It is our pleasure to welcome you to the blog for the 3rd International Conference on Subtropical Cities. We welcome your comments and look forward to this discussion of the future of design and development in subtropical cities around the world.
Since its inauguration in 2006 Subtropical Cities has provided a forum for the presentation of local knowledge from subtropical zones around the world to address global the challenges that we face. The first conference revealed the social and environmental fault lines of subtropical cities at breaking points.
Cities in the subtropics share a series of paradoxes: climate, resources, environment, and culture. The subtropical climate entices new residents and visitors yet it exacts a toll with the ravages of violent weather. The carefree lifestyle of subtropical cities with scarce natural resources is dependent on the flow of resources and tangible goods that support a trade economy. The natural environment is no longer exploitable as the survival of the human environment is contingent upon the ability of natural ecosystems to absorb the impact of human actions. The quality of subtropical living is challenged by the mounting pressures of population growth and rapid urbanization yet urban form and contemporary building design fail to take advantage of the subtropical zone’s natural attributes of abundant sunshine, cooling breezes and warm temperatures.
By building a global network of local knowledge, subtropical cities can confidently lead the way with innovative and inventive solutions for building resiliency and adaptation to climate change.
The second conference in 2008 shed an optimistic light with the theme “From fault lines to sight-lines – subtropical urbanism in 20-20” highlighting the leadership exemplified in the vitality of small and large works from around the subtropical world. Yet beyond these isolated local actions the need for more cooperation and collaboration was identified as the key to moving beyond the problems of the present and foreseeable future.
The spirit of leadership and collaboration has taken on new force, as two institutions from opposite sides of the globe join together to host Subtropical Cities 2011 – Subtropical Urbanism: Beyond Climate Change. The collaboration between Florida Atlantic University and the Queensland University of Technology to host this conference, for the first time in the United States, will forge new directions in international cooperative research to address urban design solutions that support sustainable behaviour, GHG reduction, and climate change research in the areas of design, planning, and public policy. With southeast Queensland and southern Florida as contributors to this global effort among subtropical urban regions that share similar challenges, opportunities, and vulnerabilities our aim is to advance the development and application of local knowledge to the global problems we share.
The Centre for Subtropical Design at the Queensland University of Technology is leading Australia in innovative environmental design with a multi-disciplinary focus is on creating places that are ‘at home’ in the warm humid subtropics. The Broward Community Design Collaborative at Florida Atlantic University’s College for Design and Social Inquiry has built an interdisciplinary collaboration that is unique in the United States among the university units of Architecture, Urban and Regional Planning, Social Work, Public Administration, and Civil and Environmental Engineering to engage in funded action research through design inquiry to solve the problems of development for urban resiliency and environmental sustainment.
As we move beyond climate change – now acting upon us – the subtropical urban regions of the world will convene to establish a manifesto for the future. Subtropical Cities 2011 will demonstrate the power of local knowledge against global forces, thereby inspiring us toward everyday engagement and action that can make our cities more livable, equitable, and green.
Anthony Abbate, AIA, LEED AP
Co-Chair, Director Broward Community Design Collaborative
FAU College for Design and Social Inquiry
Florida Atlantic University
Co-Chair, Director Centre for Subtropical Design QUT
Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Queensland University of Technology