PUARL Third International Conference | Portland, Oregon | November 1-3, 2013

PUARL Third International Conference | Portland, Oregon | November 1-3, 2013

View the Photo Essay by Tim Niou
Content from PUARL

After the successful completion of the first two International PUARL Conferences at the University of Oregon in Portland in the Fall of 2009 and 2011, the Portland Urban Architecture Research Laboratory, PUARL, announced the 2013 biennial conference titled “Battle for the Life and Beauty of The Earth.” The 2013 Conference focused on problems and issues that populations are facing in urban environments and buildings throughout the world today.  The conference  took place  in  Portland,  Oregon  in  the  Fall  of  2013,  November  1-­3, in cooperation with the Collaboration for Inclusive Urbanism, CIU.

Taken from the title of the new book by Christopher Alexander, Hans Joachim Neis, and Maggie Moore Alexander, this year’s conference focused on the variety of ways in which urban environments and urban buildings, as well as their design  and  production,  can  support  life, beauty,  and  wholeness,  in  addition  to  confronting  the  challenges  implicit  in  attaining  these goals.   Life as a complex web of relationships, as an emergent process  over  time,  and  as a human feeling was discussed in terms of complexity theory, pattern theory, ecology, sustainability, and landscape to address contemporary discourses and debates in environmental design, urban design, and urban architecture.

The three main themes that were emphasized in this conference:

  • Inclusive Urbanism & the Ecosystems of Cities
  • Building Production for a More Beautiful & Resilient World
  • (Re)Generative and Emergent Processes



Understanding of urban environments must begin with the understanding that they are most successful when they represent diverse and resilient ecosystems.   The urban challenge of this age must include questions  about social equity  and urban inclusivity.    How can we promote diversity and enfranchise underrepresented groups in the ecology and processes of cities? From the Collaboration for Inclusive Urbanism,  www.inclusiveurbanism.org, “The role of the city is to  provide  the  contexts  that  invite  people  to  realize  their  social,  personal,  and  economic aspirations. This invitation should be available to all.”


If cities themselves are the organic product of human need, what is the process by which the production of the physical structures of buildings, neighborhoods, parks, and urban landscapes support and augment urban life? What are the building processes that create neighborhoods, urban landscapes and buildings that are resilient and alive within themselves and that support those all-­ important intangibles of life and beauty – the life worth living. Papers in this category will  address  the  question  of  how  we  produce  life-­ supporting  buildings,  complexes, neighborhoods and communities for all people, especially the 93% of the world.


Strong ecosystems form a complex and complete web of relationships that emerge and change over time.   Generative process explores the world as an emergent process at several levels of scale and with regard to different modes, and regenerative process does the same for recurring cycles  of  growth  and  re-­growth.   These  modes  include  elements  of  but  are  not  limited  to physical, artistic, musical, and sociocultural as well as economic themes.   We ask: how can generative and emergent processes as well as (re)generative (urban) design help to solve some of the current  urban challenges  that we face in our cities, neighborhoods,  streets and parks? What are the methods, ideologies, and vocabularies that can support the creation of built environments that are complex, complete, diverse, resilient, and emergent over time?

The 2013 PUARL schedule included presentations by:

Johann Jessen PUARL Lecture: Challenges for Reurbanization in German Cities


Howard Davis Keynote – Makers in Cities: the Architecture of Urban Production

Michael Garrison Two Primary Schools in Central East Africa Based on Indigenous Sustainable Design

Greg Bryant Referendum on Urban Life: A City Stops Development-As-Usual

Michael Tavel The Culture of Sustainable Urbanism

Robert Walsh The Lovable City: Thomas Mawson’s Civic Art (1911) Applied to Contemporary Urbanism

Regan Greenhill 7@ Public Amenities in Barcelona’s 22@ Information District

B.D.Wortham-Galvin Contingent Urbanism: when tactics are the strategy

Gabriel Brown, Howard Davis, Hajo Neis Old Town/Chinatown Research and Studio


Stephen Duff Keynote – Significant Details: Design & Construction Processes in Four Design-Build Apprenticeship Projects at the University of Oregon

Sergio Palleroni Keynote – Public Interest Design

Aysun Ozkose Ecological Homes for a More Beautiful & Resilient World at the Event Room

Kyriakos Pontikis Eco-Humane Design

Christopher Robin Andrews Architectural Ornament in Haitian Culture

Ayesha Batool The Resilient Existence of External Perforated Solar Screens In Islamic Architectural Environments

Tom Kubala Toward Carbon Neutral Operation


Masami Kobayashi Keynote – Fukushima Workshop Summer 2013

Greg Bryant Christopher Alexander’s Dialogue with the Computer Industry

Doug Schuler The Surprising Power, Vitality, and Potentiality of Examining the “Dark Side:” The Collaborative Production of an Anti-Pattern Language in an Educational Setting

Takuma Ono (Re)generative and Emergent Processes

James Miller Resilience Found Through Human Processes in Post-Disaster Haiti

Michael Mehaffy Changing the “Operating System for Growth:” Diversity, Resilience, Beauty

Takashi Iba Making a Movie: A Pattern Language

Yodan Rofe & Kyriakos Pontikis Sketching a Sustainable Form Language for a Neighborhood

Ross Chapin Pocket Neighborhoods and the Scale of Sociability

Peter Baumgartner Patterns in Education and Architecture



About the Portland Urban Architecture Research Laboratory

The Portland Urban Architecture Research Laboratory, PUARL, seeks to promote wholeness and sustainability  in  the  urban  and  architectural  design  process  by  conducting  basic  and  applied research  in addition  to working  on practical  urban and architectural  projects  both within  the region  and  internationally.  PUARL  provides  a  platform  for  the  exchange  of  ideas  and  the discussion of research and professional practice for scholars, academics, and professionals both through their work and the organization of international conferences and symposia. Topics of interest  include urban  sustainability  and  wholeness,  generative  process,  pattern  languages, living  architecture,  complexity  theory,  emergence  and  unfolding,  and  the  nature  of  order. PUARL is intent on continuing to advance these fields of investigation and influence the conduct of architecture and urban design worldwide by providing and encouraging an interdisciplinary approach  to  critical  and  relevant  topics  across  fields  and  throughout  the  world. puarl.uoregon.edu

About the Collaborative for Inclusive Urbanism

The working premise of the Collaborative for Inclusive Urbanism, CIU, is that inclusive cities are both more  affluent  and more  socially  just.  Inclusive  cities  are  more  affluent  because  they mobilize and enable a wider spectrum of people and talents than a city in which some of those human  resources  are  marginalized.   They  are  more  socially  just  because  by  including  the otherwise marginalized in the productive activities and opportunities of the city, inclusive cities offer  better  access  to  pathways  for  social  and  economic  betterment.    Inclusiveness  works against  gentrification,  and  its  shadow:  urban  decay.  It  works  against  dividing  the  city  into ghettoes.  It does not mean freezing growth or preventing redevelopment; rather, the opposite—encouraging more sustainable, prosperous, widespread growth and development by avoiding exclusivity, dislocation and the heavy, often ignored costs they carry.   The role of the city is to provide the contexts that invite people to realize their social, personal, and economic aspirations.  This invitation  should be available  to all. In the service  of this goal, we carry out research and develop innovative ideas that lead to designs, policy recommendations, and experiments in practice.  www.inclusiveurbanism.org