From September 21-24, 2014, Faculty of Architecture Dean Pongsak Vadhanasindhu and INDA Director Dr. Preechaya Sittipunt will lead the Thai delegation to a symposium titled “Making Cities: Innovation, Incubation and Inclusion” at Parsons The New School for Design. As in prior symposia of the Design and Development program organized by Chulalongkorn University, University of Buenos Aires and The New School, this event will use a multidisciplinary approach to focus on three cities — Bangkok, Buenos Aires and New York. This symposium will extend beyond traditional academic disciplines and encourage participants to build a common language through which to work in the intersection of design, social science and history.
“Making Cities: Innovation, Incubation and Inclusion” is part of a three year long research project between Chulalongkorn University (Bangkok), University of Buenos Aires and the New School. Prior meetings have been held at Chulalongkorn University, the 6th World Urban Forum in Naples, Facultad de Arquitectura Diseño y Urbanismo Universidad de Buenos Aires and the 7th World Urban Forum in Medellin.
The September 2014 symposium will explore three central themes in order to better understand the complex dynamics of the maker economy within cities and the areas of convergence between design and the social sciences in each of the three cities. These three themes have emerged following earlier seminars among faculty and students from the three universities and fit within the broader framework of understanding and anticipating the urban future in these three cities.
While the previous seminar in Buenos Aires in May 2013 focused heavily on exclusion, including a field visit to Villa 21-24, the September 2014 event is seeking to extend our study of exclusion/inclusion to the productive side of the economy and how emerging patterns are embodied in the physical forms of cities. The three themes are:
Innovation: What are the areas of innovation in the urban economy? What are the new forms of goods and services which are being produced in cities and by whom? What are the markets for these goods and services? How are these new products distributed in the city? Where are they produced? Who benefits from innovation in cities? Do the poor benefit or does innovation only help educated segments of the labor force?
Incubation: Who are the actors/agents in the emerging new urban economy? Who supports and finances innovation? The government? The private sector? How do new products and services develop? What are the historical experiences? What are the outcomes?
Inclusion: How does innovation affect different social classes in cities? Are there examples of innovation helping the poor? What is the relationship between innovation and inclusion, between innovation and social justice?
The symposium is a four day event. The first day is dedicated to a field visit. On the second day, a conference is scheduled. A student and faculty workshop is planned for day three. And, on day four, a Deans Panel and an internal working meeting will occur.
Text: Brian McGrath, Dean, School of Constructed Environments, Parsons The New School for Design