Making DESIGN AND POLITICS
The Concluding Debate

SUMMARY

INTRODUCTION

Ole Bouman
Ole Bouman, Director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, opened the evening with his view that the Design & Politics series represents something important and inspires thought and discussion regarding big statements like ‘the EU is at the crossroads,’ ‘the national government is at the crossroads,’ and ‘the disciplines of architecture, design and urbanism are at the crossroads.’ He stressed the importance of creating occasions at which these crossroads can be felt and touched and discussed with input from a diversity of backgrounds. He acknowledged that we are all trying to grapple with the present moment and stated that the topic at stake – Making Design & Politics – relates to particularly urgent issues. He concluded his remarks with the assertion that when architecture is at the crossroads it is critical to discuss the reception of architecture, the practice of architecture, and also the education of the architect.

Kristin Feireiss
Kristin Feireiss, Director of the ANCB Metropolitan Laboratory and Aedes Architecture Forum, began her remarks with an acknowledgement that it is very positive and appropriate that the concluding debate in the Design & Politics series should form part of the 5th IABR. She noted that the IABR has defined its value during the last decade and helped Rotterdam to become synonymous with contemporary design discourse around city making. She then thanked the hosts, sponsors and participants.

Áine Ryan
Áine Ryan, Programme Manager of the ANCB Metropolitan Laboratory, began her remarks with a description of ANCB and outlined its aim of understanding the contemporary city through the challenges facing cities and the new responses from city making processes and policies to these challenges. She stressed that ANCB believes that architecture can take on a role, in addition to its traditional design role, centred on communication across cultures of knowledge and taking action in making city and the built environment. She expressed ANCB’s commitment to the idea that architecture connects the dots, integrates the questions without reducing the complexities, and advances integrated responses. She then described how ANCB explores and promotes this new and expanded role for the architect: through design studios involving architecture students from around the world working through representative urban situations and scenarios manifested in Berlin, and through attempts to lead by example as cultural communicators. She referred to the Design & Politics debate series as an example of the latter and described how its serial format has allowed ANCB to explore seven different topics and exchange insights around intentions, processes, tools, roles and responsibilities and to build a corpus of fresh, integrated responses. She concluded her remarks with thanks to the hosts, sponsors and participants and announced that ANCB is currently planning a Design & Politics design studio to take place in Berlin later this year with architecture, spatial planning and cultural theory students from The Netherlands and Germany and a publication encompassing the fruits of the entire Design & Politics collaboration.

Roelof Bleker
Roelof Bleker began his remarks with a quotation from Dirk Sijmons taken from the 5th IABR to the effect that ‘we can only solve our global environmental problems if we start by solving our city problems.’ He expressed his belief that the city can be the source of solutions to global issues and related how his experience working on the reconstruction of Enschede following the 2000 fireworks factory disaster taught him that in cities extreme situations can provide the room and the energy for reinvention and public initiatives that aren’t normally possible. He stressed the need to learn from other cities around the EU and related how his visits to Berlin and the IBA Emscher Park demonstrated for him what is possible when working with urban, industrial and cultural heritage. He concluded his remarks by expressing his pleasure that the Netherlands Architectural Fund can contribute to the Design & Politics series and to hear that there are plans for the discussions to continue.

PODIUM PRESENTATIONS

Henk Ovink
Henk Ovink, The Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment and co-curator 5th IABR: Making City, began his presentation with reference to the recent unsuccessful government austerity negotiations at the Catshuis in The Hague. He explained that the estate itself represents concepts related to Design & Politics – cultural heritage and design; the performance of architecture, landscape architecture and city making; an integrated approach to water and soil; and the fact that was built by businessmen responsible for the development of large areas of The Hague. He characterised the estate as an example of the positive design of cities but its recent history as an example of a political process that broke when it comes to the challenges we face, how we respond, the way we organise ourselves, and how we formulate policies and rules and regulations. He explained that these disconnects inspired the development of the Design & Politics series and the curatorial approach to the 5th IABR. In opposition to short-term reactionary thinking in politics he stressed the importance of the planning process as a complex collaboration of actors formulating how we get successfully from today to tomorrow. And he expressed his satisfaction with the Design & Politics series in terms of creating a body of knowledge regarding how to put design on the political table and how to combine the planning process with design, society, political debate and decision making.

He then showed an image of Cornelius van Eesteren and Jacopa Mulder at work on the Amsterdam Subbos, a project touching on design and politics as a both a park and a government-sponsored job creation project. He noted that Jacopa Mulder later apologised for not wearing her white lab coat in the photograph as it was important for design to maintain its status as a science. He then described the extent of current and future urbanisation through the statistic that cities will soon be home to 75% of the global population, produce 90% of global GDP but occupy merely 3% of the global habitable land area. He described how solutions the problems facing cities demand flexibility and adaptiveness and collaborations both outside and inside existing institutions. He then outlined three critical strands of positive city making – good government, strong alliances, and design on a political level. He concluded his presentation with thanks for those responsible for the event and the series and expressed his opinion that everything discussed in the preceding debates boils down to how we educate the professionals who make city and the built environment.

Wouter Vanstiphout
Wouter Vanstiphout, Professor of Design as Politics at the TU Delft, began his presentation with a description of the 5th IABR as the largest gatherings of projects, cities, alliances, coalitions, stakeholders and designs he has ever seen. He characterised both the IABR and the Design & Politics series as contributing to the consensus that all our resources, intelligence, concentration, and inspiration must be aimed in one single laser beam of pure ambition at the city and nothing else. He explained that this implies a way of working that [a] puts the formation of coalitions and alliances in a central place, [b] intimately connects urban design with urban politics and [c] calls for an ever-adapting, ever-changing, fluid and contextual character for the urban project. He asserted that there are no single issues anymore, no dominant ideologies and no single model, just the collective knowledge that we should all work together in ever-shifting coalitions between public and private, individual and collective, corporate and non-governmental to make our cities and our world better.

He stressed the moral aspect of this political design philosophy through a statement of the mayor of Rotterdam at the opening of the IABR to the effect that ‘the question is how to organise alliances, and this is the same as how to organise trust, as society must be based on trust because distrust only creates poverty and unsafety.’ He commented on the Dutch-ness of this comment in relation to its assumption of planning, engineering and building as a means to keep diverse social factions together. He mentioned the ‘polder theory’ that explains the Dutch capacity for collective action and referred to planning and building in The Netherlands as a sort of societal behavioural therapy – ‘keep them building and they will learn to live together.’ He then expressed the opinion that in The Netherlands, this has led to the process becoming the primary product.

He then made reference to the relationship between urban unrest and planning in the context of the contribution of Design as Politics to the 5th IABR. He related an anecdote regarding planning and diversity in the context of militant black activism in New York City in the 1960s and explained the connection between of the London 2012 Olympics as a failed urban renewal project and the 2011 riots. He explained that both examples relate to a breakdown in trust and serve to support the mayor of Rotterdam’s point that trust is the primary basis for society – that distrust causes poverty and also that poverty leads to distrust. He further asserted that even projects built on trusting coalitions and alliances will never heal social problems, and perhaps even stand a better chance of exacerbating problems among those not part of the coalitions and alliances who are neither trusted nor trusting.

He stated that what he wishes to bring to Design & Politics and the 5th IABR are ideas of equality and democracy – the ‘just’ society. He challenged the 5th IABR curatorial statement which claims that ‘there is no longer one single issue that overrides all the others as there was in the 50s and 60s and that making city itself could become the one goal that binds us’ and he proposed that the ‘just’ society can provide the overriding morality that can guide us in building alliances to make city. He expressed his firm belief that democracy and equality, the re-establishment of the public sphere and the idea of the urban community as a collective bound together by values of solidarity and trust are the goals that all the projects should strive for and should internalise in their program and structure. As examples demonstrating the practicality of this ideal he cited projects and experiments by architects and politicians to develop new projects and processes that embody ideas of direct democracy – the crowd funding and political campaigning for the creation of new public spaces by ZUS and the fascinating ‘Play the City’ project in Istanbul by Ekin Tam. He expressed his optimism that design and policy models that redefine the fundamental relationship between democracy and urban planning are possible. And he then concluded his presentation with the announcement that the next year of the Design as Politics at the TU Delft will focus on the issue of democracy as a practical challenge for urban planning and architecture.

Thomas Sieverts
Thomas Sieverts, Founding Partner of S.K.A.T. Architects and Urban Planners, began his presentation with the admission that he did not participate in any of the previous discussions in the Design & Politics series but reviewed the transcripts and feels that almost every topic has been touched upon. So instead of commenting on what came before, he asserted that to achieve a minimum baseline of sustainability we must make buildings that will last 100 years, that within this period these buildings will be under the jurisdiction of least 10-20 different political rulers, and that future social, economic and physical conditions are unforeseeable. He argued that our current planning system is only geared towards problems of wealth, such as an abundance of cars or how to achieve generous contemporary spatial standards in housing, rather than towards the sort of existential crises that faced previous generations. And he stressed that our current equilibrium of prosperity will change, that the only certainty in an uncertain future is that the wealth we take for granted will not persist forever. He stated that economic growth is fundamentally unsustainable, that the domination of the developed and industrialised world will end, that serious economic shocks like those in Greece are possible anywhere, and that climate change is likely to generate migrations on an unprecedented scale. To relate these possible futures to their potential effects on the city, he cited the example of how cities have been fundamentally transformed by each successive change in the primary source of energy – from wood, to coal, to oil and gasoline. He asserted that we do not yet know how renewable energy will change our cities, though we know from history that this change will be comprehensive.

In the context of these gloomy predictions for the future of humanity in general and cities in particular – predictions which he contrasted with the relatively optimistic tone of the preceding Design & Politics debates – he then outlined a potential course of action. He began his prescription with a reminder of the many ways German cities endured the catastrophe of WWII – he described how parks became potato fields and manually-operated public water pumps sustained the population in the absence of indoor water supplies. But he warned that the memory of firsthand experience of these survival strategies is fading and that our visions of the future are now merely extensions of our current comfortable ways of life. He argued that we need to use our intelligence to consider completely different futures, futures that may involve catastrophic crises. Here he cited the example of early 20th century regulations that all apartments have a fireplace and chimney, even where central heating existed, in order to provide a reliable independent means of heating in a crisis situation. He summarised this new mindset and approach as ‘resilience’ and defined this term as the ability to maintain the identity of an individual, group or city under conditions of extreme hardship or stress. He argued that our shift to this perspective must begin with education and insisted that we must find a way to educate and inspire in students an attitude to the city and mankind that focuses on resilience without resorting to inhumane austerity. He expressed his belief that this is a difficult but fascinating task.

He then returned to the idea of the unknowable future and speculated further about how renewable energy might transform our cities. He made an analogy to the inventors of the steam engine and the automobile and how they could never have predicted the impact of their creations. He outlined the diversity of renewable energy sources and hypothesised that their uneven distribution across the world might inspire the development of new, regionally-specific city forms and patterns. He also speculated that this shift to renewable energy might, as in the past, bring economic growth to related market areas. He concluded his presentation with an expression of hope that his injection of a more gloomy but cautiously optimistic perspective can make a meaningful contribution to the Design & Politics series.

PODIUM DISCUSSION

Henk Ovink began the discussion with the observation that the presentations by Wouter Vanstiphout and Thomas Sieverts are both grounded in morality. He noted that the idea of ‘keeping the identity of the city’ from Thomas Sieverts’ presentation can also be understood as a warning against forgetting and then asked Wouter Vanstiphout to comment on how Thomas Sieverts’ remarks relate to his notion of morality. Wouter Vanstiphout stated that remembering WWII and immediate post-war years can help to build geographical bridges between the contemporary diversity of urban conditions and qualities of life in terms of wealth and developmental progress. He asserted that it is interesting to think of resilience in the context of contemporary economic and social problems and he wondered if there are analogies to the Berlin water pumps – physical or plan structures of resilience – that might have mitigated against the decline of American inner cities or Parisian suburbs. He admitted that until Thomas Sieverts mentioned the chimneys and water pumps he couldn’t imagine how physical or plan structures could contribute to resilience and asserted that he finds the concept of resilience as an aspiration for cities incredibly inspiring.

Henk Ovink then asked if the concept is too idealistic or utopian and argued that perhaps the examples of resilience were largely accidental. He asked if resilience is really a feasible way to develop the city. Wouter Vanstiphout then warned that if we just continue to see the city as an accumulation of individual projects we will not reach the point of the city as a resilient structure that might help us in times of unforeseen crises. He stressed the need to determine structures in the city that are immune to the effects of crises and offered the example of public space as the one city structure that works for everyone, as the common that we are all certain that we all need in times good and bad. He expressed his interest in efforts to define the structures of resilience at this level where they serve everyone rather than just specific individuals like in the case of the chimneys.

Henk Ovink then asked Petra Wessler, Head of Urban Development Projects for the City of Chemnitz, if she thinks and works like this. She responded with the view that resilience is the product of a few basic ideas and skills. She asserted that collective knowledge and democracy in urban processes are grounded in the basics of social engagement, respect and listening.

Henk Ovink then asked Floris Alkemade, Director Floris Alkemade Architects, if he works this way in different cities at different scales. Floris Alkemade expressed the opinion that ideas around resilience are almost absent from the debate but acknowledged that the government of Paris, through initiatives such as laws to protect farm land adjacent to the city, does demonstrate some awareness of issues such as the need for food production to support the city. He noted that many of Thomas Sieverts’ examples related to WWII and asserted that for those belonging to younger post-war generations it is difficult to imagine a catastrophe on a similar scale. He suggested that because cities are man-made we hugely overestimate our capacity to control them. He expressed the view that the essence of cities is immune to planning and suggested that perhaps we need some sort of ‘stress test’ for cities to determine the possible effects of crises.

Henk Ovink picked up on the idea for ‘stress tests’ but wondered if a disconnect exists between this proposal and the idea of allowing for the unknown. He asked if it could really be possible to predict the right resilient response to a potential future catastrophe. Thomas Sieverts asserted that accurate prediction is impossible but suggested it might be possible to test structures of resilience against historical experiences, the experiences of other contemporary cities, and against imagined future catastrophes. And he stated that while one can’t predict the future, perhaps one can define the qualities that a resilient city needs.

Henk Ovink then asked Floris Alkemade to respond to his comment from an earlier debate in the series that ‘sometimes local authorities need to create artificial conditions for more freedom to convey that experimentation can be not a wild gamble but can be an educated guess worthy of support.’ Floris Alkemade agreed with his previous statement. He asserted that the scale and complexity of cities has increased to such an extent that we need to investigate different methods and that this is where there should be room for testing and the potential for making mistakes. He suggested that this supportive atmosphere for experimentation should begin with education and stated that because everything has changed, perhaps the solutions should change too. Wouter Vanstiphout then challenged this idea that ‘everything is different this time.’ He cautioned that this is the way people always think and suggested that there are patterns to failure – correlations between urban unrest and urban policies, for example – which we can learn from. He warned that there is an anti-historical tendency to refuse to learn from the past or the experiences of other cities among planners and politicians.

Henk Ovink then asked how one can connect history to today and today to tomorrow in order to overcome this bias and learn. And he asked Petra Wessler for her comments on these issues in the context of Chemnitz. She responded that she finds it is most important to break down complex issues to their basics and keep everyday quality of life issues at the forefront. She asserted that although the answers might be complex, the fundamental everyday questions are always the same everywhere in the world – how are the simple things people need or want to do accommodated and organised in the city. And she added that the specifics and complexities come from the culture concerned. Henk Ovink then asked where resilience resides in Chemnitz and Petra Wessler explained that she tries to consider projects and initiatives that are good both for today and for the future and to implement these through the mechanism of a goal-oriented masterplan.

When Henk Ovink then asked if the discussion thus far suggests that resilience is about ‘planning the unplannable,’ Thomas Sieverts strongly asserted that this is not the case. He stated that resilience has certain fundamental structures that can be determined through experience and systems philosophy. He explained that these include redundancies in terms of scale, decentralisation of responsibility and action, and open space to accommodate a basic level of urban food production. He suggested that the art of the planner and designer lies in how to find ways that these pragmatic, or perhaps even aesthetic, characteristics can both function properly today and provide resilience for the future. As examples, he cited how a park might both provide an amenity and maintain the soil for future food production, and how water collection and storage systems might both be used day to day and be called upon in an emergency.

But Henk Ovink continued to push the question of how one can organise resilience for tomorrow when one can’t predict the future. Thomas Sieverts suggested that even if this is impossible, any action towards resilience represents an improvement on our current total lack of readiness.

Wouter Vanstiphout then asked the participants to consider a ‘stress test’ for Chemnitz: he asked what might happen if Chemnitz and the surrounding region went bankrupt and were forced to implement austerity measures that effectively eliminated local government. How long could Chemnitz survive? He stressed that this scenario that is currently playing out in some EU cities. Thomas Sieverts wished to re-phrase the question: in the absence of government, how much self-organisation is possible? Petra Wessler speculated that the city could survive for quite a while but to do so would have to call upon its human resources for innovation, to rely on favourable factors such as a wealth of park space and relatively abundant sunshine, and to develop a much simpler way of life.

Henk Ovink then brought the discussion back to practice and asked Floris Alkemade if the coalition of parties he engages with as a designer in Paris assists progress towards resilience. Floris Alkemade stated that planning in France is very political and that the tension between central government and local actors makes the process difficult. He then referred to Wouter Vanstiphout’s presentation and questioned the idea of the ‘wisdom of the masses,’ which led Wouter Vanstiphout to suggest that if the masses are not wise, confronting them is at least inevitable. Floris Alkemade then noted that this accords with his experience that the architect must act primarily as a politician. He expressed envy for van Eesteren and the autonomy and respect embodied in his white coat. Henk Ovink acknowledged the value of the white coat ‘armour’ to the architect of van Eesteren’s era but asked how difficult the requirement to act as a politician makes architectural practice in France. Floris Alkemade expressed the opinion that it is like operating in a market in that one is constantly forced to promote oneself and sell the benefits of one’s project. He added that this process requires listening and asserted that, though listening can be beneficial and add layers of complexity and refinement to projects, there is also the danger that avoiding to hurt anyone can result in middle of the road architecture. Henk Ovink asked how the middle of the road result can be avoided and Floris Alkemade insisted that one must be provocative and focus on issues that raise the debate above the lowest common denominator.

QUESTIONS AND COMMENTS FROM FRONT ROW PEERS AND THE AUDIENCE

Henk Ovink then opened the discussion up to the wider group and asked Joachim Declerck of Architecture Workroom in Brussels if his practice experience corresponds to that of Floris Alkemade. He asked if he is the one bridging the gap between design and politics, the one who might help to make room for a perspective on resilience. Joachim Declerck described his role as someone who is trying simply to ask the question in the right way. He stated that, in his opinion, the main question tonight is how to reconcile our system of wealth and the planning system that reflects this system with the memory of the existential crises of the past and the anticipation of future crises. He asserted that we must make issues such as food production less an abstract issue for organisations like the UN and more of a critical issue at the municipal government level. He stressed that design professionals and politicians need to take their heads out of the sand and turn this concern about the future into concrete proposals. Henk Ovink then pressed for suggestions for how one can translate issues that are so big and yet so unavoidable into tactile and specific processes for change. Joachim Declerck insisted that one needs to extrapolate from what is currently happening and explained that this means facing problems head-on and working towards bold straightforward solutions – for example, if the population of Istanbul is growing in a way that generates an unsustainable demand for water, the population must therefore grow in a different way. Henk Ovink then asked if it should be left to politicians to make connections between problems and people on the ground. Joachim Declerck suggested the reverse – that people on the ground often know best how to break problems down to manageable size rather than tackling them at the unfeasibly large scale favoured by politicians.

Henk Ovink then referred to Arnold Reijndorp, Professor for Social-Economic and Spatial Development of New Urban Areas at the University of Amsterdam, and his experience with the study of new cities. He asked him how resilience or other perspectives are dealt with in the case where there is no existing city to provide context or from which to learn. Arnold Reijndorp stressed the importance of learning from history and the experiences of other cities. He expressed the opinion that the discussion thus far is more about planning and politics than design and politics. In this context he thanked Thomas Sieverts for his examples that relate to concrete things and he was reminded of the Bruno Latour text about the ‘Berlin Key’ in which simple design resolves an everyday social conflict. He insisted that design is not merely a process but also the thing made. Regarding making city he argued that design is here still about making but in this case should be focused on making the conditions for city rather than just architecture. He then suggested that another of the conditions for resilience is the provision of room for conflict. He asserted that civilised conflict is fundamental to democracy and proposed that the truly ‘just’ city is one that provides an arena for conflict, for citizens to fight for their rights. And he also proposed that the ‘just’ and ‘resilient’ city must provide room for failure.

Henk Ovink then asked if this idea of ‘making room’ is also about making room in the process for the unpredictable outcome, for real accountability related to a flexible process, to allow for the resilient outcome. Thomas Sieverts suggested that perhaps another condition of resilience is independence. He related an anecdote about ordinary citizens who demonstrated resistance to the product of a Rotterdam urban renewal project and felt strongly that their independence within the process – their ability to express their views – was the most effective way to enact their mistrust.

Henk Ovink then asked Robert Kaltenbrunner of the German Federal Office on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development, if he feels mistrusted in the context of public reaction to his work. Robert Kaltenbrunner instead reflected on the discussion to this point and added the view that resilience requires an intellectual approach – that it is a way of thinking rather than a solution. He then offered some remarks regarding the topic of ‘making design and politics’ and the relationship between planning and society. He expressed his opinion that in Germany the public does not believe that spatial questions are of any importance to society, which allows politicians to ignore these questions and avoid being proactive. Equally, he expressed the belief that design and planning professionals work to preserve and increase their autonomy at the expense of their relationship to society at large. He also stated that they provide less a united front than a series of warring factions regarding questions of taste and proper urban development and he contrasted this with professionals in fields such as medicine who are able to engage effectively with politics through collective organisations. He insisted that a meaningful popular discussion of issues around the built environment is the only way to get to the bottom of the relationship between design and politics.

Petra Wessler then brought the discussion back to the idea of whether it is possible to have a city without a municipal government and she related this to the consideration of independence. She suggested that while technological systems exist to support the independence of the individual house or housing development it is interesting to consider the question of scale. What is the biggest urban unit that can stand alone? At what scale is government required to provide services and infrastructure? She suggested that public space provides the bridge between the small independent urban unit and the larger unit that requires government intervention and she cautioned that the challenge is for politics to assess which aspects of the city are best suited to independent individuals and which to the collective.

Arnold Reijndorp then suggested that the current question for government is not how to solve everything everywhere but to establish links with actors who can take things on independently. He stressed that even the smallest independent urban unit must be granted its independence by government and that this will only be granted if it makes the best sense for the whole.

Thomas Sieverts then clarified that his presentation should not be considered a plea for autarchy. He wondered if maybe ‘independent’ is the wrong term in the context of resilience and if perhaps ‘less dependent’ would be better. He asserted that distance between people and dominant collective systems is positive but stressed that people are connected to their neighbours through other networks and that they learn this way. He stated that he is not looking for every house to be able to stand alone but rather that there is a need to think about city as a collection of systems that help people to live their lives, even in situations in which they are not in the top level of society. Like Wouter Vanstiphout, he expressed his belief in the need for the ‘just’ city where one can both survive at the lowest level and have the possibility to climb.

Henk Ovink then repeated his reservations regarding the idealism of the resilient city idea and Thomas Sieverts asked the audience if they believe the stark future scenarios he described are probable or merely theoretical. When a show of hands demonstrated the former, he stressed the need for citizens to press politicians to accept and address this view. He expressed frustration with the fact that, in his opinion, no one on a political or professional level is interested in spatial questions in a meaningful way.

A participant from the audience then noted that it isn’t just the future but also contemporary scenarios that are gloomy and cited as an example the fact that globally one person in five has no access to clean drinking water. She then wondered what one should do to engage their neighbour around these questions if that neighbour is unable or unwilling to collaborate, as in the case of Los Angeles and Mexico. When Henk Ovink asked for her solution to this situation, she insisted that solutions cannot be merely a matter of design.

A second participant from the audience then related his experience working in India. He insisted that the best place to start in urban situations is with small institutions such as the existing villages that make up large urban areas. And he emphasised the need to act through community-building because it recognises and reflects the interdependence of urban populations. He then suggested that it is important to question assumptions such as the forecast that 75% of the global population will soon live in cities. He insisted that we should ask if this is desirable, if this will create conditions where people live or merely survive, and asserted that we need to question the questions rather than jump automatically to the application of design and technology to generate answers.

Petra Wessler then characterised the direction the discussion was taking as a demonstration of her thesis that there is a strong common-sense approach to what needs to be done and that this provides the best way forward. A third participant from the audience then quoted Einstein’s statement to the effect that ‘education interferes with learning’ and agreed with Petra Wessler that ordinary citizens have abundant common sense that should be harnessed.

Henk Ovink disagreed with the suggestion that common-sense has already formed around what is at stake in the process of ‘making design and politics,’ but expressed his optimism regarding the fact that the concluding debate in the series marks the beginning of an ongoing conversation. He then thanked the hosts, sponsors and participants and brought the debate to a close.




 





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