U.Va. Architecture School to Host Symposium on Adapting Urban Infrastructure to Address Climate Change

October 1, 2009 — The University of Virginia School of Architecture will host the 2009 John E. Woltz Memorial Symposium, "Adaptation: Urban Infrastructure and Climate Change," Oct. 8-10 at Campbell Hall.

William Hudnut III, senior fellow emeritus at the Urban Land Institute in Washington, D.C., and a former mayor of Indianapolis and of Chevy Chase, Md., will give the keynote address, "What Is the Scope of the Infrastructure Challenge that Faces American Cities?," on Oct. 8 at 6 p.m. in Campbell Hall, room 153.

The Woltz Symposium was first held in 2001 and has been held periodically "to address interdisciplinary topics related to the city and to foster new visions that explore the interdependence of architecture and landscape architecture," according to the document establishing the fund. The symposia are held in memory of John E. Woltz, a 1947 graduate of U.Va.'s College of Arts & Sciences and a longtime friend of the Architecture School.

The goal of the 2009 symposium is to produce a set of essays, cases and visionary ideas that address the potential of adaptive infrastructure to meet the challenges of climate change in cities.

A series of discussions initiated by invited panelists will take place on Oct. 9 and 10, and audience members will be encouraged to join panelists on the stage, one or two at a time, to ask questions or offer comments, once the panelists have shared their initial thoughts.

Kristina Hill, associate professor and director of the Program in Landscape Architecture, is the symposium's organizer. She has identified several key questions she hopes the panelists and attendees will address during the symposium, including:

  • Whose health and safety will be most vulnerable in the climate we can expect in 2050 and beyond, and what investments will protect our most vulnerable citizens?
  • What multi-functional approaches might allow urban regions to make these investments to produce fundamental benefits to quality of life and a robust urban economy?
  • Are there any insights we can gain from these challenges about what it means to be human in our time?

The invited panelists include both national and foreign academics and practitioners in the fields of design, urban history, water conservation and engineering. Among the panelists are: Alex Nickson, City of London; Piet Dircke, ARCADIS, a leading international engineering and design firm; Martin Prominski, Liebniz University, Germany; Kongjian Yu, Peking University; Anne Sprirn, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Jane Wolff, University of Toronto.

Several U.Va. faculty members from the schools of Architecture and Engineering and the College of Arts & Sciences will also contribute.

The symposium is free and open to the public. For information, visit www.arch.virginia.edu/calendar/2009/10/.