Design as Politics Lectures: What Design can do About…

Recently we started a new lecture series in Delft, raising the question what design can do about some of the mayor issues that dominate the social-political debate these days.

Following the format of so-called confrontation lectures we’ll discuss urbanism and architecture in relation to Finance, Welfare, Emancipation, Safety, Democracy and Migration, together with our students and a non-architectural expert, opinion maker, journalist or politician. Each lecture starts with and introduction by Design as Politics’ Professor Wouter Vanstiphout, followed by a statement by a special guest speaker. Subsequently an architecture student or PhD candidate is asked to respond to kick off a debate with the audience. 

During our first session we discussed the relation between Architecture and Finance with economist and publicist Heleen Mees and urban researcher Rene Boer. We talked about the influence of China on the global financial market, rising profits, declining labour income, the position of women on the labour market and the speculative design of a Special Social Zone in Amsterdam. 

The second session was completely dedicated to emancipation, feminism and the role of architecture. For this we invited journalist and writer Hassnae Bouazza who talked about architecture as a tool for emancipation, by taking into account the needs of its users, the domination of male thinking in planning and governance, the creation of beauty and the right to pee. We asked architecture student Brigitte O’Regan who is part of the TU Delft Feminists movement to respond on her lecture. Brigitte stressed the need for gender equality in the University, backed up by Wouter Vanstiphout’s introduction on the position of women in science.

Both sessions sparked a lively debate and gave lots of food for thought. For all of you who couldn’t make it: don’t worry! They have been recorded! So check them out here and here and join us for the next session on Friday 27 October about Architecture and Welfare with Zihni Özdil – member of parliament for the green party. We’ll keep you posted about the exact time and location on our facebook page.