Azadeh Mashayekhi @ Urban Change in Iran Conference

Last November our PhD candidate Azadeh Mashayekhi presented a paper during the international conference Urban Change in Iran, organized by The Bartlett Development Planning Unit of  University College London (UCL). She wrote this review  for the Lebanese journal Portal 9 : Given the recent political turmoil in Iran, discussions about the country in both Europe and North America tend to focus on geopolitics, sidestepping other critical issues such as urbanization. Tehran in particular, with a population of over 8 million, is one of the world’s largest cities yet figures marginally in most academic discussions about urban growth. The Bartlett Development… Read More

New Publications!

Now online! Two brand new Design as Politics publications. For your entertainment! The first ‘Het einde van het Perpetuum Mobile of: The Self Destruction Machine’ (Dutch only) is the text of Wouter Vanstiphout’s speech during the –by Architectuur Lokaal organized– practice session Het Nieuwe Opdrachtgeven (The New Commissioning) on November 22nd, 2012. During this event, Wouter talked about the instability of the public sector, and the role of the government in the current state of social housing and the architecture and construction sector. (See also the by JaapJan Berg written report of the lecture on Archined) The second publication is a collection… Read More

The privatized town of Sandy Springs

This time a post by our PHD candidate Els Leclercq, who wrote an interesting piece on Sandy Springs, Atlanta, USA: a privatized white-flight city that handed off about every service to private enterprises. The city of Sandy Springs used to be a wealthy suburb to the north of Atlanta. However, following a referendum in 2005, 94% of its residents voted for Sandy Springs to become a city in its own right. This decision demonstrated the discontent with the county’s policies of redistribution of the tax revenue to less affluent parts of the county. Citizens consequently voted a mayor and six Councillors… Read More

Design as Politics at Play the City’s Majority Report kick-off event

On the 14th of December, Wouter Vanstiphout and our ‘We The People’ graduation students will participate in the kick-off event of Play the city’s public research program Majority Report. Everyday interactive new media tools pop up and reach you through the web, mobile devices or sensors in the city. Some of these tools promise to provide you with a greener future, more efficient mobility, better connected citizens, a more transparent governance or higher living quality. But is this really the case? Which one of these platforms actually makes a real change in your life? The Designs as Politics students open… Read More


The Aedes Network Campus Berlin invited Design as Politics and the Why Factory (Winy Maas) to organise a design studio for students from the TUDelft and TU Berlin. Theme of the workshop: Resilience and Democracy – Urban Regions Under Stress. The studio explores the key outcomes of the 2011/12 debate series (pdf) Design&Politics: The Next Phase – a collaboration between Henk Ovink (Director National Spatial Planning, Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment) and ANCB- of which the closing debate (video) took place at the NAi in April 2012 during the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. The collaboration continues with this… Read More

Electoral geography by Josse de Voogd

For our graduation studio “We the people – Democracy, Architecture and the City”, we organized a series of workshops and lectures from professionals in the field. For the first session we invited Josse de Voogd – an independent researcher on electoral geography – who gave us a fresh, new perspective on the relation between voting behavior and the built environment: The electoral map of the Netherlands shows a multi-colored mosaic of different regions and neighbourhoods with their specific voting behaviour. Although the Netherlands is an egalitarian country, there is a remarkable segregation when it comes to voting behaviour and to… Read More

Strand East, London

Ikea subsidiary LandProp is planning to redevelop 26 hectares of industrial wasteland in Stratford, just a stone’s throw from the 2012 Olympic site. The neighborhood dubbed “Strand East” is something of a flagship project for IKEA’s property division and should be a place “where mews-style townhouses sit comfortably alongside creative commercial space. Where beautiful public courtyards open up to piazzas. And waterways weave their way around hotels, restaurants, parks, water taxi piers and cycle paths.” This mixed-use neighborhood is built with the same middle-class target group as the familiar IKEA stores and LandPROP will be concerned with creating a strong… Read More

Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design

If you happen to be in New York between now and March 25th, make sure you check out the MoMA exhibition: 9 + 1 Ways of Being Political: 50 Years of Political Stances in Architecture and Urban Design The political potential of architecture was one of the founding credos of the avant-garde in the early 20th century. Yet today it is commonly believed that this potential has been overwhelmed by economic realities and by the sense that architecture, by its very nature, is symbiotic with existing power structures. Such a perception, however, is belied both by the rise of a… Read More

New Songdo: A City in a Box

  New Songdo City near Seoul in South Korea has been hailed as one of the first truly “smart” cities of the 21st century. The cutting-edge technology present in every square meter of this development is testament to the developer’s dreams of a high-tech, futuristic city. The real innovative aspect of this project, however, is the fact that the city is being sold as a package. For the first time ever, interested parties can buy a “City in a Box”, and know exactly what they are getting—down to the door handles and hinges. Every component is included in a one-time… Read More

New Towns | New Territories

On the 27th of September, the International New Town Institute organizes the Conference New Towns | New Territories – New Players in Urban Planning. The conference explores the latest innovations in global urbanization, privatization and new organizational models of urban development as well as the impact and challenges for professional practice. Global urbanization is moving at a faster pace than ever before and it is showing a fundamental shift in its structure and organization. Hundreds of economic, eco and satellite cities are being developed by private companies. Not only in Asia, but also in Europe. The growing privatization has led… Read More