How can architects, landscape architects, planners, as well as other professionals and NGOs involved in humanitarian design better contribute to fill the gap between those who can afford a well-design habitat and those who can’t?

Humanitarian Design on the Front Line: A Forum & Open Discussion, a side event during the World Design Summit (WDS), will address this question openly in a spirit of exchange and collegiality. The event is free and an invitation to people involved in « humanitarian design », understood in its broadest sense as the field of design interventions for the welfare of all humanity, be them in contexts of crises, development, cooperation.

ORGANIZERS: This event is organized by Architecture Sans Frontières International (ASF-Int) and Landscape Architects Without Borders (LAWB, a committee of the International Federation of Landcape Architects), in collaboration with Architectes de l’urgence et de la coopération, local member of ASF-Int, and the Maison de l’architecture du Québec, the venue where the forum is taking place (right next to the Palais des Congrès).


As population growth, migration, urbanization, disasters and climate change tend to accelerate and combine their impacts, so do problems related to settling, housing and infrastructures. This is especially true in disadvantaged communities and informal settlements – be them rural or urban, more in the South but increasingly in the North – in which the absence of an adequate habitat prevents citizens from fully exercising their most basic human rights, as access to healthcare, education and resilient housing. There lies the great inequality between those who can afford a well designed built environment and those who cannot. And a growing number of humanitarian organisations and designers – be them architects, landscape architects, urban planners or other design professionals – work to fill that gap and stand on the front line with populations in urgent need of appropriate design interventions.


At the WDS, many design and non-design ONGs, as well as professionals and academics from around the world involved in this field of intervention will be present. The is the opportunity to meet and exchange on shared issues and possibilities of collaboration, as well as to discuss openly about the awaited Montréal Design Declaration, which will be the signed outcome of the WDS and a first roadmap of the world design community, intended to guide projects and discussions during the coming years. Held right after the Congress and just before the official Summit, this Forum invites individuals and NGOs involved in of the humanitarian sector to make their case for the crucial role designers working in the build environment have to play to change the world and the opportunities they foresee as the first World Design Summit will be ready to start.


  • How should organisations and professionnals involved in and around humanitarian design better collaborate with local populations, be them indigenous peoples, migrants and refugees, victims of disasters, or vulnerable communities in other types cooperation context?
  • Following which ethical standards?
  • How can stakeholders, big or small – be them design NGOs, non-design NGOs, financial partners and academic institutions – can better collaborate together to increase their efficiency?
  • What key message(s) should be voiced during the official Summit to bring awareness about the challenges and opportunities of humanitarian design?


  • 8h30: Welcome, coffee and petit-déjeûner!
  • 8h50: Opening remarks (Maria Gabriella Trovato, chair of LAWB; Xavier Codina, chair of ASF-Int)
  • 9h00 : Icebreaker
  • 9h15: Forum part 1: breakout groups on selected field of action
  • 10h00: Forum part 2: breakout groups on selected transversal themes
  • 10h45: Coffee break!
  • 11h00: Open discussion on humanitarian design and the Montréal Design Declaration
  • 12h00: Wrap up and final remarks.
  • 12h30 : Closing (and more informal networking during lunch outside in a retaurant…)

PRICE: free (voluntary contributions)

REGISTRATION : limited space! Please book your ticket below only if you’ll be there and make sure to book.

DATE ET HEURE :  Vendredi, 20 octobre 2017 08:30 – 12:30

ENDROIT : Maison de l’Architecture du Québec 181 Rue Saint-Antoine Ouest Montréal, QC H2Z 1X8