Cornell University

Cornell University

Ithaca, NY

Design Tactics and the Informalized City

Fri, Apr 13 '12 - Sat, Apr 14 '12
Ithaca, NY, US



Informality, which was first categorized and described in the 1970s, is now pervasive — across cities, in the places we live, work, and move through the everyday. For many, the informal is no longer a discrete sector appended to the workings of the "formal" city, but an integral effect of the structuring of cities and landscapes by contemporary economic, political, and technological change. Self-built architectures and urban agglomerations, ambivalent landscapes, nomadic and temporal spatial manifestations of informalization are situationally specific, but globally ubiquitous. Design Tactics and the Informalized City brings a discussion of this reality to disciplines that work on the city in material and spatial terms: architecture, urban design, landscape architecture, engineering, media and product design. Charged with shaping and managing living environments, usually on behalf of instituted powers, these disciplines confront significant questions in encountering the informalized city. Working practices and ways of representing urban phenomena, the appropriate medium and matter of design, even conceptions of agency, constituency and purpose, all come to the fore as matters for critical and creative inquiry. The conference brings together international practitioners from diverse design fields to explore these questions through discussions of recent, compelling work.

Lily Chi, Associate Professor
Department of Architecture, Cornell University

Jeremy Foster, Assistant Professor
Department of Landscape Architecture, Cornell University

Neema Kudva, Associate Professor
Department of City & Regional Planning, Cornell University

Caroline O'Donnell, Richard Meier Assistant Professor
Department of Architecture, Cornell University

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4:30 p.m Welcome and registration

5:00 p.m. Introductions

5:30 p.m. KEYNOTE
Alfredo Brillembourg | Urban-Think Tank, ETH
Last Round Urban Ecology

6:15 p.m. KEYNOTE
Teddy Cruz | Estudio Teddy Cruz, University of California – San Diego
Creative Acts of Citizenship: The Informal as Practice

7:00 p.m. Discussion

7:30 p.m. RECEPTION -- Milstein dome


8:30 a.m. Registration and coffee

8:45 a.m. Introductions

Moderated by Caroline O’Donnell, Richard Meier Assistant Professor of Architecture, Department of Architecture, Cornell University
What potential material or programmatic logic of the existing city is encountered/constructed through the project? How are “problems” or “opportunities” defined, identified, mapped? What methods of observation, analysis, representation, and definition/action were challenged? How must the designer’s traditional tools of recognition, analysis, and understanding change, dilate or adapt?

9:00 a.m.

Maurice Mitchell | London Metropolitan University Dept. of Architecture and Spatial Design
Architect as Detective, Narrator and Craftsperson

Sabine Müller | SMAQ
Mini and Many – Drawing Actions that Shape the City

Sarah Williams | Columbia University Spatial Information Design Lab
Data Sequence: Communicating Science, Society, and Policy of Places by Exposing the Invisible

10:15 a.m. Discussion

11:00 a.m. BREAK

Moderated by Milton S.F. Curry, Associate Dean & Associate Professor of Architecture
University of Michigan Taubman College of Architecture and Urban Planning

How is the “site” of work defined? What broader systemic relations does the project/prototype aim at? How are existing organizations or structures appropriated, redirected, reconfigured? How does the project (re)define the means and methods of design allowing for the assemblage of individual and/or institutional actors involved?

11:15 a.m.

Priti Parikh | Development Vision 2o2o, Imperial College Business School
Slum Networking

Richard Dobson | Asiye eTafuleni, Warwick Junction Urban Renewal Project
Pragmatism in Practice

Marjetica Potrč | University of Fine Arts Hamburg
A Dry Toilet in Caracas and a Community Garden in Amsterdam: A Vision of the Future City and the Artist as Mediator

12:30 p.m. Discussion

1:00 p.m. LUNCH BREAK

2:00 p.m. KEYNOTE
Neil Gershenfeld | MIT Center for Bits and Atoms
Bits and Atoms

3:00 p.m. BREAK


Moderated by Jeremy Foster, Assistant Professor, Department of Landscape Architecture, Cornell University
How does the design work define its role and operation with respect to the dynamics of the contemporary city? How does the project address or accommodate urban contingencies, practices, and processes, both known and unknowable? How does it provide a framework or vehicle for adaptation, transformation, mutation, appropriation? How has it been transformed by its context, or developed additional layers of meaning and functionality?

3:15 p.m.

Rupali Gupte | Kamla Raheja Vidyanidhi Institute for Architecture
Provisional Practice

Yoshiharu Tsukamoto | Atelier Bow Wow, Tokyo Institute of Technology
Spatial Practice of Public Space

Alessandro Petti | Decolonizing Architecture Art Residency, Al-Quds/Bard College Jerusalem
The Camp as Political Project

4:30 p.m. Discussion

5:15 p.m. BREAK

Rahul Mehrotra | Harvard GSD Department of Urban Planning and Design
Kinetic City

Moderated by Neema Kudva, Associate Professor, Department of City & Regional Planning, Cornell University

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