Platform for City Culture and Public Debate


The Informal City

Today, one billion people live in informal cities. The term informal refers not only to the physical aspect of cities but also to their entire socio-political fabric. 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?


Alfredo Brillembourg

Alfredo Brillembourg is the 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.

Elma van Boxel/Kristian Koreman

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. 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

Justus Uitermark is a 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 new inequalities.

Farid Tabarki

Farid Tabarki is the founding director of Studio Zeitgeist, which researches the Dutch, European and global zeitgeist. Farid presented the parliamentary election edition of MTV Coolpolitics and television program Dare to Think, from Socrates to Sartre. He’s also a member of various supervisory boards and committees, among others the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds and Mediamatic.