Human Cities

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CONFERENCE "Human Cities"

13.09. 11:00–17:00
Price 10€ (includes lunch)
Please pre-register early as spaces are limited! RSVP programm@disainioo.ee
Or buy ticket HERE!
Eesti Kunstiakadeemia: Põhja puiestee 7/Kotzebue 1    Show on the map

There are many causes for the growth of cities. Industry, service, higher economic efficiency, access to cultural life and entertainment, etc. Every year, millions of Europeans abandon their ritual lifestyle to try their luck in the city. The city is synonymous with a comfortable and meaningful life.

The city is a vibrant system, the health and culture of the city depend on ourselves, in addition to city planners. Unfortunately, we often meet little interest of the urban planners in meeting the needs of the population, and often also the inadequate activity of the inhabitants.

At the Conference "Human Cities," we hear stories from visionaries and practitioners about how to cope with new challenges in the environment of rapid urbanization, how to create and maintain a decent and cultural environment in cities.

The Keynote Speakers are:

Mark Kingwell (Canada)

Liam Young (UK)

Veronika Valk-Siska (Estonia)

Kate Rhodes (Australia)

Chantal Vanoeteren (Belgium)

Also, all representatives of cities participating in the Human Cities project will be talking about the experiments and pilot projects that have been carried out in their cities.

The project was attended by 12 partners from 11 European cities: Tallinn, London, Brussels, Belgrade, Cieszyn, Saint-Etienne, Graz, Helsinki, Bilbao, Ljubljana, and Milan.


Mark Kingwell  

Mark Kingwell is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Toronto and a contributing editor of Harper’s Magazine in NY; author of 18 books of political, cultural, and aesthetic theory, published many scholarly articles. Books: Unruly Voices (2012), Measure Yourself Against the Earth (2015), Fail Better: Why Baseball Matters (2017) and forthcoming The Interface (2019).

"Human Cities, Posthuman Cities"

Traditional urban philosophy has focussed on the relationship between humans and their built environments. Thus the emphasis on spaces, forms and circulatory systems are conditioned by the physical features of people. A standard injunction of such philosophy would then be to make cities ‘more human’. But what if the standard human body is no longer the baseline for consciousness within cities? In such a case, cities would offer both enabling features as well as exciting possibilities.


Liam Young

Liam Young is a co-founder of Tomorrows Thoughts Today, an urban futures think tank, exploring the local and global implications of new technologies and Unknown Fields, a nomadic research studio that travels on expeditions to chronicle these emerging conditions as they occur on the ground. Liam's narrative approach sits between documentary and fiction as he focuses on projects that aim to reveal the invisible connections and systems that make the modern world work.

"City Everywhere: Stories from the Post Anthropocene"

Our luminous technologies cast shadows that stretch across the planet. Join speculative architect Liam young and an all-seeing smart city operating system as they take a tour in a driverless taxi on a storytelling tour through the flickering screen and beyond the fog of the cloud, to explore City Everywhere, a quasi-fictional city of the near future, extrapolated from the fears and wonders of an increasingly complex present. Seen through the eyes of the machines we are now designing our cities for you will visit the autonomous infrastructures, industrial territories and sacrificial landscapes that span from the robot ports on the Siberian coastline to the massive mining excavations carved from the middle of Australia where our gadgets begin their lives.


Chantal Vanoeteren

As a town planner, Chantal Vanoeteren stimulates co-creative innovative collaborations with a focus on the reclaiming of public space. She co-founded Human Cities and recently co-organized Citizen Lights, a new civic festival in a multicultural neighbourhood in Brussels with the participation of a large range of local players.

"Public space for local life - Shared values in diversified urban neighbourhoods"

Bottom-up initiatives play an increasingly and more important part in the design of contemporary cities and public spaces. Public authorities and private companies also give more and more attention to these trends in order to enhance social cohesion. City authorities are inspired by such initiatives and launch new calls in order to stimulate local co-creative projects.


Kate Rhodes

Kate Rhodes is curator at RMIT Design Hub, a purpose-built, ten-storey home for design exhibitions, programs and research in Melbourne. Kate has worked on art, craft and design exhibitions, workshops and creative activities both in Australia and internationally. She is the creator of several craft and design audio guide projects including the Audio Design Museum, the Sound of Buildings and Melbourne Unbuilt. Kate was creative director of the State of Design Festival, and curator of its Design for Everyone program. She has held the position of curator at the Australian Centre for Design, Sydney; Craft Victoria and the National Design Centre in Melbourne and was assistant curator of photography and Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria for five years. As editor of architecture and design magazine Artichoke, Kate founded Artichoke Night School – a forum for taking design ideas in print into a live discussion. She completed a Masters of Art Curatorship at the University of Melbourne in 2002, and a Masters of Design Research in RMIT’s Faculty of Architecture and Design in 2010, where she has also taught. Kate has also been recognised as part of the Design Honours Program at the Australian Centre for Design. Kate was a founding member of the Office for Good Design, a unique curatorial group that works with private organisations and major cultural institutions to realise their interest in design, architecture and the broader creative industries.

"WORKAROUND – Women Design Action"

WORKAROUND – Women Design Action was an exhibition and online broadcast hosted at RMIT Design Hub in Melbourne, Australia, in August 2018. The exhibition engaged with a movement of Australian women focused on advocacy and activism within an expanded field of architecture. Each of the practitioners featured work towards positive change in the built environment and its surrounding cultures. Motivated by the increasing urgency of environmental, social and professional challenges, these women “work around” existing conventions, systems and structures. WORKAROUND was presented as a program of live events at a purpose-built “stage set” in the gallery that were simultaneously broadcast on the internet. Across fourteen daily episodes, fourteen practitioners each presented a critique, conversation, interview, workshop or performance that articulated their “workarounds” and reflected on their activist practice. Each of the episodes could be watched in real time as it happened from the set at RMIT Design Hub, or viewed online via the Design Hub website.


Veronika Valk-Siska

Veronika Valk-Siska is an architect who has constructed both public and private buildings, designed interiors and landscapes, won some 30 prizes at various competitions as well as published on architecture and urbanism. In 2015 she became an advisor on architecture and design at the Ministry of Culture and has helped to kick-start the Spatial Design Expert Group by the Government Office of Estonia.

"Urban life initiative: the Estonian way"

All change is catalyzed by an initiative, from single concepts such as a shelter or stage, to complicated urban developments such as our cities, formed by multiplicities of initiatives. A tenable initiative is neither solely an experiment nor an experience, but a collaborative investment. The power to initiate is a phenomenal ability that helps us bring something from nothing, and to bring it systematically.