The 8th Making Cities Liveable Conference is pleased to announce Jonathan Daly, Founding Partner, Human Understanding of Social Spaces (HUSS) as a Keynote Speaker.

2015 will be our 8th Annual Conference, continuing our support for improving the quality of life in our capitals and major regional cities. You are invited to join us as we continue our focus on healthy, sustainable, resilient cities as we address the conference theme, Liveable Cities for the Future.

Presentation Title: Space of Cooperation: The Future of Public Urban Spaces

Presentation Overview: Cedric Price (1934-2003) was an English architect, teacher, writer and provocateur who constantly challenged the idea that building or infrastructure should be the starting point, instead championing an outcome-led approach. His provocations serve as a reminder of the dangers of one-dimensional thinking and ‘concrete fetishes’ – a kind of perverse addiction to the material and the tangible – that have played a significant role in the demise of public space in the post-industrial city. A large part of the 20th Century was spent privatising, segregating and regulating public urban spaces, mostly to make way for the private motor car. However, significant changes are taking place at the start of the 21st Century that are defining a new urbanism, where people are taking centre stage. At the same time, the rapid urbanisation and densification of cities around the world are creating significant challenges for how we design and use public urban space.

The traffic engineer of old has always taken a simplified approach to the design of streets, a kind of “a place for everything and everything in its place” philosophy. Rather than deal with the complexity of shared use, which requires trust, the traffic engineer has separated. However, this has only served to maintain the free flow of motor traffic, often/always at the expense of people walking or bike riding, and the liveability of human habitats. It is unlikely that we can continue carving up public urban space and allocating parts of it to the different needs of our citizens and denizens. The future city may see the return of “res publica”, where public space is actually shared, not just in the name of efficiency but also with the aim of building cooperation and a strong sense of citizenry.

This talk will explore the social, psychological and cultural issues that underpin the success and failure of shared urban public space, taking the audience on a journey from the early development of our cities to the slums of Mumbai, to pose significant challenges to the current approach to how we are planning and designing our cities.

Jonathan DalyJonathan Daly is a founding partner at HUSS (Human Understanding of Social Spaces), a design research practice exploring the relationship between the spaces people live, work and play in and human psychology and physiology. He is also a founding partner at The Change Collective, an agency that designs, delivers and evaluates behaviour change campaigns for social good outcomes.

He has an educational background in transportation, urbanism and environmental psychology, and more than 16 years experience in Europe, North America and Australasia, working on a range of public space projects. He is an advisor to the award-winning New Zealand charity Sustainable Coastlines and a member of the policy and research committee of the Amy Gillett Foundation. He is a regular contributor to various blogs, magazines and journals and is currently co-authoring a new book on the role of cycling in the future of sustainable cities.