On the 7-8 of June 2023 SLU Urban Futures is arranging the third conference in the series ‘Getting our Cities Right’ - this time at campus Umeå. Dimitris Athanassiadis is the regional hub coordinator in Umeå and in charge of the arrangements that will focus on the notion of ‘Urban Forestscapes’.
‘Getting our Cities Right’ sheds light on a number of critical areas in sustainable urban development where SLU has valuable knowledge and networks. The name of the conference series is inspired by a quote from the Executive Director of UN-Habitat; “The future of our planet depends on getting our cities right”, and the focus of the conference has shifted at each SLU campus. In Ultuna last year the focus was on food and urban foodscapes. In Alnarp the focus was on living labs and urban healthscapes. When the conference moves to Umeå the focus will be forests and green spaces in and around the urban landscapes – urban forestscapes.
Could you tell us a little bit more about the conference in June?
– The conference will discuss urban sustainable development through the urban forestscape lens i.e. benefits of urban forests and their importance in making cities greener and healthier; management of parks and trees in the city for both humans and non-humans and finally, the construction of commercial and residential multi-storey buildings in wood. Each of the urban forestscape themes will be discussed in separate sessions.
What kind of discussions do you hope to hear?
– I hope to see new collaborations take place between academy and practice and good examples transferred from one city and municipality to another. I would also love to hear discussions where city planners, ecologists, researchers and company representatives share their perspectives
Next to the conference, what is your role at the platform?
– I am the Umeå hub coordinator. I co-coordinate the Urban Forests seminar series that SLU Urban Futures arranges together with Future Forests and I help to initiate trans- and inter-disciplinary co-operations between SLU researchers and other organisations e.g. Umeå municipality and Umeå school of Architecture. I am engaged in shaping the urban forestscape discourse and I am also preparing a contribution to the SPOOL Journal on that.