May 25, 2016

Designing Politics working group

Floating Agora by Raquel De Anda / Gan Golan / Ron Morrison for Designing for Free SpeechParticipants discussing at Villa Vassilieff

Date: Wednesday 25th May 2016
Time: 10am – 5.30pm
Venue: Villa Vassilieff, Montparnasse, Paris

For the last two years TM has set a yearly challenge for new design thinking that addresses a political issue specific to an annually changing host city. Following the suppression of the Occupy Movement, we asked in New York in 2014 whether urban design interventions can stimulate the use of the First Amendment protecting free speech. In the context of the increasing privatisation of public space, we called in London in 2015 for the design of systems and situations through which new urban commons could be built. This year in Rio, with the Olympics looking as well as attempts to pacify and cleanse the favelas, we are asking whether an aesthetics of respect can be designed, and what the implications are for the politics of the city.

As we build a fascinating archive of site-specific proposals, we are also convening an ongoing working group to think more widely about the politics of design, and designing for politics, with political scientists, sociologists, activists and architects. For this first meeting we heard provocations on design for commoning from winners of the 2015 competition, introduced and debated the brief for the 2016 Rio challenge, and asked participants the question “what are the limits of design in addressing the political and when has design not been enough?”

A publication of responses from this workshop will be published alongside the launch of the exhibition of the 2016 design challenge Designing Respect at the  Museum of Tomorrow Rio de Janeiro on Tuesday 4th October.


Adam Greenfield
Founder, Urbanscale; Tutor, Bartlett MArch Cluster “Architectures of Participation”

Adam Kaasa
Director, Theatrum Mundi; Research Fellow, RCA

Adriana Cobo Corey
PhD Candidate, Architecture and Spatial Design, CSM

Andy Belfield
Architect, Public Works Group;Organiser, Assembly SE8

Cécile Altaber
Vice President, Plateau Urbain; Urbanist

Claudio Sopranzetti
Research Associate, Oxford Future of Cities Centre; Postdoctoral Fellow, All Souls Oxford

Hillary Angelo
Assistant Professor of Sociology, UC Santa Cruz; Visiting Scholar, LSE Cities Programme

John Bingham-Hall
Researcher, Theatrum Mundi; Critical Context Tutor, CSM BA Graphic Communication

Ludovica Rogers
Activist, Debt Resistance UK; Architect

Michael Keith
Director, Oxford University Centre on Migration, Policy and Society

Olivier Bouin
Director, Collège d’études mondiales, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme

Orsalia Dimitriou
Co-director, Studio Syn; Design Tutor, CSM BA Architecture

Pushpa Arabindoo
Lecturer, UCL Geography; Co-director, UCL Urban Laboratory

Richard Sennett
Professor of Sociology, LSE & NYU; Global Cities Co-Chair, FMSH

Rodrigo Firmino
Professor, PUCPR Urban Management; Senior Research Associate, UCL Urban Lab

Sarah Bastide
Architect; Founder, Encore Heureux

Tom Dobson
Architect, Public Works Group; Organiser, Loughborough Farm

Virginie Bobin
Head of Programmes, Villa Vassilieff; Writer

Zheng Bo 
Assistant Professor, City University of Hong Kong; Artist in Residence, Villa Vassilieff

This forms part of the Designing Politics theme