Talking about... spaces and places

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Join us for the brand new 2020/2021 Lancaster University Public Lecture Series 'Talking about...'

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The pandemic has made us re-think our relationship with space, with new home-seekers demonstrating different priorities, including a desire for more garden and working space. But it's not just confined to spaces where we live. Join us for our last public lecture of this academic year, where our experts will explore our changing relationship with space, and the legacy of Covid-19 on the design, planning and use of social spaces.

What will you learn during this lecture?

⭐ How we can safely re-open spaces as we move out of lockdown.

⭐ How urban farming, including use of our own spaces, can lead to healthier and more sustainable lives.

⭐ How we can balance architectural innovation with human use.

The Spaces of Social Distancing – Spearheading a Generative Signage Pilot Study for Lancaster.

Head of Architecture, Des Fagan, spearheaded a unique, automated social distancing and way-finding model for businesses preparing to re-open safely in the post-pandemic recovery.

The new model, devised with the University’s new School of Architecture, uses algorithms, special design exploration processes, generative software, sympathetic signage, electronically created floorplans and heat tracking and mapping to inspire a safe environment for people. Working with Lancaster City Council, the project, funded through Beyond Imagination, a £13.2m Research England project at the University’s ImaginationLancaster, a design-led research laboratory, has gathered essential data on the way in which people use spaces in the pandemic.

The work will now form part of a further UKRI bid to provide the same methodology for the use of businesses at UK scale.

Filling our spaces with food growing places

Food plays a major role in our lives. It’s essential for health and well-being and brings us together socially and culturally and, during the successive UK lockdowns, more people turned to growing their own food.

How we grow our food is also critical for our environment: 1/3 of global greenhouse gas emissions are associated with food and agriculture, and our current ways of farming are a major driver of global biodiversity loss. Whilst food can be a great connector, arguably our society is more disconnected than ever from how food is grown and from the natural processes that support farming. In this talk Professor Jess Davies will consider if urban food growing offers us a solution: can growing more of what we eat nearer to where we live help us lead healthier more sustainable lives, and secure our fresh food supplies?

Space, Place and Behaviour in the Seattle Central Library

In the grips of Covid-19, the use of space has become incredibly important to many of us, as we yearn for familiar, communal spaces such as our local libraries. Professor Ruth Conroy Dalton will present a series of studies on the Seattle Central Library, an enigmatic and simultaneously problematic space.

While winning major accolades and awards, the internet and social media were awash with accounts of people becoming lost in the space, almost succumbing to panic attacks, or posting photographs of the confusing, temporary signs that librarians were forced to improvise shortly after the building opened. How can a building be considered a great architectural space whilst also a deeply problematic place to inhabit? This talk will strive to get to the bottom of this paradox and explore how we can balance architectural innovation with human use.

The lecture will be followed by a Q&A session during which you will have the opportunity to ask questions of the speakers via the Zoom Q&A function.

Accessibility: automatically generated subtitles will be available for this event.

© Image by Gábor Molnár (Unsplash)


About the speakers

Des Fagan is Head of Architecture and member of ImaginationLancaster at Lancaster Institute for Contemporary Arts. Des’s field of interest inside engagement between industry, community and academia is on optimisation as an approach to problem-solving.

Professor Jess Davies is a Professor of Sustainability at Lancaster Environment Centre, and the Director of the Centre for Global Eco-innovation. She leads a number of research projects that focus on how we can make better use of our land and ensure soil sustainability.

Professor Ruth Conroy Dalton is a British architect, author and Head of Lancaster’s new School of Architecture. She has authored or contributed to more than 200 publications. She is an expert in space syntax analysis, pedestrian movement and wayfinding and a world-leading authority on the overlap between architecture and spatial cognition (architectural cognition).


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