November 4: Opening debate ‘We the People’
During the opening debate we will address the large scale. Masterplans are generally plans that are made outside the direct influence of the inhabitants of the cities they are for. However, the everyday life of all inhabitants is influenced and sometimes to an important extent defined by these plans. Can the Masterplan be made more democratic? In Brazil participation of the inhabitants is written into law; every city has to produce a Masterplan and the organization of participation is mandatory. But how do you organize this? How do they do this in São Paulo and what are the results? Kazuo Nakano, as director Urban Development, can inform us about just that. How does the Sao Paulo method or process compare to participation in other cities and countries, like for example the USA where Damon Rich is involved with the planning of public space in Newark as the Urban Designer for the city of Newark. Or the Netherlands, where Crimson tried to organize various participation projects in Hoogvliet Rotterdam.


November 5: ‘Bottom up is not enough’
From Newark to São Paulo, Amsterdam to Mumbai, we see the same trend of temporality, pop-up, politically-engaged, DIY architecture being presented at Biennials and architecture events. How can this generation make the transition from the avant garde to the center, from the exception to the standard, from the elite to the society? From the small scale to the large?
We have two reasons to explore this question. Our conclusions after our own involvement in such a way of working show that temporary and participatory projects often work well in the short run, but that they are vulnerable in the long run.
The second reason for being anxious to examine this topic is that the large scale, worldwide urbanization in this century is taking the shape either of self-organized slums for the poor or of top down planned cities for the rich, designed by commercial consultants using outdated modernist concepts and financed by global capital. Can we really afford to leave the massive projects of the present and the future to the blind mechanisms of commerce and finance driven development?


November 6: ‘What’s your Crisis?’
Unquestionably, the ’crisis’ is a phenomenon that the entire world has felt and described, and thus serves as a backdrop for the new generation of architects. However, it is a general phenomenon that manifests itself in very different intensities, and in waves that break over various parts of the world. Thus, the financial crisis and its impact on the American construction and design world rapidly spread, but now begins to soften. That same crisis started relatively slowly in the Netherlands, but has lasted longer and created an extremely inert construction and design landscape. In countries such as Portugal, Spain, Greece and Ireland we see that crisis and recession has a dramatic effect on citizens and architects, and actually leads to visible and tangible results within the city. Outside Europe, we see countries like Brazil and China, whose economies grew enormously during our worst years, but who are now starting to show signs of slowing down. It is possible to draw a wave representing the global economic climate and then to indicate the position of different countries on it? Such a diagram would illustrate when different groups of designers could learn from their predecessors about absorbing the effects of a crisis and / or recession.