Saturday, 13 April 2013 - 10:00am to Monday, 15 April 2013 - 11:45am
Where: Porto

The 2013 General Assembly meeting of ASF-International took place in Porto, Portugal, on April 13th to 15th. The Assembly saw the participation of over 80 people, and the representation of 23 out of 27 member organisations.

The meeting was opened by a public conference, ‘The Teaching of Architecture in the Development Process’, which was coordinated by ASF-Portugal and hosted by the faculty of Architecture of the University of Porto. The conference aimed to address the growing complexities of intersecting the teaching of ‘architecture’ with a critical understanding of developmental processes – vis-à-vis the on-going crisis of neoliberal modes of design and production of the urban environment. In the course of the conference, practitioners and scholars from a wide range of backgrounds shared their work and reflections - presenting examples from a variety of geographical and pedagogical contexts spanning cases in Portugal, the UK, Colombia, Ghana and Kenya among others.

The day was concluded by a Keynote Speech by Julian Salas on the topic of ‘habitabilidad bàsica’ – followed by an animated roundtable debate on the existing opportunities for pursuing more inclusive and socially just processes of production of the built environment. Central to the General Assembly meeting held on Saturday, April14th, was the presentation of new member organizations, and a workshop aimed at developing ASF-Int’s Activity Plan 2013-2014. New member organizations that recently joined the network include: ASF-Colombia, ASF-Macau, ASF-Tunisie, Remal (Egypt), and Ukumbi (Finland).

The Activity Plan workshop was structured into three focus groups, mainly exploring questions of intra-network collaboration, communication, and fund-raising. As the network becomes wider and more complex, different avenues and tools were discussed for establishing common fields of action and reflection among members.

Finally, the Assembly granted discharge to outgoing Chair Stephane Plisson, and Board members Anna Engvall, Anthony Losalajome, and Pawan Shesthra, with thanks for their service to the Board. The elections that followed saw the introduction of new members to the Board: Henry Cardona (ASF-Colombia), Esther Charlesworth (AWF-Australia), Xavi Codina (ASF-Spain, confirmed), Beatrice De Carli (ASF-Italy), Niclas Dunnebacke (ASF-France) and Peter Newton (ASF-UK).

In the afternoon, whilst Board members gathered for their first meeting together, members and sympathizers shared their on-going work in the fields of community and international development. During the Board meeting, Peter Newton was appointed and welcomed as the new Chair of the organization.

The Assembly weekend was closed on Monday, April 15th, by a one-day fieldtrip across two key ‘urban regeneration’ projects in Porto. The first one, the Bouça Housing Complex (1973) – designed by Alvaro Siza as part of the SAAL programme – allowed participants to delve into a debate on issues of incremental housing, and the role of changing residents in the socio-spatial transformation of former social/public housing developments. The second one, the on-going transformation of Barrio da Sé in downtown Porto, opened to a discussion over the multiple meanings and values attached to ‘urban regeneration’ projects across different urban publics. The meeting was finally closed on Monday evening.

The next General Assembly meeting is proposed for Tunis, Tunisia, in Spring 2014.

Last modified: 
Wednesday, 10 September 2014 - 9:41pm