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Save the Date: INTBAU World Congress 2016

Following on from the success of our inaugural World Congress in February 2015, we are pleased to announce our second World Congress, taking place in London on 14-15 November 2016.

You are invited to save the date for the next INTBAU World Congress, taking place in London on 14-15 November 2016.

The Congress will be titled ‘Tomorrow’s Cities: Building the Future‘ and will take place at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), in London.

This year’s Congress will cover three themes, all relating to the overall topic of ‘Tomorrow’s Cities’:

  • Rapid Urbanisation
  • Shifting Identities
  • Shelter


Read more about last year’s World Congress, ‘Local Solutions to Global Challenges’, here. 

Tickets are now on sale, with limited early bird tickets available. Visit our new Congress 2016 website. 

1. RAPID URBANISATION: how can our cities grow sustainably?

Cities are growing at an unprecedented rate, with 54.5% of the world’s population now living in urban environments. Countries around the world face similar challenges and opportunities as their cities undergo rapid expansion to accommodate mass rural to urban migration. In light of the 2016 United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III), now is the time to consider the potential of the New Urban Agenda and 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Initiatives such as the Rockefeller Foundation’s ‘100 Resilient Cities’, the Government of India’s ‘100 Smart Cities’, ‘Future Cities’, and ‘Future of Places’, and organisations including the Commonwealth Association of Planners, Legatum Institute, and the Prince’s Foundation for Building Community are developing proposals for how growth can happen sustainably. Governments, planners, architects, and builders must develop a rapid response to rapid urbanisation. This session will set the overarching theme for the Congress, assessing efforts being made around the world, and bringing together diverse views and perspectives to develop and support both new and tested answers to the question of how our cities can grow quickly and sustainably.

INTBAU believes that traditional buildings and places maintain a balance with nature and society that has been developed over many generations. Traditional buildings and places can offer a profound modernity beyond novelty and look forward to a better future. Our international network has knowledge of traditional urban forms that are high-density, walkable, and based upon the use of locally available materials. This positions us to make a valuable contribution to current rapidly urbanising conditions, through the discussion of and research into methods for providing traditional low-cost, self-help forms of construction appropriate for vast new urban areas.

2. SHIFTING IDENTITIES: how does heritage evolve?

Heritage is deeply linked to the concept of identity, providing a shared way for people to identify with the world around them, the past that has led to the present, and the future that may unfold. Heritage buildings exhibit a set of features that guarantee a particular place’s distinctiveness and continuity in time, and are endowed with meaning through their use by successive generations. The word ‘heritage’ has its root in the Latin word for ‘heir’: traditions are designed to be inherited. Traditions are also designed to evolve, change, and adapt as contexts and people’s needs change. Opposing forces mark our particular present tense: on the one hand, the homogenising force of globalisation means that local traditions and place identity assume an even more vital importance; on the other hand, the increased movement of people coupled with political and economic pressure for development can weaken connections to heritage and identity. Continuing the discussion of rapid urbanisation, this session will examine how identities shift as heritage evolves in urban contexts, looking at the formation of community, tourism and the economic potential of built heritage, memory in architecture, impermanence and the temporary in architecture, and the need for both construction and destruction to allow traditions to continue to adapt to retain their relevance.

INTBAU believes that local, regional, and national traditions provide the opportunity for communities to retain their individuality with the advance of globalisation. Traditions allow us to recognise the lessons of history, enrich our lives, and offer our inheritance to the future. Through our network’s knowledge of diverse building traditions, we have an understanding of how communities identify with places, and can help decipher the process of transferring tradition from one place to another. Our recognition of the role of tradition in giving an anchor to the formation of communities can also provide useful insights.

3. SHELTER: how can we build better homes?

The most fundamental purpose of architecture is to protect us from the elements. The nature of these elements varies from place to place, incorporating everything from geography and climate, to political and economic contexts. The very human need for shelter can be considered alongside the equally human need for a home: a place that gives a unique sense of belonging. How shelters, homes, and houses are defined must adapt to meet the changing requirements of people living in changing landscapes which demand everything from wearable dwellings, to the ‘formalisation’ of informal settlements, to adaptive reuse, mixed use, and more responsive housing policies. That we are in the midst of a global shelter-related crisis is a certainty, with United Nations figures suggesting that an additional three billion people will need access to housing by 2030, that 30% of the world’s urban population live in slums, and that over 50 million people are currently forcibly displaced worldwide. It will not be possible to develop one generalised, high-level solution to these very significant challenges. This session will explore the urgent need for local ideas, proposals, and models of how we can create, provide, and build better homes that effectively and sustainably respond to rapid urbanisation.

INTBAU believes that traditional buildings enhance our quality of life. We have knowledge of diverse forms of building that are tested, flexible, easy to maintain, and adapted to local context through the use of materials and techniques, which can also reduce costs. Research suggests that inhabitants identify more easily with houses that continue and develop established traditional forms, thereby increasing the sense of belonging and inclusion necessary to feeling ‘at home’. Essential to the creation, provision, and building of new homes is meaningful community engagement. Our international network has considerable experience in this field, both through workshops and hands-on training.

Programme of Events:

13 November: London by Routemaster. In partnership with the National Trust we bring you a ‘Living Traditions’ tour of London on a Routemaster bus

14 November: 9am -5.00pm, World Congress day 1: Rapid Urbanisation and Shifting Identities

15 November: 8.30am – 1.00pm, World Congress day 2: Shelter

Further events to be announced shortly.

Tickets and Registration:

Early Bird: £145
Late Registration: £200
ICTP Members Discount: £100
Group Discount (available to 4 people from the same practice/organisation): £500
Students: £50

Tickets can be purchased via the INTBAU website shop

Read more about last year’s World Congress, ‘Local Solutions to Global Challenges’, here. 

If you would like to express early interest in attending the INTBAU World Congress, please email us on