Building and Dwelling

- with Richard Sennett, Tina Rahimy and Jess Bier

  • Debate
  • Lecture

Date: Tuesday 18.12.2018

Time: 20u (drinks 19u)

Venue: WORM (Boomgaardsstraat 71)

Language: English

On the occasion of the Dutch translation of his latest book Building and Dwelling renowned urbanist Richard Sennett will visit De Dépendance for a lecture on the ethics of the open city.  His lecture will be followed by replies from Jess Bier (assistant professor of urban sociology at Erasmus University Rotterdam), Tina Rahimy (political philosopher at Rotterdam University of Applied Sciences) and students from the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design. The evening is moderated by Farid Tabarki (Studio Zeitgeist).

In Building and Dwelling Richard Sennett distils a lifetime’s thinking and practical experience to demonstrate the profound effect that the design of cities has upon the everyday experience of those who dwell in them. In describing how cities such as Paris, Barcelona and New York assumed their modern forms, he explores the intimate relationship between the good built environment and the good life.

Through it all, Sennett laments that the ‘closed’ city―segregated, regimented, and controlled―has spread from the global North to the exploding urban agglomerations of the global South. To look at cities in a more embracing way he argues for an ‘open’ city, where citizens actively hash out their differences and planners experiment with urban forms that make it easier for residents to cope. His vision is far from the functional, efficient, conflict-free city, but instead a physical environment that is incomplete and intense, with spaces that allow the identities of its inhabitants to be as fluid and complex as the city itself. In such a city, whatever virtues of efficiency, safety, or sociability people achieve, they achieve by virtue of their own agency.

Building and Dwelling draws on Sennett’s many decades as a practical planner himself, testing what works, what doesn’t, and why. He shows what works ethically is often the most practical solution for cities’ problems.

Richard Sennett’s previous books include The Fall of Public Man, Flesh and Stone and Respect, as well as two previous volumes in his Homo Faber trilogy, The Craftsman and Together. For decades he has advised urban programmes for the United Nations, and has also worked as a planner for poor communities. He now teaches urban studies at the London School of Economics and at Harvard University. He has been awarded the Hegel and Spinoza prizes, as well as an honorary doctorate by Cambridge University. His new book Building and Dwelling: Ethics for the City was published in spring 2018. The Dutch translation Stadsleven: Een visie op de metropool van de toekomst was published this fall.

Organized by De Dépendance in collaboration with the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design, Amateur Cities, Meulenhoff and WORM. This program is part of the project Research by Debate and kindly supported by the Creative Industries Fund NL, The Municipality of Rotterdam, the Erasmusstichting, the Fleur Groenendijk Foundation, and STOER.