How can design leverage social-innovation to orient city-making processes towards resilient, sustainable and collaborative cities? This question has been the general background on which the DxCM (Design for Collaborative Cities) Conference was built with a long preparation work [th a long preparation work [DxCC presentation].
The Conference itself has been held the 28th and 29th October 2018, in Shanghai, at the Tongji University, being organised by the College of Design and Innovation Tongji University and DESIS Network. DxCC was also a pre-Cumulus conference and had, as a content partner, SIX, Social Innovation Exchange. Most importantly, it has been the first big event in this roadmap of DESIS Thematic Cluster on Collaborative Cities (TCxCC) (other similar events, developing the same research thread, will follow).
In short words it can be said that the Conference discussions moved from the initial question (that one quoted at the beginning of these notes) to the following emerging one: how can design (and design schools) help to bridge the bottom-up city making processes with the top-down ones. That is, how can design (and design schools) help to connect the grassroots initiatives (which are fundamental in every possible collaborative city development) with policies aiming at supporting them (i.e. the policies which are necessary to transform the grassroots experimentations in lasting collaborative socio-technical systems).
This new, more focused question appeared in the conference conversations triggered by a number of invited speakers: Lou Yongqi, Tongji, Ezio Manzini, DESIS Network, Ni Minqing, Tongji (who also have been the conference co-organizers) and: John Thackara, Door of Perception; Louise Pulford, Social Innovation Exchange; Francois Jegou, SDS; So Jung Rim, Social Innovation Exchange; Albert Fuster, Elisava; Davide Fassi, Politecnico di Milano; Adam Thorpe, Central Saint Martin; Fang Zhong, Tsinghua; Arzu Mistry, Srishti; Carla Cipolla, DESIS Network and UFRJ; Lorenzo Imbesi, Cumulus and Università La Sapienza, Rome.
More in details, the conference has been introduced by three keynote speeches presenting, each one of them, three possible and desirable scenarios:
– the regenerative city;
– the socially innovative city and
– the collaborative city.
These scenarios have been followed by some city stories, presenting what is going on in four real cities (Seoul, Barcelona, Milano, Shanghai) where the ideas of collaboration are having the main role in shaping both the bottom-up initiatives and in top-down policies.
Given this wide and rich background, three main research topics, coming from the Thematic Cluster Collaborative Cities, have been presented:
– Design for social cohesion;
– Design for commons regeneration and
– Design for urban infrastructure.
Finally, the discussion has moved to specific design strategies and tools, proposing different examples (by Tongji; Srishti; and Elisava) and points of view (by DESIS Network and Cumulus Association). Each section of the conference has been followed by round tables and debates open to the whole audience. It is from this rich debate that the one previously indicated as “the emerging question” clearly appeared, proposing itself as the core of the next DxCC Conference.
Click the links below for the (unedited) videos of the speeches (when available).
Views on collaborative cities:
• Socially innovative city. Louise Pulford, Social Innovation Exchange
Design research topics: presentations and examples:
Design strategies and tools/1: Design Schools
Design strategies and tools/2: Networks