- Frank Palermo is advisor to the Shift 2018 Planning Conference class, professor in the faculty of architecture and planning at Dalhousie, director of the Cities and Environment Unit and chair of the Planning and Design Centre.
Wednesday, February 28-Saturday, March 3
Dalhousie School of Planning
5410 Spring Garden Road
The form and structure of cities
Around the globe the cities we want to live in, work in, invest in and visit are increasingly focused on people and not cars; on walking, not driving; on public transit and active transportation, not more highways, corridors and roundabouts.
The future is about streets whose purpose is social, open, marketplace and not just movement—streets whose design reflects our values and climate.
We need to take back the streets because they represent about a third of the total land area of the city, but also because they are an essential public asset. They are important as places. They connect neighbourhoods, define districts and are the lifeblood of every community. Streets serve as our common living room and major gathering places. You live on a street. You use them to get to work. You may depend on them to get a service you need or just to get some fresh air, and sometimes even as a spectator or performer in the theatre of daily life. Streets touch all of us.
There is now an urgent need and opportunity for action to reinvent streets as central to
The conference brings together students, the profession and the community. A number of carefully selected guests—local, from other parts of the country and from beyond our borders—will help to collaboratively and creatively explore. Together we will try to develop approaches, ideas and strategies for moving forward to Take Back the Streets.
There is an element of audacity in this conference. We believe that change needs to happen now. We think it's urgent to take back the streets so they can be less about movement (particularly car movement) and much more social places, open spaces and marketplaces. We know that to accomplish this is a large undertaking that will take concerted and extended effort to reconsider streets, particularly in terms of equity, accessibility and responsiveness to climate.
We believe that it's possible to start the shift here and now. We also know that it can only happen with broad community engagement. The community has to embrace it, be inspired by it, want it and be willing to contribute. This is how