KADK and the UN join forces
On Tuesday 10 October UN City Copenhagen formed the setting for a major conference, in which representatives of a number of UN organisations met with 180 students and staff from KADK. The aim was to get more clued up on how architecture, design and conservation can help to tackle and realise the 17 Global Goals for a more sustainable world.
The day’s programme was intensive. In the course of the day, there were a total of 18 workshops on six different SDG-related themes, selected jointly by the UN and KADK. Representatives of the UN’s various organisations introduced their special focus areas to the participants, and there were spirited discussions across disciplines, in which ideas and experience were exchanged on such topics as circular economy, sustainable building, the development of slums in Africa, gender equality and lots more besides.
The day was particularly important for the group of students working on their graduation projects.
“It was great to get out and get mentally prepared for a UN-based graduation project. For me it was about gaining knowledge of the issues and adding an aspect you can’t just look up on Google,” said Ruben Andersen, a student on the Architecture, Space and Time programme. “It is important for us as students on creative courses to get a chance to confront the notion we might have about a specific field with other notions and other professional approaches.”
Realising the goals is a joint task
Overall, the day gave participants a much more detailed insight into the UN’s global goals, and an abundance of great examples of how architecture, design and conservation can really make a difference and get activated in collaboration with other disciplines in a common attempt to realise the goals.
“It was like being a piece in a giant jigsaw puzzle, and that gives me much greater belief in the fact that we can make something happen. I can offer my professionalism as a designer in a larger context, where there are also other specialist professional competencies at work. And I believe that together we are strong. Another result of the day is that the whole concept of the United Nations became clearer to me. It gave me a great sense of the overall picture,” said Dorte Handschuh, a student on the Spatial Design programme.
The professional inspiration was mutual, and notes were taken on both sides of the table. At the workshop on Gender Equality, the representatives of UN Women were ready for much more cooperation and exchange of ideas than there was time for during the day. “One of the important areas that UN Women work with is for example the concept of the safe city. It is important how you build a city so that it is safe for both men and women, and that is where urban planning and design is very relevant,” said Ella Rystola (UN Women). “Listening to the thoughts and ideas of the KADK students today has been inspiring.”
In summer 2016, KADK decided to devote three academic years to developing innovative products, solutions and strategies to support the UN’s global goals for a greener and more sustainable world. This is reflected in teaching, research and final projects. The conference in UN City was also part of this initiative.
The six topics that the conference tackled were: Ensure Healthy Lives for All at All Ages; Circular Economy in Architecture, Design and Conservation; Gender Equality; Sustainable Development of African Slums; Sustainable Construction; Disasters and People.
To mark the occasion of the conference, KADK also opened an exhibition of final projects by a selection of KADK graduates. All projects related to the UN’s 17 global goals for a greener, healthier and more sustainable world.
The exhibition can be seen in connection with Culture Night in UN City.