Place: University of Arizona, Tucson

Dates: 22 – 23 February 2018

Keynote: Jane Rendell


Information for Authors:

 Example of Correctly Formatted Paper_ARIZONA  |  Full Paper Template_ARIZONA  |  Chicago Manual of Style_NB_16 Edition_Short Description  |  Amps Citation and Publishing Agreement



Every generation of architects, urban designers, planners and artists engaged with the built environment face a set of seemingly intractable and isolated problems particular to their time. Mid 19th Century city planners addressed questions of public health while architects engaged in a ‘battle of the styles’. Early 20th century architects argued for a ‘contemporary style’ while architects / urban designers created visions of cities in the sky.  By the 1970s ecological forerunners argued for a future of sustainable living while post-modernists looked to the past for aesthetics.

Today, Donald Trump promises investment in infrastructure while simultaneously relaxing environmental regulations and targets. China continues to urbanize and pollute while industrial cities in the West continue to decline and ‘go green’. Internationally, global cities of commerce can be surrounded by slums and in many cities housing is unaffordable as a place of living while it functions as a major form of capital investment. This all happens against a backdrop of the arts and cultural industries seen as economic motors, conflicting media representations of urbanization, and the emergence of new medias altering the experience and forms of reporting on life in cities.

To design and understand the built environment in the middle of this complexity and contradiction requires reflection and vision. It also requires critique and multiple practices.

Critical Practice:

Jane Rendell defines ‘critical spatial practice’ as a form of self-critique; a questioning of the role we all play in the status quo of social organisation and its typical urban forms. In this regard she echoes Manfredo Tafuri. For Tafuri the idea that architectural or urban practice under capitalism could produce anything radically different from standard typologies was simply impossible. Tafuri saw an escape through architectural criticism, for Rendell, it can come through art.

Setting these ideas in an early 21st century context, this conference asks whether in today’s increasingly complex world, practice can be ‘critical’ Can it understand the conditions it operates in? Can it challenge these conditions?  Can it change them? Can it make a difference?

Multiple Practice(S):

A premise underlying this conference is that a major barrier to critical practice in any discipline is singular thinking. Every discipline develops its ways of working, its habits and standard practices. One way to break out of this is to critique our work from various angles, from multiple discipline perspectives.  To open up our understanding and practice to other possibilities and new approaches, the conference welcomes specialists from across disciplines: architects, urban designers, planners, artists, landscape architects, geographers, sociologists, media experts and more.

The variety of questions this dialogues seeks to provoke is wide: How do the arts impact on the design of architecture? Can we solve the economy of unaffordable housing through design? How are emerging technologies changing life and experiences in urban contexts? How do we deal with exploding city populations and create sustainable communities? How should we design in extreme environments in a time of climate change? How are these questions reflected in the media and the press, and much more.



Themes & Formats:

Using various discipline perspectives as broad strands, conference presentations will be organised in several sub themes. The result will be a coherent but varied conference. To make the event as inclusive as possible, delegates can attend in-person but can also avoid travel costs by making their presentation as a pre-recorded film. It will be permanently available via the AMPS Youtube channel. Alternatively, they can present virtually via skype. In all cases, written papers are also acceptable.

Possible Formats include:

Pre-recorded video (15-20 minutes)  |  Skype (15-20 minutes)  |  Conference Presentations (15-20 minutes)  |  Written Papers  (optional)  |  Exhibition via alternative formats accepted




This event forms part of the AMPS led research programme PARADE (Publication & Research in Art, Architectures, Design and Environments). As part of PARADE, the event draws together multiple publishers and books series.



Articles / Chapters: All delegates are invited to submit full papers that are reviewed for inclusion as book chapters or journal articles. To start the process, submit an abstract.

Book Proposals: Delegates are also invited to submit monograph or edited volume proposals. To start the process, submit an abstract and after the conference submit your book proposal.

Publishers involved include: UCL Press – seeking architectural and urban works related to social sustainability  |  Intellect Books – seeking works related to new technologies, medias and the city  |  Libri Publishing – seeking works connected to housing design  |  Architecture_MPS journal –  seeking works for journal special issues on a range urban and built environment issues  |  Vernon Press – seeking works on the role of the arts and cultural industries in the built environment  |  AMPS Conference Proceedings – collating papers in its varied conference publication series.

Nb. Delegates can present without submitting a written paper or proposal if they wish. If written papers are submitted they should be 3000 word length. If accepted as book chapters / journal articles they must be extended to 5-6000 words.

All conference papers will also be included in the AMPS conference proceedings series, ISSN 2398-9467..




05 Dec 2017: Final Abstract Submissions  (late submissions until 15 Dec)  |  15 Dec 2017:  Abstract Feedback  |  05 Feb 2018:  Registration closes

22-23 Feb   2018.    Conference  

01 May 2018: Full Paper Submissions (where applicable)  | 01 July 2018: Feedback for publication  |  01 December 2018: Full Publication

Nb. Early Abstract Submissions accepted in June 2017 (for delegates needing an early decision)




Abstracts & Registration:

Please send the fully completed abstract form to  | The document must be in Microsoft Word.  |  Subject line for emails: Abstract Submission UoA  |  File name for attachment: Name_Surname_Summary Title_UoA  |  Example file name: Charlie_Smith_Yet Another Apartment Block_UoA


Registration Open

Delegate Fee:  £200 ($250) |  Audience Fee: £90 ($110)     USD price subject to exchange rate

Download: Submission Form_ABSTRACT

Correctly formatted and named example: Charlie_Smith_Yet-Another-Apartment-Block_Abstract-UoA


Editorial / Review Board

See other related CONFERENCES

For more details:




This event is organised by the University of Arizona, School of Architecture and AMPS. It forms part of the AMPS research and publication programme PARADE (Publication and Research in Art, Architectures, Design and Environments).

Images: Susannah Dickinson, Mark Hillary; Carbon Visuals; Chrishonduras, NASA, Eric Gonzalez-Payne