Engaging the grassroots: Social Justice and Biodiversity
The 9th Conference of the Pacific Rim Community Design Network
March 14-18, 2014, Taiwan
“Engaging the grassroots: Social Justice and Bio-diversity” was the theme for the 9th gathering of participatory community planners and designers around the Pacific Rim. Established in 1998, democratic planning and participatory design have been at the heart of the Pacific Rim Community Design Network. With eight conferences held in various countries across the Pacific Rim, issues and foci have been expanded according to the environmental and social changes. For the 9th gathering, we intend to sustain our core values and endorse designers and planners interacting with communities through democratic spirits, civic resonances and environmental stewardships. We span the theme “Engaging the grassroots: Social Justice and Biodiversity” to five key issues: (1) ‘new ruralism’ experiments, (2) wetland conservation, (3) indigenous cultural recovery, and (4) service-learning education. The format of the conference consisted of “small groups” organized around these five sub-areas, followed by a common forum – “big tables”.
The small groups and big tables were organized in two phases described below. In brief, small-group coordinators have organized events in Phase 1:
Phase 1: Four Small groups: community-based workshops and issue-oriented events
From March 14 to March 17, we simultaneously hosted five small groups in different locations over the island. Each small group focused on a community-based workshop that also included poster and paper presentation, etc. The purpose of the small group venues was to bring the current issues, problems and challenges of social justice and biodiversity in Taiwan to an international audience and in the meantime to invite conference participants to share their related experiences to the local communities.
Phase 2: One Big tables: all-in-one forums and exchanges
Between March 17 and 18, we provided post-workshop forums and roundtable discussions in form of Pacific Rim big table exchanges at Chung Yuan Christian University (CYCU) in Chungli, Taiwan. All workshop participants joined the conference and shared what they learn from the different workshops.
Key issues for the four small groups
The topics and sites/projects for the Small Groups are listed below.