World Design Summit announces Jan Gehl, Belinda Tato and Alejandro Aravena as keynote speakers for 2017

The World Design Summit Organization has announced its first keynote speakers, three major figures in the design world and, more specifically, of urban design and architecture.

The World Design Summit – Montréal 2017 is an international gathering of diverse disciplines with a common focus: how design can shape the future. Montréal will host design professionals, government and business leaders, industry representatives, media and NGOs from around the world. From October 16-25, 2017, attendees will come together to transcend silos, foster cooperation and enhance professional development. More than a mere celebration of design, the Summit will demonstrate the tremendous power of design to create viable solutions to global social, economic, cultural and environmental challenges.

The Summit has been generating great enthusiasm around the world, as shown by the hundreds of proposals for content submitted from forty countries, over the last few months. A second call for proposal, open once again to architecture, graphic design, urban design, interior design, landscape architecture, industrial design and interstitial or hybrid practices, will be announced in early 2017.

Jan Gehl
Jan Gehl. Photo credit: World Design Summit Organization (WDSO)
Jan Gehl. Photo credit: World Design Summit Organization (WDSO)

A major figure of urban design since the 1970s, Jan Gehl is known worldwide for an approach that puts humans at the heart of urban development. He has put these principles to work in his hometown of Copenhagen, but also in major projects like the recent transformation of Times Square, in New York City, and in many major projects from Australia to Scandinavia and Jordan. His books Life between Buildings and Cities for People have been published in over 30 languages.

Belinda Tato
Belinda Tato. Photo credit: World Design Summit Organization (WDSO)
Belinda Tato. Photo credit: World Design Summit Organization (WDSO)

Belinda Tato is the co-founder of Ecosistema Urbano, a Madrid-based firm established in 2000 where architects and urban designers combine their disciplines with engineering and sociology, in order to improve the self-organization of citizens, social interaction within communities and their relationship with the environment. The firm has implemented projects in Norway, Denmark, Spain, Italy, France and China and won over 30 national and international awards. She has been teaching at Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design since 2010.

Alejandro Aravena
Alejandro Aravena. Photo credit: Cristobal Palma
Alejandro Aravena. Photo credit: Cristobal Palma

Alejandro Aravena’s work has been honoured in many ways over the course of the last year. Winner of the 2016 Pritzker Prize and director of the 2016 Venice Architecture Biennale, Aravena was also named on the New York Times’ list of “28 creative geniuses who defined culture in 2016”. Innovative, focused on social issues, and a promoter of new collaborative approaches, this Chilean architect has made his mark through projects of all types and scales that aim at improving the conditions of the less privileged, and at providing answers to the challenges of the 21st Century, notably on the environmental front.

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