Conference Communique

Delegates from academic institutions, the private and public sectors from across the world numbering approximately two hundred and forty six (246) attended the 5th Environmental Design and Management International Conference (EDMIC 2015), which held at the Conference Centre, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife from 9th to 12th March, 2015.

The International Conference was organized and hosted by the Faculty of Environmental Design and Management (EDM), Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, with the theme: Responsive Built Environment. Among the participants were international academia, researchers, high ranking Government Officials, decision-makers in the Building and Construction Industry, post-graduate and undergraduate students and the mass media.

The countries represented at the Conference included Australia, Ghana, New Zealand, Nigeria, South Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Pre-Conference Research and Postgraduate Workshop held on 9th March and featured three sessions of research-related lectures and Questions-and-Answers anchored by internationally renowned scholars and researchers. The main Conference was declared open by the Vice-Chancellor, Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Professor Bamitale Omole, represented by the Deputy vice-Chancellor (Academic). Four Keynote addresses by International keynote speakers and more than sixty (60) research papers from the disciplines of Architecture, Building, Estate Management, Fine and Applied Art, Quantity Surveying, Urban and Regional Planning, and the allied field of Civil Engineering, were presented at 4 plenary and 12 parallel sessions respectively.

The theme of EDMIC 2015 was “Responsive Built Environment: Issues, strategies and policies in the developing world” and the sub-themes were:

 Aesthetics, Public Art and Landscapes
 Construction Cost, Measurement and Contract Administration
 Construction Management and Economics
 Construction Technology
 Housing and Housing Finance
 Professional Issues in the Built Environment
 Theoretical and Contemporary Issues
 Urban Infrastructure, Finance and Urban Agriculture
 Urbanization, Governance and Physical Planning
 Valuation and Property Management

The main aim of the Conference was to provide a medium for knowledge-sharing, discussion, debates, analysis and synthesis on issues, strategies and policies related to the Responsive Built Environment in the developing world. Other objectives were to stimulate productive debates, increase the knowledge base of participants, and provide long-term networking opportunities which participants could maximize.

1 Deriving from the aggregate of debates and consensus of opinions, the Conference participants working in sixteen (16) plenary and parallel sessions, among other resolutions:

a. Noted the significance of choosing appropriate PhD research topics and highlighted the salient issues for consideration to include, inter alia – the candidate’s interest, need for originality, where topics can be found, and that the programme itself is time-bound.

b. Noted that for higher degrees/PhDs, the statement of research problem should be clearly articulated while the candidate should note the key issues of gap identification in literature, availability of data, choice of appropriate methodology, and contribution to knowledge geared toward new and innovative ideas.

c. Further noted that inadequate attention seems to have been devoted to addressing issues related to the Responsive Built Environment, particularly in terms of funding, research, and policy-formulation and implementation.

d. Noted that consistent research emphasis should focus on Professional Issues in the Built Environment, such as ethical codes and standards and other professional practices.

e. Acknowledged the need to relate research in the various built-environment fields not only to local issues but to standards of the broader global community.

f. Agreed that opportunities for training and mentoring emerging researchers and professionals in the Built-environment disciplines should be intensified by relevant organs of Universities and Faculties, using cutting-edge and innovative means, to meet world-class standards.

g. Agreed that the goals of a Responsive Built Environment demand multi- and inter- disciplinary research initiatives which integrate the philosophy, knowledge and skills in the diverse related disciplines.

h. Recognized that the achievement of an increasingly Responsive Built Environment requires active and effective collaboration between Academia, Industry, Governments, Funding Institutions and recipient communities.

i. Agreed that Industries should synergize more with the Academia to fund and sponsor research and innovation.

j. Acknowledged under the theme of Aesthetics, Public Art and Landscapes, that Art in general and Urban Art as a functional Art should be considered significant in ‘places’ where there is likely to be abuse of the environment.

k. Acknowledged the multi-faceted roles that Art can play in building a responsive socio- physical environment, and the need to promote these by legislation (to salvage threatened heritage art) and budgets (to sustain its continuity).

l. Noted that legal frameworks need to be set up for controlling construction or development projects where cultural properties including artefacts may be discovered.

m. Further noted the importance of “art in the urban environment,” but that it must be contextually defined with the people participating in the process.

n. Noted under the Urban-related sub-themes, that Responsive Built Environment should be sensitive to physical, emotional, mental, economic and social needs in a sufficient manner to meet minimum satisfaction; and that good governance is the basis for developing a responsive environment that will meet these needs of the populace.

o. Acknowledged infrastructure development as significant in promoting a Responsive Built Environment, particularly in the urban milieu.

p. Discussed and stressed under the Valuation and Property Management theme the importance of responsive tax policy to the sustainability of the built environment.

q. Further noted that there is low awareness of green features among Nigeria property developers, investors and users, and the need to intensify research in this direction.

r. Expressed appreciation to the Vice-Chancellor and Management of Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife for hosting EDMIC 2015, the Dean, Professors, Heads of Department, and the entire staff of the Faculty of EDM for organizing the Conference, the International Keynote Speakers and Resource Persons for sharing from their wealth of knowledge and experience, as well as Chair-persons and Rapporteurs at plenary and parallel sessions, paper presenters, and all participants.

s. Further, expressed appreciation for the sponsorship, hospitality and support extended by many public and private organizations, including the Lagos State Development and Property Corporation (LSDPC), Nigerian Institute of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, EA partnership, Bode Adedeji partnership (Estate Surveyors & Valuers), Muhammad & Co. and numerous other individuals.

t. Acknowledged the commitment and sacrifice of the EDMIC 2015 Conference Organising Committee, Sub-committees, Paper Review Committee, and Advisory Committee.