and in Tripoli: the Old City.
On day three, keynote speaker, Dr. Thomas Schielke from Germany, focused on “Streetscapes At Night: Lighting Between Identity, Transformation And Safety,” and on day four keynote speaker, Cecilia Andersson, from Un-Habitat, Kenya, emphasized on “Reclaiming City Streets For People .”
Throughout the three conference days at NDU, round-table sessions were included, a format allowing academics, professionals and third parties to debate common themes related to streets and conviviality from various perspectives.
The conference included other activities such as the Street Photography competition.
The closing ceremony took place on November 3, 2018, announcing that City Street4 will be hosted at the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia.