The Politics of Design







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The Politics of Design

Giving form to space in more sustainable ways requires a huge collective effort: inhabitants who collectively make their neighbourhood more green, companies who collaborate in making their transport more sustainable, policy, developers and neighbourhood workers who set up a socially inclusive collective housing project etc. In giving form to this collective effort, design plays a political role. What we mean with this political role is nicely captured by Thomas Hirschhorn "the political that implates: where do I stand? where does the other stand? what do I want? what does the other want?". In the 60s and 70s design‘s political role was supported by strong collectives in society, like unions or women’s organisations, who could unite and represent many voices in society. Today these big collectives are losing strength. Society is shaped by many small collectives and even more non-united individuals. This complicates the role of designers, since they do not only play a role in teaming up with the larger collectives, but they need to involve many individuals and smaller collectives or they need to take part in shaping new ones. This series of lectures - that will take shape in a book and an exhibition - explores how designers can give form this political role of design in gathering and creating (stronger) collectives who can contribute to a transition towards a more sustainable future. In three “acts” (act 2, 3 and 4, after act 1 was organised in the summer of 2018, we will explore this question, trying to understand what the collective and this process of collectivisation means in an urban design and planning process. We invite you to take part in one or more of these debates. Please send an email to if you want to take part.


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