/ Geography and Identity: Designing for emerging cities

How are urban concepts and practices responding to rapidly urbanising societies?

by Nicholas Choy

This past autumn, Irfan was presented at both the SALUS’ Healthy City Design Conference and UCL Urban Lab’s conference ‘At the frontiers of the urban: thinking concepts and practices globally’.

Held at the Royal College of Physicians, the Healthy City Design conference addressed the question of designing for utopia or dystopia. Bringing together health and built environment professionals, Nicholas presented how effective urban planning, infrastructure development and governance can promote wellbeing and have positive effects on sustainable development. Irfan learns from the past to create a vision for a unique city, whose design provides the ingredients of wellbeing for citizens while responding to local culture and geography to create a healthier outcomes from the outset.

At UCL, academics and practitioners examined how urban concepts and practices are responding to urbanising societies undergoing unprecedented change. His paper explored the challenges to ‘placemaking’ in this context, the creation of meaningful, vibrant and successful pieces of city, at a time where masterplanning responses are often generic and secured through international design competitions. The approach of Irfan offers an alternative that is more grounded in locality.

Nicholas joined Allies and Morrison in 2015 following the completion of his PhD at King’s College London, where his research focused on urban design codes. He was instrumental in delivering the first phase of the Irfan masterplan in Oman, using his research to optimise the effectiveness of the design codes being applied there.