News Release

REF NO.: 197

SUBJECT: Memorial University series explores urban planning in Newfoundland and Labrador

DATE: May 31, 2012

Beginning this month, the Harris Centre will present a series of four Synergy Session talks titled Built for Living – Urban Planning and Design in Newfoundland and Labrador. 
Covering a range of topics related to urban planning in this province, the sessions are being held in partnership with the Festival of Architecture, an annual conference held by the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, taking place in St. John’s this year.
Neil Dawe, president, Tract Consulting, will kick off the series on Thursday, May 31, with a discussion of planning successes and challenges in St. John’s and across the province. The City of St. John’s will partner on a session with Ken Greenberg, former City of Toronto director of urban design and architecture, on Thursday, June 7. Craig Pollett, executive director, Municipalities N Tuesday, June 5, Newfoundland and Labrador, will present on the structure and role of local government in the province and opportunities for greater urban planning and design capacity. Charlie Henley, of local architecture and design firm PHB Group, will wrap up the series on Monday, June 11, with his vision for urban planning and design in St. John’s.
In the early days of Newfoundland and Labrador, structures and neighbourhoods developed organically, with little thought to future development.
Today, our built heritage is part of what makes our province unique. However, it also presents challenges to those responsible for developing livable cities that will suit our needs now and into the future.
Dr. Rob Greenwood, executive director, Harris Centre, emphasized that many of the communities in this province – St. John’s in particular – are at an important stage for urban planning.
“It’s essential that we think about what kind of communities we want to create,” he said. “Are there architectural features we want to preserve? How much emphasis do we put on green space and communal places? We need to approach growth with a plan, so that the changes and developments we see are in line with what we want for our cities.”
While the series of Synergy Sessions is open to all individuals with an interest in urban planning, there will also be attendees from the Festival of Architecture, including a group of students from Dalhousie’s School of Architecture.
The students, who are setting up shop in Memorial’s Department of Geography for the length of their visit, will participate in the sessions and use the locally-relevant input and information presented to inform their work on a series of design and planning projects based on real-life locations across St. John’s. The students’ work will be presented and discussed in a forum setting during the festival. The hope is that this project will leave a lasting legacy for the local planning and development community to use in building livable spaces in St. John’s.
The Harris Centre Synergy Sessions will be open for registration to all interested parties and will be webcast live. To register and for complete event listings, please visit the Harris Centre website at www.mun.ca/harriscentre. For more information on the 2012 Festival of Architecture, please visit www.festival.raic.org.

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