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UTZON Lecture Series: Annual Paul Reid Lecture in Urban Design

10 March 2020
6:15pm - 9:30pm
Leighton Hall, John Niland Scientia Building
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Annual Paul Reid Lecture in Urban Design
Shanghai | New York | Sydney – Humanizing High Density

Zhizhe Yu
Co-Founder & Managing Director Of Ai.Spacefactory
New York | Shanghai | Barcelona

Please note this event has been postponed till 10 March 2020 due to unforeseen circumstances. 
The speaker, Zhizhe Yu, won’t be able to give her lecture in person but will deliver it via a video recording. Following the lecture, she will join the event via a live video stream and will participate in a Q&A with an expert panel from industry and UNSW. 


By 2050, 70% of the world’s population will live in cities.

Until recently, tall buildings have been considered one of the most effective solutions to accommodate rapid urban growth and to increase density. This is often seen as a solution adopted ‘out of necessity’ - not desired – that fails to respond creatively to social, cultural, environmental and well-being pressures generated by the pace and scale of urbanization.

High-rise urbanism is frequently criticized for creating cities without character and culture, mass-produced and disconnected from the local context, nature and the people they serve - in other words, high rise high density cities have become globalized and placeless.

We are faced with the ‘inconvenient truth’ of climate change, hyper-urbanization, and rising economic and social challenges. Instead of designing tall buildings and cities that are simply the product of necessity, we should use the power of design to create cities unique to their local context – attuned to climate, culture, society and historical significance – and invent new high-density urban spaces that are accessible, responsive and people-centred.

We come from many cultures on one planet – cities should be designed to celebrate our diversity and shape our humanity as we work towards a shared future.


Master of Urban Development & Design 25th Anniversary Exhibition

Following the 2020 Annual Paul Reid Lecture, please join us for the opening of the exhibition to mark the 25thAnniversary of the UNSW Master of Urban Development & Design Program 'MUDD25 Urban Intensity | Urban Design – Sydney | Beijing | Hangzhou'

Zhizhe Yu

Zhizhe Yu


Zhizhe Yu is co-founder and managing director of AI.SpaceFactory based in New York, Shanghai and Barcelona. A graduate of the UNSW Master of Urban Development & Design Program, Zhizhe established AI’s China office in Shanghai where she leads a team of architects on city-defining projects. Educated as both an architect and urban designer, Zhizhe relishes a hands-on approach to making spaces that contribute to cities and to society.    

Previously a Director at Kohn Pedersen Fox, New York Zhizhe’s achievements include a 9-year commitment as project director of an international multidisciplinary design team in multiple locations that brought to completion the 599 metre-tall PingAn Finance Center (PAFC) in Shenzhen, China.  

Click here for full bio.