The World Design Summit and Congress took place from October 16-25, 2017 in Mon-treal, Canada. Researchers, academics and professionals came together from all around the world to discuss the most pressing issues facing the world today, from the perspective of design and the built environment disciplines. Whether it is the water crisis, housing or changing ways of living and working, both pre-sent and future issues were presented and discussed in a series of academic and professional presentations, workshops and discussion forums.
The World Design Summit had three events in one. The Congress/conference took place first, from October 16-20 and was followed by the World Design Summit meetings held from October 23-25. At the meetings, several worldwide organizations held round table meetings for two days and the Montreal World Design Summit Declaration was signed. During the Congress, the third event was the exhibition known as the “Expo” where both manufac-turers and countries showed their products and new ideas -visioning new ways to design. The exhibition also had a gallery of design and speakers held talks in an informal format -during the Congress.
As the World Design Summit website/information stated, dur-ing the Congress held from October 16-20th, there were 3500 industry professionals, 500 expert speakers and 100 provo-cative topics in the 6 primary disciplines represented. These were architecture, inte-rior design, industrial design, graphic design, landscape architecture and urban planning.
25 keynotes presented thought-ful and challenging -presentations about the need for design in the world.
The congress was organized with the support of multiple teams, each responsible for a component of the congress, including events, communication and marketing. These teams had been working since the fall of 2015 to put together the Congress and the Expo.
6 overarching themes guided the conversations and challenges presented by both speakers and keynotes. Three days of presentations within 6 overarching themes created by the built -environment disciplines: Design for Beauty, Earth, Participation, Extremes, Sale, Transformation.
Some of the topics of the keynotes included subjects such as migration, work environments and work conditions, the new interdisciplinary approaches to solving world problems, how design adds value, and how to understand holistic and ecological aspects of living in our world.
Within the framework of the congress themes, 100 subjects explored various issues. For example, one day topics presented under the banner of design for extremes included post conflict contexts of urban fabric and infrastructure, post conflict design and architecture in Columbia. Other subjects included design and well-being, changing population structures in developing countries, the landscape design of dense forest and issues and threats to government.
Tiiu Poldma was a member of the Scientific and Pro-fessional Committee for the -entire event. The Scientific and Professional committee was -responsible for the overall themes and presentations and oversaw the double-blind peer review of the papers that were accepted and presented.
In terms of scientific presentations, Tiiu Poldma, as full -professor at the University of Montreal, presented 7 different subjects over the course of three days. First, she presented the Rehab MALL Meta-analysis with colleagues Sara Ahmed and Keiko Thomas (McGill University), and Guylaine Le Dorze (University of Montreal). In this research the changing role of the interior was presented, with before-and-after -evaluations of the renovations done to change a commercial complex environment within a mall, and create a better -environment to encourage social inclusion and social participation through the design choices made. This groundbreaking project was funded over 5 years at a value of 1.5$ M Can (2011-2016) and is the first Li-ving Lab of its kind in Canada. The meta-analysis presented was a comprehensive overview of the entire process, a multi-sectoral project with over 50 research and 60 different research pro-jects. Tiiu Poldma was teamed with 10 researchers who also were the organizing committee for the entire Living Lab and its activities.
With co-investigator Keiko Thomas of McGill University, and Daniel Weinstock of the Institute for Human and Social Policy at McGill University, she presented the social participation issues in the RehabMALL project, and what this means in terms of democratizing places for people in all walks of life. With Keiko Thomas and Mehr-noosh Mohaved, the issues of access for children with dis-abilities to playgrounds were discussed.
With Dr. Ann Petermans of Hasselt University in Belgium, Tiiu presented the international exchange activity that was also underway at the same time, to overall with the Congress. Under the theme of “Design for wellbeing”, Tiiu and Ann -organized a charrette within the design studio taught by Tiiu with the students in the final year of the baccalaureate in -interior design at the University of Montreal. This dynamic event was created to challenge students’ perceptions of happiness and provide a backdrop for a charter-style workshop -wherein students would create -concepts for the exploration of creating exciting environments for people to enjoy a festival of community event within the context of an urban park. Tiiu and Ann also presented their current research initiative in the Special interest group for wellbeing at the Design Research Society known as SIGWELL.
With co-researchers she presented research on a second Living Lab project ongoing, the Urban Park Living Lab. Work is being done with co-researchers Helene Carbonnneau and Sylvie Miaux (UQTR), Barbara Mazer (McGill University) and Guy-laine Le Dorze ( University of Montreal). This two year pro-ject explores leisure activities in parks and how they can be made accessible.
Finally, with Dr. Vicky Lofthouse of Loughborough University in the UK, Tiiu presented the education exercise that was done with students in the baccalaureate program about social issues in the design of products, environments and services. This project aligned with the new directions in design thinking and how the user -experience of interior and -architectural spaces is ever more important in the success of commercial and public space projects.