How can our future cities be more sustainable, healthy and liveable? And what do we need to do now to navigate towards these visions for the future? After more than 6 months of a global pandemic, these questions took on added dimensions, and perhaps even more urgency. The 2020 Faculty of Architecture Building and Planning symposium provided us a timely and important opportunity to sit, listen and interact with some of the world leaders in sustainable development. Over three days we listened to what had been hoped for cities of the future from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and what those cities of the future now may look like as a result of Covid 19. There is hope, optimism and a lot of hard work to achieve what those goals set out to do. Guided by Symposium co-hosts the Connected Cities Lab, the event curators (Cathy Oke, Judy Bush and Anna Hurlimann) designed this year’s ABP Symposium to follow in the footsteps of the two previous Symposiums– listening to and working with the design knowledge from Indigenous custodians of our cities ( 2018: Go Back to Where You Came From - Past | Present | Future | Indigenous Design Symposium) and fore fronting the strong women leaders in urban practice (2019: Transformations: Action on Equity Symposium) – to continue a focus on unpacking solutions for sustainable development in our ever growing cities.
This year’s symposium was held across three days in September and October 2020, with an additional 2 day pre-symposium intensive workshop associated with the SDGs Cities Challenge, making for a five day event. The virtual workshop and symposium format provided a platform for 773 delegates to listen and interact with some of the world’s leading voices in urban sustainability and action on climate change, including case studies of responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. It featured pre-recorded keynote addresses and responding interactive panel discussions, interactive workshop sessions, breakout rooms and opportunities for delegates to connect together across time zones, disciplinary and research boundaries. The Sustainable Development Goals, Climate Change and Cities Symposium allowed an excellent platform for all urban actors – from academia, business, industry, civil society and government (students and professionals), to look at partnering across disciplines and jurisdictions to deliver just, safe and climate resilient cities.
Recorded sessions will be available publicly as an important ongoing educational tool. The student writing group were delighted to join the speakers and delegates over the five days - and that we had the opportunity to record reflections that have ended up in the Symposium final report, and this MSDx poster.
For recordings of the keynotes sessions and more information, please visit
Dr Cathy Oke
Associate Professor Anna Hurliman
Student Ambassador Team
Jacqueline Marie Darwis
Spencer John Nash
Yuhong (Annie) Yang
Sheikh Zarin Tasnim
Sheikh Zarin Tasnim
Event Production Team