For the past two years, TM has held an annual ideas challenge addressing the potentials and the limits of design in thinking critical questions about the politics of urban culture.
In 2014, TM organised Designing for Free Speech in New York City. This was a purposefully provocative consideration of the intensification of the privatisation and securitisation of urban space, against the politics of the Occupy Movement and similar long-standing counter-publics. The challenge asked, Can we design for free speech? What are the limits of formal design in relationship to the USA Constitution’s Second Amendment?
In 2015, TM held Designing the Urban Commons in London. This iteration followed the same method as in New York. However, it asked a question about ownership, stewardship and collective practice in relationship to the historic question of the commons, and its related verb: commoning.
The third global ideas challenge will take place in Rio de Janeiro in 2016, and sees the beginning of a high level collaboration with Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (Paris) to establish this series as an ongoing, international working group for Design Politics. More details on the 2016 challenge and accompanying events in Paris and Rio will be announced later this year.