UrbanAid has established a research network called GoGlobal:-


Through research and practice, GoGlobal considers how the design and architecture agenda fits into a global context and how it can influence and inform international issues. Bridging the microlevel positions of architecture, technology, material and form with the macrolevels of intergovernmental policy, politics, globalisation and social factors is complex and demanding. However, for the designers to have real relevance on the broader global stage, the understanding and manipulation of the micro-macro is a critical element in the process of building real influence, setting agendas and making change of value outside the traditional architectural discourse. GoGlobal works at the boundaries of contemporary design, architectures and urbanism, and engages with the world’s influencers and drivers to make a proactive global contribution through creative ideas and practice.
GoGlobal is an international research collaboration with the purpose of providing resources and expertise for a number of architecture and design themes that have global significance.
Core to the GoGlobal approach is the direct connection between a focused group of individuals, each of whom represent their academic institution on a personal research and practice basis. The individuals have world class standing in their professional areas, and whilst GoGlobal participants may share disciplines, the specific focus of their skills and backgrounds are diverse, but complementary.
GoGlobal’s partners identify global issues where design can make a significant difference, and formulate these into themes. The partners then elect into themes to build a capability to work on the projects at international level. The participants form a multidisciplinary hub that includes the creative and technical expertise for projects, but also extends to include experts in policy and influencers of government and intergovernmental agencies. The purpose being to conduct work that is relevant to those agencies and given their support and/or influential through lobbying or dialogue.
The theory behind GoGlobal is that, design creativity is rarely fully mobilised or utilised at government and policy level to address the many global problems where academic and practice creativity can contribute significantly solutions. In addition, the expertise for many complex issues is typically distributed around the world’s top academic institutions and this draws those people together syndetically.
GoGlobal also engages with industry and practice, and commercial partners can participate in relevant GoGlobal themes.
The GoGlobal format is ideally suited to encourage research funding for internatinal projects, or national projects where international expertise is required.
GoGlobal was established in 2005 by professor Tom Barker of the Royal College of Art. The original format was for postgraduate international student group collaborations. Industry, designers in practice and government agencies were also typically involved. Between 2005 and 2008, this programme undertook projects in China, Thailand, Japan, Ghana. As the project grew in complexity and duration, it became clear that the work needed to migrate into a longer term research context. In addition, GoGlobal was starting to influence and benefit from international policy forums, such as the United Nations Creative Industry programme (eg: presenting at the UNCTAD XII conference in 2008). During this period, it also became clear that international governments and intergovernmental agencies were very receptive to expertise and policy level advice via GoGlobal that related to global issues, where design could make a significant positive contribution.
Following discussions between founder partners, two initiation meetings were held in 2008 for GoGlobal, hosted by RMIT University in Melbourne.
Collaborative working technology
The use of various remote working technologies has been explored during the last 5 years. The current preferred platform for GoGlobal is Evo – a conferencing and working system developed by Caltech, USA. This is undergoing evaluation and will be used in 2009 for GoGlobal meetings. Evo is cross-platform and freely downloadable: www.evo.caltech.edu
GoGlobal founder partners
The partners are individuals who each represent their institutions and participate directly themselves.
The six founder partners of GoGlobal are as follows:-
Tom Barker, UTS University, Sydney, Australia
Garrick Jones, London School of Economics, London, UK
Ashley Hall, Royal College of Art, London, UK
Yusuke Obuchi, Architectural Association, London, UK
Tom Verebes, Hong Kong University, Hong Kong
Mark Burry+Harriet Edquist, RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia
Research themes
The initial themes are in development by the founder partners. Some of the provisional themes are:-
• Design Enterprise / Developing countries
• D-Cities / digital-physical hybrids
• Health and wellbeing / future of food
• Hot climates / resource management, power and energy
• Parametric and computational architectures