Dr. Tigran Haas, CEO, KTH Stockholm

Centre for the Future of Places: Building a Socially Sustainable and Prosperous World

Currently one of the biggest problems that the world is facing is global warming. Urbanization contributes to this problem more than we can ever imagine and with the growing population, it is inevitable. This has resulted in the dire need for sustainable urban development, as it can be used as a strong tool to fight against global warming up to some extent. The concept of sustainable and resilient development is steadily being recognized as it helps strengthening the environmental life and takes a broad perspective on the environmental sustainability of urban areas. With a purpose to promote sustainable urban development by shifting the urban discourse from objects to places in order to promote socially sustainable healthy and livable cities, within the disciplines of Urban Planning and Urban Design, Centre for the Future of Places(CFP) was established at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.

A Promising Mission & Vision

CFP was set up with a mission that aside from becoming an International Hub for Research on Public Space & Beyond and doing studies on the subject from a global perspective, it also becomes a clearinghouse for ideas and new proposals on how the cities should be planned, designed, and retrofitted best to meet both today’s and tomorrow’s challenges with the focus on public places and urban spaces. The centre envisions a networked community of leaders actively working across sectors, frontiers, and disciplines to build a more just, sustainable, and prosperous world.

Two Entities into One

In order to comprehend the current status and understand the Centers complexity, one needs to recall its expanded establishment. CFP has merged two different entities into one, namely The Future of Places Network and Civitas Athenaeum Laboratory(CAL).

The Future of Places was a three-year collaboration project with the different organizations for research, implementation, networking and advocacy, etc., ran by Urban City Research (UCR) at Ax: son Johnson Philanthropic Foundation. Looking at the organization’s future plan, success of good urbanism lies in the key issue of the public space as a fundamental component of the city’s sustainable urban development. In four years, The Future of Places Network brought together more than 1,500 researchers, along with thousands of consultants, officials, and activists, representing more than 700 organizations in more than 275 cities over 100 and more countries worldwide. Tigran Haas, the CEO of the Centre, used this foundation platform and network and merged it with the Civitas Athenaeum Laboratory (CAL) which he ran successfully for 5 years prior to that.

CAL was an incredible hub for merging urban form and human behavior research and producing a platform for international events and a dynamic clearing house of highest level in exchange of world class people. Its primary purpose was to become the key access to academic research in urban form and human behavior focusing on the public realm issues and to become a node for assembling the best ideas, people, and networks around.

A Holistic Approach

The Centre takes a holistic approach in defining, classifyingand establishing the public space as an independent academic research field, but not as a separate and new discipline.This means that the center systematically links together knowledge fromall disciplines related to the field of public space, such as urban planning,urban design, environmental psychology, urban sociology, architecture, urbaneconomics, human geography and others.

In order to stay ahead of the curve, the centre focuses on public space that serves as sort of a cross-disciplinary framework and bridge to merge the knowledge from the different disciplinary silos; thus, creating links between the experts within them to create a holistic understanding of the city that serves as the basis for practical and effective action, which will require international cooperation.

The International Centre for the Future of Places has an extensive global network of leading scholars in the field and organizes conferences, symposiums, lectures, talks, seminars and meetings of world-class. It does not satisfy itself with 2nd best, but simply the best! As if KTH is the “MIT of the North” so is the CFP the “Burning Light of integrated public space research”.

Feathers in its Cap

Dr. Haas and his international team at the centre have already captured the momentum of ideas & trends behind the science of cities on its macro, meso and micro scales. He has organized an impressive number of conferences, exhibitions, debates, roundtables, symposium, colloquiums, etc. with other related organizations that became an exposure of the company itself. The centre has created a unique vocabulary and catalogue of events never seen before. It has also assembled top leading public space researchers along with a hand full of top urbanist minds in the world. Now the centre takes the privileges of some scholars such as Professor Richard Florida, the KTH honorary doctorate, the previous KTH honorary doctors Prof. Saskia Sassen, Prof. Manuel Castells, and Prof. Edward Glaeser, and also all ten profound members of the CFP academic board. By early 2020, the organization, Centre for the Future Places, has been awarded 12 different awards in different business, management, academic as well as socio-economical fields.

Exemplifying Profound Leadership

Getting things done by the team has to be assembled correctly, as it is not an easy task. One must be attentive, must have patience, be encouraging, positive, and thoughtful. These are the real virtues of a leader. For Dr. Tigran Haas’ employees and the board of directors, he is a perfect leader of a research organization. He is a very professional, driving, proactive and persuasive person. At the inception of the role of leadership, Dr. Haas is always ready to expand his dimension every day and create a new business boundary.  He knows how to connect socially with physical sphere. At the same time, he maintains the imbalance of a person’s thoughts and action. He has become successful by winning hearts, which is reflected in the company’s feedback and many awards and accolades won, and the mutual development he has made with other organizations, affiliates and partners. He has also learned a lot by making mistakes but also taking risks, as without risks there are no rewards.

Dr. Haas is the person who can truly foresee the future. This is why he is very much confident about the position of his centre or a new lab that might take its place after five years. He perceives the future of this organization with future key projects and key pertinent themes for the thriving and survival of cities. He believes in creating new paths but also staying at the present paved road. He is very much confident that the organization will be fully ready to deal with the critical issues and harder projects that will come along, including the post COVID-19 era. This is the way to upgrade the whole system. He is very much confident about his researchers who have already made a huge contribution to the success of the centre in producing different books, research reports, exhibitions, media outreach and publications in different journals.

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