The Cyprus Network of Urban Morphology will host its first regional conference in Nicosia, Cyprus. The conference aims to address current issues related to urban form from an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspective, while engaging a variety of actors and stakeholders. The purpose of this conference, organized in parallel to the AESOP Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures (AESOP TG PSUC) meeting, is to unfold themes related to South-Eastern Mediterranean cities within the local context of Nicosia.
Theme. Over the past few decades, South-Eastern Mediterranean cities have become radically altered in the sense of scale, scope and complexity as a result of globalization, increased mobility at all levels, massive internal movements of labour, climate change, technological developments, economic fluctuations, unemployment and urban conflicts. Migration flows as well as internal displacements and the movement of refugees, demographic, spatial and socio-cultural changes have had profound consequences on city life and have created an increasingly diverse and continuously transformed urban population. Contemporary everyday life is, in these parts of the world, characterized by diverse manifestations of instability which continuously challenge and redefine everyday patterns of living and cities' infrastructures and urban form.
Nicosia, the last divided capital of Europe, with a prolonged history of conflict, internal refugees' displacements, migration and tourists' flows, economic fluctuations and rapid, often abrupt urban transformations serves as an ideal laboratory to explore, unravel, and question urban form development in contexts of uncertainty and contestation. It is a city of contrasts in terms of its spatial, social, cultural and economic composition. The location of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean offers a unique venue at the confluence of three continents and a multitude of cultures that face unique urban challenges. In a region of intense conflict, Cyprus offers a common ground for bringing people together in a neutral venue and it has acted thus numerous times in its past. The island is currently dealing with urban issues related to the movement of refugees and other transient populations in the region and to the influx of foreign investors, seeking luxury housing in its coastal cities. While increasing populations from Europe and beyond continue to settle in the island, Cyprus is also now facing a renewed need to provide housing for local people facing challenges due to the recent economic crisis. Cities' urban development and sustainability have thus been central in the local and national agendas, providing a unique opportunity for urban morphology research and scientific knowledge to contribute towards this end.
CyNUM's 1st regional conference aims at establishing a common platform to promote and develop the subject of urban form in Cyprus and within the Mediterranean region. Through different perspectives, the CyNUM conference aims to address the role of urban form in relation to the sudden and sometimes recurring dynamics that affect everyday urban life. Learning from cities in the South-Eastern Mediterranean region can provide a significant input to the fields of urban planning, architecture and design. To this end, the conference will develop links with other organizations (universities, NGOs, research centres and planning authorities) concerned with the built environment and with other regional ISUF networks and the central body of ISUF.