By Kara de los Reyes
In this accelerating world of uncertain outcomes from climate change, how do we pause and give space to what can emerge - with an awareness of inherent inequalities in our design approach? During our 6th Conversation Lab last 30th June, we had the honour of welcoming Samantha Suppiah to speak for a few minutes about her experience in being a City Changer focused in Southeast Asia.
Having experienced working in both “Global North” and “Global South” initiatives and projects, Sam shed light on the aspects of POWER and how understanding this begins to unfurl the influence of regenerative or sustainable solutions. Many of us are blind to centuries-old effects of colonisation and how these are deeply present in our psyche, hidden from view but playing out in our interventions on places and spaces.
The ACD was recently made a Partner of the UN Habitat World Urban Campaign, and part of our aims as an organisation is to shape cities, developing solutions for implementing the New Urban Agenda through achieving the sustainable development goals. The conversation flowed from pledging some small, tangible actions that contributed to the wider aim of planetary wellbeing, to the question of how can we collaboratively create a regenerative future, if there is no space left for emergence?
The conversation provoked questions around who we are pushing out to the margins: whether it is people, wildlife, or even ideas - such as the need to recognise wealth and privilege built on unsteady foundations of exploitation. How can we take our place as co-guardians or co-stewards, and understand our role in creation of interventions? Or - is it about stepping aside (removing the invisible cap of ‘hegemonic power’) and allowing ideas to come through? How do we approach design such that we are able to seek diverse voices, for a more resilient future?
We left the conversation feeling charged, open-eyed, and open-hearted. We are really grateful to all those who attended and contributed their energy and insights.
Please join us in the next Conversation Lab No. 7 on the 28th of July which will be themed around “Embedding feminine values of equality and inclusivity in participatory design”. Click here for more information
In the meantime, check out these relevant links from Lab no.6:
Thank you to those who attended and for your donations:
Joel de Mowbray