Forum Lecture: Demographic Re-Assembly

September 20, 2021



Monday, September 20, 2021
6:00 p.m. ET
Free public online event

Zoom registration:

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar


Dr. Nik Luka, Associate Professor, McGill University

Dr. Valerie Preston, Professor, York University

Respondent: Ottawa City Councillor Jeff Leiper



Canada relies significantly on immigration for its growth, a process that, in turn, offers a rich sense of diversity and demographic variance to our communities. As our country advances culturally and economically through new immigration, large and small communities alike are becoming increasingly diverse and heterogeneous, transforming our previous understandings of national identity and multiculturalism.


This takes place at a time of growing numbers of retirees and migration away from the downtown cores of cities. How, then, has our demographic re-assembly influenced urbanization patterns, intensification schemes, and the provision of public amenities? In the face of temporarily reduced immigration numbers and the flight to suburbia driven by COVID-19, what demographic-driven development patterns are emerging across Canada?


Each speaker is invited to respond to the session’s theme and prompts through a 30-minute visual presentation, including specific examples from their work. After both presentations, the panel will switch to an open discussion moderated by a Carleton faculty member and joined by Ottawa City Councillor Jeff Leiper.


The focus of the discussion section is Ottawa as a case study for how cities are responding to demographic shifts and the forces behind them, such as housing supply and affordability, government immigration and refugee policies, and others. This will be followed by an audience Q&A.


About Re-Assemble


From building materials to community connections, theoretical frameworks to programmatic uses, structural components to project teams, the notion of assembly is at the core of architecture. It is through these broadly defined yet interconnected assemblies that we construct our built environment. As we navigate new ways of convening and interacting with one another following the easing of lockdowns, the 2021-22 Forum Lecture Series turns to these many processes of architectural assembly and re-assembly.


Reflecting on the current state of society and design’s role within it, we ask: In what ways are people, places and practices today being re-assembled? How is this driving innovation in design research, professional practice, and pedagogy?


The history of architecture is one of perennial re-assembly—of building on and iterating theories, of reconfiguring design concepts, approaches, and collaborations, in addition to physically constructing materials and spaces. The altered social behaviors, ad-hoc spatial configurations, shifting demographics, and growing virtual realm of our past pandemic-focused year have only underscored our impetus to re-assemble.


Unpacking these dynamics, this lecture series investigates the future possibilities of physical, spatial, and operational re-assembly within our urban realm, acknowledging that these processes are not exclusively within the purview of design professionals.