Planning the Post-Pandemic City Online Lecture Series

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This lecture series explores how we can re-imagine our post-pandemic cities to be more inclusive, green and liveable.

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The global COVID-19 pandemic has exposed and magnified issues of urban inequality and environmental justice. Quarantine measures and the shut down of city centres have highlighted the extent to which urban land is dominated by road and car parking infrastructure. In many places, air quality has improved, nature has become more prominent and neighbours are starting to speak for the first time. This online lecture series organised by the Planning Society at Queen's University Belfast, will explore, through comparative practice, how planning can re-imagine our cities to enhance well-being through creating more vibrant, sustainable and biodiverse places.

13th May 2021 at 17.00 BST+1

Creating the ‘Low-Car’ City with Melissa and Chris Bruntlett

Melissa and Chris Bruntlett are Canadian authors and urban mobility advocates who strive to communicate the benefits of sustainable transport and inspire happier, healthier, more human-scale cities. In 2019, Melissa and Chris, along with their children Coralie and Etienne, relocated from Vancouver, Canada, to Delft, the Netherlands. Melissa now works with Mobycon—a bicontinental mobility consultancy—supporting the promotion of Dutch transport knowledge, policy, and design principles in countries across Europe and North America. As communications manager for the Dutch Cycling Embassy, Chris uses his knowledge and passion to share practical lessons for global cities wishing to learn from the Netherlands’ extraordinary success.

'Autoluw’ is a Dutch urban planning concept meaning ‘low-car’ or ‘nearly car-free’. It is applied in dozens of municipalities across the country, from the village of Houten to the seat of government in The Hague; where walking, cycling, and public transport are the dominant modes. Now, in the face of a global pandemic, cities around the world are realizing to become more comfortable, social, and resilient places, private automobiles must play a background role. But what lessons can they learn from the Netherlands, who—after a similar crisis in the 1970s—decided to take their cities in an entirely different direction? What concrete steps can cities take to ensure this current moment evolves into a lasting movement, where cars are treated as guests, rather than guests of honour?

18th May 2021 at 15.00 BST+1

"Blue Health - How blue spaces can help restore and promote health and well-being in our communities and cities.” with Dr Easkey Britton

Easkey is the first Irish woman to be nominated for the Global WSL Big Wave Awards but there’s more to Easkey than surfing. It is her intellect and her quest to learn and create change in an often unfair world that really defines her. A scientist, academic and social activist, with a PhD in Environment and Society, Easkey is always one to look in places others aren’t for the answers to difficult questions. Her curiosity and passion for fairness and gender equality are the qualities that others to her.

There is increasing interest in the potential use of outdoor water environments, or blue space, in the promotion of human health and wellbeing. However, therapeutic nature-based practices are currently outpacing policy and the evidence base for health or wellbeing benefits of therapeutic interventions within blue space has not been systematically assessed. This presentation will review Easkey's research into how blue spaces can be utilised to restore and promote health and well-being in our communities and cities.

3rd June 2021 at 16.00 BST+1

"The Internet of Nature: How Emerging Technologies Are Forming the Human Biotope?" with Dr Nadina Galle

Nadina Galle grew up in a suburb outside the Canadian city of Toronto. It was a typical North American "suburb" where the only green area was the lawn and where you could not get anywhere without a car. "I didn't know any better. That neighbourhood was my world until I saw the documentary The End of Suburbia about the imbalance between humans and nature in urban areas. I discovered then that it's not normal for urban development to swallow up nature and spit out cookie-cooker subdivisions".Galle’s curiosity was ignited. She studied ecology and evolutionary biology in Toronto, then earth sciences at the University of Amsterdam – the city where she wanted to live as a teenager because everyone cycles to work. She recently defended her PhD at the University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin on a method that can help ecologists around the world maintain trees in urban areas. Galle's doctoral research marks the beginning of a lifelong personal mission: "I want to build better urban ecosystems using a very typical human invention: technology".

As an ecological engineer, driven by a love for ecology and a fascination with technology, Nadina researches, designs, and pilots emerging technologies to build better urban ecosystems for people and nature. A framework she calls the “Internet of Nature”.

Any questions can be forwarded to Dr Neil Galway -

Image credit: Niall Patrick Walsh - @niallpwalsh

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