The Informal City

with a lecture by Alfredo Brillembourg

  • Debate
  • Lecture

Date: 08.09.15
Time: 20:00 (doors 19:30)
Location: De Hofpoort, Hofplein 20
Tickets: € 5,00 at the door

Today, one billion people – 36 percent of the world’s population – live in informal cities. The term informal refers not only to the physical aspect of cities but also to their entire socio-political fabric. Informal cities and settlements exceed the structures of order, control and homogeneity that one expects to find in a formal city. As currently evolving, the informal city is an urban phenomenon set up within the planned city’s territory and is an increasingly integral part of the urban condition.

On the 8th of September Alfredo Brillembourg, founding partner of multidisciplinary design practice Urban-Think Tank (U-TT), will kick off a series of public talks with a lecture on informal cities in ‘the global South’ and the lessons we can learn from them in the Northern hemisphere. In a time when bottom-up and ‘spontaneous’ strategies  for urban development become more common we will look into the ways in which non-institutional parties can best shape the built environment and appropriate urban space. How do these strategies for urban design relate to the conventional planning apparatus and vested economic interests? What power relations are involved in a transformation towards a more ‘self-organising’ city?  And what are future scenarios for urban development now that the market is catching up?

The keynote is followed by a debate addressing these issues. Joining the discussion:

Alfredo Brillembourg – founding director of Urban Think Tank (U-TT), an architectural practice involved in high-profile projects which have resulted in the meaningful transformation in deprived areas in Latin American cities. Since 2007 Brillembourg has been a guest professor at the Graduate School of Architecture and Planning, Columbia University, where he co-founded the Sustainable Living UrbanModel Laboratory (S.L.U.M. Lab) with Hubert Klumpner. Together with Klumpner, Brillembourg holds the chair for Architecture and Urban Design at the Swiss Institute of Technology (Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule, ETH) in Zurich.

Elma van Boxel/Kristian Koreman (ZUS) – Founders of Zones Urbaines Sensibles (ZUS). ZUS researches and intervenes in the contemporary urban landscape with productions ranging from urban plans and architecture to installations and fashion. Over the last several years they have self-initiated the transformation of part of the Rotterdam Central District, first by occupying and redeveloping an empty office building into a vibrant part of the city and then by building a footbridge connecting the centre with the north of the city. The idea underlying their work is one of permanent temporality: a vision on urban design that links temporary interventions to long-term thinking

Justus Uitermark – Dutch professor of sociology (EUR) who specializes in self-organisation and urban policy. Although he is not against the shift towards a more self-organising city he warns that especially when used as a political instrument it may also produce adverse consequences and a new inequalities.

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