The Architecture of Citizenship: Design, Dialogue and Democracy
Date: 30 January 2017
Time: 6.30 - 8.30pm
Venue: The Building Centre
Speakers: Adam Kaasa, Director, Theatrum Mundi, LSE Cities
Maria S. Giudici, Lecturer, Royal College of Art and the Architectural Association
Elsie Owusu OBE, principal, Elsie Owusu Architects
Asif Khan, director, Asif Khan
This talk is organised in partnership with The Built Environment Trust.
Does citizenship have physicality and to what extent do physical spaces enable active citizenship? How does urban design relate to democracy? How do designed spaces inform negotiations between the public and centres of political power? What role does the design profession play in fostering civic participation?
The first talk in MoA’s “The Architecture of Citizenship” events season aims to understand what role the built environment plays in mediating the relationship between citizens and the state, setting the stage for further discussions on the physicality of citizenship, that will take place over the coming year.
“Design, Dialogue and Democracy” starts from the premise that urban design is necessarily political, as are the planning decisions that shape the built environment on different scales, from the home to the city. As such, different types of spaces are particularly apt at empowering citizens to make their sentiments public and actively participate in society. From movements like Occupy Wall Street, protests in Tahrir Square or the migrant crisis in Calais, the design of space still remains - implicitly or explicitly - a central protagonist in political processes and creation of a new social order.
Moving from theory to practice, the aim of this talk is to offer the necessary theoretical framework and terminology for discussing the relationship between citizenship and the built environment. Starting from the evolving connections between public space and public sphere, this talk will tackle the politics of architecture, the symbolic and strategic value of public space, as well as the idea of citizenship as process rather than status, to question whether specific design decisions can help shape a more active citizenship and a more inclusive society.