As a closing event of the Human Cities research project the participants from 11 different cities (London, Brussels, Saint-Étienne, Milan, Bilbao, Helsinki, Tallinn, Ciesyn, Graz, Ljubljana, Belgrade) were invited to participate in the Sustainable Cities Design Conference from 17th–26th of September 2018. The project leaders of Graz are our colleagues Anke Strittmatter and Erika Thümmel.

The Sustainable Cities Conference was designed to serve as a think tank of the Seoul Design Cloud for the two days and it provided the participants from all over the world with the rare opportunity to gain deeper insight into the issues that modern cities face today. They shared the experiences they have accumulated in working hard to solve these problems in the conference “Designing Cities for Better Lives”. Amongst the most interesting insights during the conference were the peculiar viewpoints of people, designers as well as architects and activists from China and Japan. Interestingly, some patterns there can be witnessed in Graz as well. In order to change the current circumstances of the cities we live in now and realize the imaginaries of the future cities we want to live in, design should embrace the current cities as well as all the challenges they pose.

As cities are facing major urban and technological transformations, European citizens are taking matters of their cities into their own hands, collaborating and acting for their renewal. Now, as a follow-up of this conference and the research projects, there is a new report being published which elaborates on the following topics: Which kind of tools are set up to think and produce the public space together? How to make these bottom-up initiatives sustainable? Challenging the City scale 2014-2018 / Investigation is a collaborative research work of the Human Cities project, made from more than 80 case studies collected by the partners in Europe. They report about actions led by creative citizens to transform their urban environment. Researchers from Cité du design Saint-Étienne, the Department of Design of Politecnico di Milano and Urban Planning Institute of The Republic of Slovenia Ljubljana provide a state of the art of these initiatives. Analysing these multiple examples, they investigate how urban dwellers participate, get organized and collaborate with creative professionals to prototype more liveable cities.

The final publication of the Human Cities Project can be read and downloaded here: Human Cities – Challenging the City Scale

Text: Stefanie Egger, Erika Thümmel; Photography: Stefanie Egger, Erika Thümmel, Seoul Design Cloud