February 25, 2017

The Quito Papers: towards the open city (Beijing)

The Quito Paperstowards the open city (Beijing)
Film Screening and Panel Discussion

Date: Saturday February 25, 2017 | 5:30pm – 9:30pm
Location: Genesis Beijing, No.8 Xinyuan South Road, Chaoyang District, Beijing


Saskia Sassen is Robert S. Lynd Professor of Sociology at Columbia University and co-chairs its Committee on Global Thought.

Richard Sennett writes about cities and labour. He is Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics and Political Science and Visiting Professor of Architecture at Cambridge University.

Zhang Yonghe is an architect, Professor of Tongji University and Peking University, Former Head of Department of Architectural Design, MIT

Shi Nan is Vice President of International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP), Vice President and Secretary General of the Urban Planning Society of China, Executive Chief Editor of City Planning Review

“City-ness is not simply density. City-ness is a set of conditions, a set of possibilities that enable people to make a history, to make a culture, to be contestatarians”
Saskia Sassen, The Quito Papers

“The Quito Papers” is a research collaboration between Theatrum Mundi, NYU and UN-Habitat, developed in the run-up to the United Nations Habitat III conference held in Quito, Ecuador in October 2016. With funding from the Kaifeng Foundation, Theatrum Mundi – based at LSE Cities and New York University – presents “The Quito Papers: towards the open city” film, directed by Dom Bagnato and Cassim Shepard, with the collaboration of filmmakers in Beijing, Karachi, Lagos, London, New York, Quito, São Paulo and Mexico City.

A global series of public screenings will be held in Paris, London, Beijing and New York to present the film and the ideas of the newly authored “Quito Papers” beyond the Habitat III conference. The screenings will be followed by discussions with panellists including the papers’ authors: Ricky Burdett (LSE Cities), Saskia Sassen (Columbia University) and Richard Sennett (New York University & LSE). Each discussion will be chaired by independent moderators and will be followed by a Q&A.

The film will be presented in Beijing, on February 25, 2017 with the support of the Kaifeng Foundation.

“What we want to do is admit a good measure of not so much disorder, but of the unexpected, the nonlinear– the serendipitous and– so on. And that’s something that we have to design into the space.”
Richard Sennett, The Quito Papers

In 1933, Le Corbusier and other members of the architectural modernist group CIAM, contemplated the problems facing cities before World War II. The result was a document called the Charter of Athens which proposed a radical restructuring of the city based on rationalist principles. Since then, the Charter has influenced urban development in cities across the world. Heavily critiqued for its inflexible and rigid planning doctrines, the “Quito Papers” has revisited what a present day manifesto for cities would be. Its ethos is to explore the qualities of public space and urban life, arguing for a more open, pliable and incremental approach to city-making, avoiding the prescriptive pitfalls of the original. The short film has been conceived to interpret and communicate the papers’ to a wider audience of citizens and city-makers.