Design and the City is a podcast by reSITE about how we can use design to make cities more livable and lovable. Every week, a new episode will be released featuring speakers that explore the future of our cities, like Thomas Heatherwick from Heatherwick Studios, Chris Precht from Studio Precht, Leona Lynen from Haus der Statistik and Yosuke Hayano from MAD Architects among others.
The connection to the street, because that's where most people are. We are trying to focus our effort on people where are the people and what are the issues that matter most to them and have a dialogue with that. -- Thomas Heatherwick
ReSITE, global non-profit acting to improve the urban environment, is launching its first podcast, Design and the City, featuring nine speakers from the reSITE 2019 REGENERATE event. A leading voice in the field of rethinking cities, architecture and urban development, reSITE is also attracting political leaders of inspirational cities to its events. Kicking off next week’s episode with Heatherwick Studios founder, Thomas Heatherwick, the podcast aims to dig deeper into his current projects and outlooks on the future of our cities. Read on to discover a summary of the 9 episodes, starting February 4th 2020 and the launched teaser.
Cities are the sum of designers, developers, artists, citizens, public officials, entrepreneurs, and the displaced, but rarely do each of these constituencies gather in the same room, let alone speak the same language, and cities suffer for it. reSITE is literally that room. In order to create a city that is truly for everyone, we need to work together. We need to have conversations, debates, discussions, and we need to create a little bit of that friction where the magic happens. We use our flagship event to do just that and frame the future of cities through as many different perspectives as we can. This year we aim to create conversations around how cities can regenerate themselves from every angle -- reSITE
DESIGN AND THE CITY EPISODES #1-9
Episode #1 - Designing on a Human Scale with Thomas Heatherwick + Special Guest Host from ArchDaily, Christele Harrouk
“I think myself, and my team, we don't see a distinction between architecture and urban design. The same verb applies - you design. You don't architect something, you design it.” For Thomas Heatherwick, architecture and urban design go hand-in-hand. Like with all of his projects, he strives to consider them from a human scale capturing the essence of what already exists. Somehow, he still manages to achieve one of his pillars of placemaking - creating something that doesn’t feel like somewhere else, somewhere else we’ve already been. Joining the interview is ArchDaily editor, Christele Harrouk.
Episode #2 - A New Generation of Architects with Chris Precht
“We care about fictional stories, but our planet doesn’t. If we are not able to connect ourselves to our objective reality, then I do not see any chance that we are able to solve the problems of our time”. When it comes to urban regeneration, not many are thinking about it the way Chris Precht is. Studio Precht’s modular buildings with interwoven, natural geometry bring “being green” to a whole other level. They are all variations on a theme - vertical farming meant for city-living - and aim to reconnect our lives to our food production by bringing it back into our cities, and our minds through architecture.
Episode #3 - East Meets West with Yoko Choy
From working on the launch of Art Basel in Hong Kong to managing Beijing Design Week’s international communications activities to her current role working as the China editor of Wallpaper* magazine. Collective Contemporist is the latest project she co-founded. A creative consultancy with offices in Beijing, Hong Kong and Amsterdam, it aims to stimulate and inspire conversations and collaborations between East and West. Collective Contemporist works to translate the knowledge and insights from both worlds into a common creative language and to raise awareness on the importance of cross-cultural exchange across fields of design and architecture.
Episode #4 - Fighting Gentrification, Berlin-Style with Leona Lynen
Haus der Statistik is a vast, unoccupied administration building in the heart of Berlin at Alexanderplatz. Leona is a Berlin-based urbanist and the project manager at ZUsammenKUNFT cooperative for urban development. ZUsammenKUNFT advocates for cooperation between civil society and administration in order to co-create a better quality of life, starting with Haus der Statistik. It is currently being turned into a model project for a co-operative, mixed-use urban development that is oriented towards the common good.
Episode #5 - How Can Architecture Create Emotional Connections to Nature with Yosuke Hayano
"How do you bring modern architecture into the future and connect humans with nature?” That is the question Yosuke Hayano, principal partner for MAD Architects brings to the table when the studio approaches any of their projects. They are creating a vision for the future city. As they’ve put it, they have been “committed to developing futuristic, organic, technologically advanced designs that embody a contemporary interpretation of the Eastern affinity for nature”. During our interview with Yosuke, we examined how they are able to create that vision as a journey for people to meet nature through architecture.
Episode #6 - McMansion Hell with Kate Wagner
If you've never heard of a McMansion, get ready to explore the heinous world of “luxury homes” that have spread like wildfire throughout the American suburbs with Kate Wagner’s blog McMansion Hell. Her satirical, funny-because-it's-true approach to dissecting these monstrosities makes architecture criticism accessible to the masses. It is the antagonist shining a bright light on how these dwellings are more than just unattractive and kitschy - but also anti-urban, anti-social and generally problematic on many levels.
Episode #7 - Regenerating Cities, Transforming Communities with Christopher Cabaldon
The longest-serving mayor in West Sacramento’s history, the man behind the city’s outstanding urban regeneration that put it on the map as one of the most livable small towns in the United States, and an LGBTQ+ advocate, Christopher Cabaldon is a model city official. During his on-going, 20-year-long office, the California capital's adjacent city underwent an incredible transformation from a former industrial town to an urbanized, livable community.
Episode #8 - Designing with Optimism with Marianthi Tatari, UNStudio
As a true systems thinker, Marianthi Tatari, Associate Director and Senior Architect at UNStudio, takes a scalar approach to design, addressing issues of experience and sense of place in various scales and typologies. During our discussion, we dissect different aspects of city-making that threaten the quality of life such as monofunctional spaces and commoditized smart cities and how to approach designing them with optimism.
Episode #9 - What Can Design Do? with Ravi Naidoo
Exuberant. Optimistic. Romantic. Three words Ravi Naidoo, the advocate who put African design on the map, used to describe himself. Ravi's story is one of reinvention. Just as South Africa was entering a period of newly found democracy, Ravi found an impetus to change his career. Over 20 years later, he is the driving force behind Design Indaba, arguably the most influential design event in the world. The event takes place in Cape Town every year, and it's only the tip of the iceberg.