Exploring how we could create a better future through design

Design Matters is a thought-provoking lecture series, organized by the School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape, which seeks to inspire transformative change. The series brings to Calgary a range of designers, innovators, and thought leaders exploring the edge of design and city building. 

Lectures are delivered from September to May, and feature provocative speakers who examine the latest ideas in architecture, regional and urban planning, and landscape architecture. The lectures challenge attendees to broaden their thinking on a myriad of issues related to design.  Design Matters engages students, public officials, industry professionals and interested citizens — people who want to learn, understand and address design issues affecting our community.

The lectures spark conversations about societal issues by engaging with innovative thinkers. Attendees are encouraged to recognize the important role design plays in our daily lives. 

Join industry professionals, faculty, students, alumni and people in the community who care about design and building a great city at an upcoming lecture!


2021/22 Series



Anne Whiston Spirn, MIT Urban Planning

Restoring Mill Creek: Reflections on 30+ Years of Action Research

Thursday October 7, 5pm MT
Location: Zoom
Cost: Free

About Anne → 

Anne Whiston Spirn, MIT Urban Planning

Fokke Moerel, MVDRV, Head of Interior Studio

Socially Resilient Design

Thu November 4, 2021 | 12pm MT
Location: Zoom
Cost: Free

About Fokke →


Fokke Moerel 2020 (c)Daria Scagliola

Harriet Harriss, Dean, Pratt Institute 

Architects After Architecture

Fri, November 26, 12pm MT
Location: Zoom
Cost: Free

About Harriet →

Adam Elstein




Healing the world’s cities: Sponge cities and sponge planet

Tuesday January 18, 6pm MT
Location: Zoom
Cost: Free

About Kongjian →


Marcelo Spina, P-A-T-T-E-R-N-S

Wednesday February 9, 5pm MT
Location: TBD
Cost: Free

About Marcelo →

Shajay Bhooshan, Zaha Hadid Architects

Saturday March 19, 5pm 
Location: TBD
Cost: Free

About Shajay →

Shajay Bhooshan

Design Matters 2020/21 Sponsors


Hosted by John Baziuk (MArch'21) and Emily Kaing (MLA'21), listen to two seasons of conversations about popular topics and bold new ideas with design leaders in the built environment. Launched in Fall 2019, the episodes are aired on CJSW-FM is a campus radio station, broadcasting at 90.9 MHz FM, from the University of Calgary, and available on Apple Podcasts. Special thanks to the CJSW team for letting us use the station facilities and for your mentorship, Vita Leung for inspiring the initiative and Jes Alder for ongoing support.

Instagram @designmatters.podcast
Email podcast@sapl.ucalgary.ca


Design Matters is made possible through the partnership with generous sponsors who have shared aspirations. Sponsorship presents a wonderful opportunity for companies to not only heighten community profile, but also to engage with talented students who will be leaders and practitioners.

Looking forward to learning with you!


Energetic, intelligent, and want to activate events? Email design.matters@ucalgary.ca to start the conversation.


Pan-Canada lecture series, Fall 2020
Design Matters 2019/20
Design Matters 2018/19
Design Matters 2017/18