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Contemporary Approaches to Sustainability in European Cities

September 20, 2018 @ 13:00 - 18:30 BST

An international seminar
Thursday 20 September 2018
West Park Conference Centre
319 Perth Road
Dundee DD2 1NN

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The Academy of Urbanism and University of Dundee are delighted to convene a special event to consider the application of contemporary strategies to make medium-sized cities more sustainable in environmental, socio-economic and cultural terms.

We have invited senior speakers from leading AoU European City Finalists, including Bilbao, Aarhus, Freiburg and Ljubljana together with additional input from Scottish and UK specialists.

Event Format

13.00 Registration and Networking
14.00 Welcome + Introduction
14.10 AoU City Assessments – David Rudlin AoU
14.25 International seminar with 4 talks

  • Bilbao – Asier Abaunza Robles, Councillor and City planner of Bilbao City Council
  • Aarhus – Stephen Willacy, City Architect, City of Aarhus
  • Ljubljana – Liljana Jankovic Grobelsek, City Municipality of Ljubljana
  • Freiburg – Wulf Daseking, Former Head of Urban Planning, City of Freiburg
  • Scotland – Ian Gilzean, Chief Architect, Scottish Government
  • 16.30 Q & A
    17.20 Reception
    18.30 Close

This event is coinciding with the opening of the new V&A Dundee, Scotland’s first design museum. Hear from four exceptional cities and be one of the first to step inside this major new attraction!


Stephen Willacy
City Architect, City of Aarhus

For the past six years working as chief city architect in Aarhus City Council, Stephen has gained insight and experience working within a politically led organization. The combination of working in private practice and public office combined with research and teaching enables a keen understanding of the processes and demanding roles and responsibilities we architects have both at political and local community level as well as in a global perspective. As Aarhus City Council’s chief city architect Stephen works towards ensuring the city develops in a way where architectural considerations are held in the highest regard and contributes towards continued innovation in relation to city planning, urban design and architectural quality..

Asier Abaunza Robles
Councillor, Bilbao City Council

Mr. Asier Abaunza is Agricultural Engineer (Public University of Navarra) and Prediction and Assessment of Environmental Impacts Specialist (Polythecnic University of Madrid). Since 2015 he has held the position of Councillor of the governing Basque National Party for Urban Planning at Bilbao City Council. Between 2007-2015 he was Traffic and Transport Councillor. He has had various professional responsibilities in the field of transport, mobility, governance and housing; among others: Chairman of various District Councils of Bilbao, President of the municipal entity Funicular Artxanda, Councillor of the Board of Directors at the municipal Housing entity, Technical Assistance at the Urban Planning Department of the Provincial Government of Bizkaia, Teacher at the Agricultural Technical School of Derio (Bizkaia), Engineer at various private companies and Adviser at the General Secretary of Foreign Affairs (Basque Government).

Prof Wulf Daseking
Former Director of City Planning, Freiburg

Prof Daseking was the Head of the City Planning Office in Freiburg between 1984 and 2012, during which time Freiburg was was transformed into a Green City. Since 2010, he has been a Professor at the University of Freiburg ( Sociology ) and also Assistant Professor at University College London / Bartlett School. He has over 30 years of experience in City Planning and Urban Development. Prof Daseking has also been a Jury Member in more than 130 Planning and Design Competitions as well as being a speaker at numerous Congresses and Universities – at home and abroad. Since 2012, Prof Daseking has been a Nominating Member of the Lee Kuan Yew – World City Price (Singapore), awarded every 2nd year.

Liljana Jankovič Grobelšek
Head of the Planning Office, City of Ljubljana

Liljana Jankovič Grobelšek is an architect, works as an urban designer and spatial planner. For almost two decades she worked in the private sector, including few years in her own company. From 2013 onward she has been the Head of the Planning Office in the Department for urban planning in the Ljubljana City Municipality. Staring to work for the capital city of Slovenia a few years ago, she was determined to lead the spatial plan and its constant amendments in the most professional direction. So, with her colleagues, she strives to cooperate with stakeholders in a way that achieves as much public interest as possible. She enjoys working for the city, since Ljubljana is a bustling and thriving capital. Her special passion are public spaces. Since 2014 she has been the president of the Town and Spatial Planning Association of Slovenia – a member organisation of the ECTP – European Council of Spatial Planners.

Professor Ian Gilzean FRIAS/RIBA
Chief Architect, Scottish Government

Ian graduated in architecture from Edinburgh University in 1982. He worked in architectural practice for a number of public sector organisations as well as in private practice, in London, Glasgow and Edinburgh. He also worked in community design units in Wester Hailes, Edinburgh and Drumchapel, Glasgow. Ian joined the Scottish Executive in 1999 and became Chief Architect in 2006. He has responsibility for the development and implementation of ‘Creating Places’ the Scottish Government’s policy on architecture and place. He is a Visiting Professor in architecture at the University of Strathclyde. In early 2015, Ian spent a 3 month secondment at the Melbourne School of Design as a Visiting Fellow on housing related design.

Delegate Fee

This event is sold out – click below to join the waiting list.

£30.00: General admission
£20.00: Young urbanists/young planners and non University of Dundee matriculated students

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Flight Information

Loganair is offering up to 30% off flights to delegates travelling between London Stansted and Dundee for this conference. Please book at Loganair.co.uk before 23 September 2018, quoting promotional code ‘CASEC1’ at the time of booking, for travel between 18 – 25 September 2018.


Please note: there will be a large number of events taking place in Dundee on the week of our event. We encourage you to book your accommodation early to avoid disappointment.

We are working with Dundee and Angus Convention Bureau to make your visit to Dundee and Angus as easy as possible. Please visit their website Using the links below you can find the most relevant information to help you plan your trip from registering for the conference to booking your accommodation at preferential rates, restaurants, day trips and much more. More information

This event is sponsored by the Scottish Government, Sustrans, RTPI Scotland, Scotland’s Towns Partnership, and JTP, and supported by Architecture & Design Scotland, Urban Design Group, Kevin Murray Associates and RTPI East of Scotland.

Image of the new V & A in Dundee by Neil Williamson


September 20, 2018
13:00 - 18:30 BST