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Designing Sustainable and Creative Cities: A Coalition of Arts, Music & Architecture

Image: “The Regeneration Of Pirelli 39”, Diller Scofidio + Renfro (DS+R), Stefano Boeri Architetti


COVID-19 led to the closure of societies and distancing humanity. Nevertheless, it highlighted the critical and constructive role of culture at large and the arts in particular. The ensuing silence dictated the need for a new mechanism, if not a vehicle to bring to the fore the interconnectivity of nature, creativity, design and artistic imaginations in facilitating a renewed dialogue among people and civilizations.

Through this event, a collaboration between the Melody for Dialogue among Civilizations Association and the School of Architecture and Department of Music at the College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University,  we seek to systematically integrate artists in the arts, music and design, as well as innovative architecture in societal debates aimed at creating a better, more harmonious and sustainable living for humanity. We will re-define an innovative concept for future living. We challenge our distinguished speakers to share their imaginations and ideas on how to create such a new path and how to help humanity to live in harmony with nature. Could this be achieved through new urban designs enshrined with culture, arts and the advocacy of music? How can these elements of human civilizations be integrated to bring about a burst of innovative ideas and roles for arts, design and music as advocates of consciousness and messengers for a harmonious living?

The name of the game in today’s world is urban living and urbanization. As cities expand, more congestion and more pollution are generated. Scarcity of comfort and happy life may lead to an increase in crime, drug abuse and mental health problems. We are conscious of the fact that the size of the world’s urban population and the number of countries becoming more urbanized are the sources of problems. We aim to find solutions to alleviate the perpetuity of these problems in our urban environments by reflecting on better designs for our cities,  providing recreational and leisure facilities,  introducing sustainability into our daily lives and our change of paradigms to live a happier life.

We want to launch a digital debating platform composed of individuals with different contextual, professional and geographical origins, drawing on a wide range of creative disciplines and trying to engage in trans-disciplinary works. We aim to discuss the practicality of smart cities and the circular economy as visions for the future of our communities. We will seek to identify global footprints in urban planning, reconnecting infrastructure with human health and drawing on new engineering approaches supporting the link between arts, music and architecture.

In particular, we propose to reflect on:

  • How creativity can transform urban planning & design
  • How arts and culture, music and architecture can make cities more livable
  • How the architectural design of future cities can become environmentally sustainable

You can learn more about our speakers by clicking the button below.

Please note that registration is required and that all times are listed in Eastern Standard Time.


Hans d’Orville | Moderator
Former UNESCO Assistant Director-General for Strategic Planning; Chairman, Advisory Committee, International Center for Creativity and Sustainable Development (ICCSD), Beijing


Stefano Boeri | Italy
Architect; Chairman, Stefano Boeri Architetti Milan-Shanghai-Tirana; President, Triennale Milan; Curator, Salone del Mobile 2021, Milan; creator of Bosco Verticale; Director, journal Abitare

Santiago Calatrava | Spain
Architect, Structural Engineer, Sculptor, Painter; offices in New York City, Doha, and Zürich

Farrokh Derakhshani | Switzerland
Director, Aga Khan Award for Architecture

Huda I. Alkhamis-Kanoo | United Arab Emirates
Founder and President, Abu Dhabi Music & Arts Foundation

Gong Ke | China
Professor, Nankai University; President, World Federation of Engineering Organisations (WFEO)

Rainer Kern | Germany
Founder, Artistic and Festival Director, Enjoy Jazz; Director, UNESCO City of Music Mannheim; Member, OECD Expert Group on SDG Investments in Cities

Jee Won Kim | USA / Republic of Korea
Architect; Principal, Jee Won Kim Architects New York

Charles Landry | United Kingdom
Author and consultant on digitized and creative cities issues; President, The Bureaucracy Festival, Berlin

Simeona Manova | European Union
Member of Cabinet of Elisa Ferreira, EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reforms; responsible for the European Bauhaus project

Mugendi K. M’Rithaa | Kenya
Senator; Professor of Industrial Design, Machakos University, Kenya; President emeritus, World Design Organization

Satoshi Ohashi | Japan
Architect; Director, China Office of Zaha Hadid Architects, Beijing; recent projects: LeezaSOHO, Beijing Daxing Airport, Shenzhen Tower C

Taslim Owonikoko | Nigeria
Founder and CEO, Berekotry Ltd., Singer/Songwriter

Joe Peach | United Kingdom
Communications Director, WhereIsMyTransport; Founder,

Anabelle Selldorf | Germany / USA
Founding Principal of Selldorf Architects, New York City; Fellow of American Institute of Architects (FAIA); Board Member of the Architectural League of New York, the World Monuments Fund, the Chinati Foundation, and the Center for Curatorial Studies at Bard College; 2016 AIANY Medal of Honor recipient.
Headshot by Brigitte Lacombe

Shain Shapiro | United Kingdom
Founder and Group CEO, Sound Diplomacy

Event Hosts

Mehri Madarshahi | Co-host and speaker on behalf of Melody for Dialogue
President, Melody for Dialogue among Civilizations Associations (Paris, New York, Geneva); Visiting professor at SCUT, Jinan and Guangdong Universities in China; President, Global Cultural Networks (Hong Kong and Shenzhen)

Elizabeth Hudson | Co-host on behalf of Northeastern University/CAMD
Dean, College of Arts, Media and Design, Northeastern University, Boston

Dan Adams | Co-host and speaker on behalf of Northeastern University/CAMD
Professor and Director, School of Architecture, Northeastern University, Boston

Northeastern University Representatives

Jane Amidon | USA
Professor of Urban Landscape, School of Architecture; Senior Associate Dean for Graduate Programs and Strategic Initiatives, College of Arts, Media and Design

Alpha Yacob Arsano | Ethiopia  /  USA
Assistant Professor, School of Architecture, Northeastern University

Xavier Costa-Guix | Spain / USA
Professor, School of Architecture, and founding dean of the College of Arts, Media and Design; Council Member, Academia Europaea in London; former advisor, Aga Khan Foundation (Geneva) and the Pritzker Award (Chicago)

Anthony Paul De Ritis | USA
Professor and former Chair (2003-2015), Department of Music; Composer, “Melody for Peace” (commissioned by the Melody for Dialogue among Civilizations Association)

Daniel Strong Godfrey | USA
Composer, Professor and Chair, Department of Music