This paper is edited on the basis of intensive round-table discussions within a relatively small group of colleagues interested and involved in thinking, making and working towards quality of public space, to discuss, problematise and evaluate what is going on and to speculate on actions suitable for these times, and the times that follow. The title of the round table emphasises questions, deliberately pointing at the enigmas posed by current situation. We see it as an opportunity to get and think together in a structured brain-storming session that encourages brave and risky discussion. The “task” for all of the participants is to reflect upon practices/experiences that we are individually familiar with, those that we are witnessing these days, and - to suggest what would be the key questions /issues that need to be (re)thought and addressed in the weeks, months, perhaps years to come. The roundtable discussions were held online on 1st May 2020 – then recorded, transcribed, edited and published as a joint piece.
Urban Questions in the Times of Coronavirus
Responding to the Crisis of Public Space
Keio University, co+labo
Meiji University, I-AUD
City of Amsterdam, Department of Urban Planning and Sustainability
Politecnico di Milano, Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU)
ETH Future Cities Laboratory
University of Ljubljana, Faculty of architecture (UL FA)
University of Tokyo, Kengo Kuma & Associates
University of Chile, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism
Universidad de Las Américas
Keio University, Graduate School of Media and Governance
University of Melbourne, Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning
Darko is a Professor of Architecture and Urban Design at Keio University, Tokyo. He has taught, researched and practised architecture and urbanism in Europe, Australia and Asia. At Keio, Darko heads co+labo radović, research laboratory which focuses at the concepts of urbanity and sustainable development across scales, in contexts which expose the difference and offer encounters with the Other. He published in English, Serbo-Croatian, Japanese, Korean, Italian and Thai languages.
Davisi is Professor at Meiji University, Tokyo, International Program in Architecture and Urban Design. Her international careers stretch from France, via Thailand, Singapore and Australia, to Japan. Davisi’s research and teaching field is interdisciplinary and cross-cultural, with strong emphasis on environmental and cultural sustainability. Her research interests focus on the resource approach to urban requalification and creative milieu. She has published several research books and a number of academic papers. Her passion for cities also finds its expression in creative work. She has exhibited her drawings and paintings in Japan, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy. Davisi is also member of the council board of City Space Architecture, Bologna and Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia (2019-22). Together with Darko Radović, they found co+re, platform for strategic thinking, making and living better cities.
Pieter Klomp is deputy director of the department of Urban Planning and Sustainability of the city of Amsterdam, and head of the urban design division. He has been leading the program "Koers 2025", which aims to accommodate the strong growth of Amsterdam, aiming towards strengthening a human scale metropolis. As supervisor at the Northern IJbanks he has been actively involved in the transformation of the Amsterdam waterfront. Pieter is trained as a landscape architect at Wageningen University, and holds a MBA degree from TiasNimbas/Bradford University.
Antonella is an architect and urban planner, she is Associate Professor in Urban planning at the Department of Architecture and Urban Studies (DAStU) Politecnico di Milano. She works in the field of urban design and urban transformation strategies with the aim to investigate the processes of place-making. In particular, her interests are addressed to the relationships between the project of the physical space, urban policies as well as practices like participatory and communication strategies, temporary or artistic interventions. Her recent researches focus on public spaces and the role of creative and cultural activities in urban regeneration processes.
Stephen Cairns is currently based in Singapore where he his Programme Director of the Future Cities Laboratory. His research is focused on architecture, design and urban planning, and takes theoretical and practical forms. His books include Drifting: Migrancy and Architecture (edited) (Routledge 2004), and The Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory (Sage 2012, edited with Greig Crysler and Hilde Heynen). His co-authored book (with Jane M Jacobs) Buildings Must Die: A Perverse View of Architecture (MIT Press) was published in 2014.
His current work is focused on the complex patterns of settlement emerging in the predominantly rice-growing hinterlands of many large cities in Southeast Asia, India and China. His practice-oriented research takes the form of the Tropical Town project, a planned/unplanned low-energy, high-density settlement for such urbanising hinterlands.
This work builds on a number of research projects funded by the UK’s Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC), and the Environmental and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). These include:Cultures of Legibility: Emergent Urban Landscapes in Southeast Asia (2007-2010) that investigated so-called ‘desa-kota’ landscapes on the fringes of the city of Jakarta; Difference and Repetition: An Investigation of the Residential High-Rise as a Global Form (2004-2007); and Orienting the Future: Design Strategies for Non-Place (2005-2006).
Material from these projects was published in journals such as Urban Studies, Journal of Architecture, SLUM Lab and Geographical Research, and was exhibited at the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) in 2010 and 2012, and at the AEDES Gallery, Berlin in 2013.
Dr, MA in Architecture, PhD in Architecture and Urban Planning; senior lecturer. Head of Chair of Urbanism UL FA, coordinator of Urban studies at UL FA. Research experience: spatial and urban planning, urban design, planning of small settlements, rurism and rural architecture, urban regulations, morphological models, settlement culture, models for revitalisation. Organised and participate in more than 50 architectural and urbanistic workshops. Active in organization and participation in International conferences of Spatial Planning development and Urbanism. Member of different national and international scientific and art committees. Active in professional work in domain of urban planning and design.
Kengo Kuma was born in 1954. Before establishing Kengo Kuma & Associates in 1990, he received his Master’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Tokyo, where he currently holds position of Professor of Architecture. After his time as a Visiting Scholar at Columbia University, he established his office in Tokyo. Since then, Kengo Kuma & Associates has designed architectural works in over twenty countries and received numerous prestigious awards.
Assoc Prof Beatriz Maturana (PhD, M.Urb, U.of Melbourne & Architect RMIT, Australia) is an Academic and founder of Architects for Peace, 2003. During 1993-1996 volunteered with Australian Volunteers Abroad to teach architecture in Nicaragua. She practiced as an architect/urban designer, while studio teaching at various universities. Since 2012, Beatriz lives and works in Santiago, Faculty of Architecture and Urbanism, University of Chile, where she was Director of International Relations and Academic Development (2015-2018) and Adjunct Professor, RMIT University. She is a jurist (UIA-Education), Steering Committee Member (Association of Pacific Rim Universities), Editor (International Journal of Architectural Research) and evaluation committee member (Chilean National Science and Technology Research Commission).
Ana Medina is currently a researcher and Professor at Universidad de Las Américas in Quito, Ecuador, where she teaches Architecture and Urban Design and is visiting teacher at post-graduate local and international programs. Ana researches the cognition, experience and reciprocity of architectural space, bodies and movement through dissident spatial practices. She works between R+LAB in Quito, Hypermedia at UPM (Madrid) and CO+LABO at Keio University (Tokyo). Ana speaks at and organizes international architecture workshops and performances; she has collaborated on a number of multidisciplinary projects and architectural design contests and her work has been exhibited in different cities throughout the world. She has published papers and book chapters in an array of research fields.
Eiji Oguma is a professor at the Graduate School of Media and Governance, Keio University. He authored over ten monographs, as well as numerous articles and book chapters. His socio-historical works on Japan cover national identity, colonial policy, post-war democratic thought, the 1968 student movement, and Japan’s employment system. He received seven prizes for his publications and one prize for filmmaking in Japan. He has participated and researched anti-nuclear movement aftermath of the Fukushima accident in 2011 and directed a documentary film on the movement.
David Sim is Creative Director and a partner at Gehl. He trained as an architect in his native Scotland and in Scandinavia, and he now specializes in urban planning and design all over the world. He has developed numerous citizen-engagement tools as well as rethinking master-planning as flexible development frameworks, exploring methodologies to deliver denser and more diverse urban places while maintaining a human scale. David Sim is also an accomplished educator, with a distinguished career teaching. David Sim is the author of “Soft City – Building Density for Everyday Life”.
Dr Sidh Sintusingha is Senior Lecturer and Landscape Architecture Program Coordinator in the Faculty of Architecture, Building and Planning at the University of Melbourne. Prior to joining academia, he practiced as an architect and landscape architect in Thailand and Australia. Framed through history and politics, his research addresses socio-cultural, environmental and scalar issues relating to urbanization and the speculation of retrofits towards urban sustainability in Southeast Asian cities (inclusive of Australia). He has widely presented and published in these areas both locally and internationally.
Saline Verhoeven is a landscape architect working for a NGO for landscape and nature development in the province of North Holland, the Netherlands. She currently is leading the project Amsterdam Wetlands focusing on wetland restoration of the region directly north of Amsterdam. In this project she combines her experience with urban transformation projects such as the NDSM docklands in Amsterdam with the development of a metropolitan landscape. Saline is trained as a landscape architect at the Wageningen University and in urban design at TU Delft.