In 2021, Pakhuis de Zwijger’s extensive two-year activity programme Designing Cities For All (DCFA) commenced with the support of the Creative Industries Fund NL. In the context of the super-diverse city, how can designers contribute to the creation of inclusive cities for, and by everyone? ‘Cities of Belonging’, as we call them, cities in which everyone feels and is allowed to feel at home. Not only in a spatial sense but also concerning the digital domain and relating to the design of our public systems, services, and products. 

Next to many designers, scientists, experts, educational institutions, and other involved partners, we will dive into the matter of (re)designing inclusive cities together with a total of six Fellows that we invited to our Fellowship programme. This season, Indy Johar and Joost Beunderman of London-based Dark Matter Labs take on that task. Indy and Joost handpicked a must-read book for students and young designers(-to-be): The Precipice by Toby Ord. Meet peers and gain wisdom – read along with our book club to discover a more complete understanding of the world!

About the book: The Precipice
Toby Ord is a Senior Research Fellow in Philosophy at Oxford University’s Future of Humanity Institute. His research revolves around the risks that threaten human extinction or the permanent collapse of civilisation, and on how to safeguard humanity through these dangers, which he considers to be among the most pressing and neglected issues we face. In The Precipice: Existential Risk and the Future of Humanity, Toby explores the science behind the risks like climate change, pandemics, unaligned artificial intelligence and puts them in the context of the greater story of humanity. Luckily, he not only discusses the risks and problems but also points the way forward to the actions and strategies we can take today to safeguard humanity’s future. “Though this is a dark time, the book is ultimately hopeful—pointing the way to an extremely bright future that our actions can secure”, so says Toby.

About the Fellows: Dark Matter Labs
Dark Matter Labs is a multidisciplinary strategic discovery, design, and development lab, working to transition society in response to the technological revolution and climate breakdown. In their Fellowship, Indy and Joost will explore the reality of the climate crisis and question whether the way climate change impacts cities is a matter of social justice and democracy. As the risk of a destructive 3+ Degrees temperature rise keeps growing, transitioning together is about the institutional infrastructures that enable systemic change: after all, climate change is not an isolated crisis, but a symptom of a system deeply out of balance. How do we transition towards a climate-just future for all?

Humanity’s potential is worth preserving, Toby Ord argues, not because we are so great now but because of the possibility, however small, that we are a bridge to something far greater.

Apply for the DCFA Student Book Club
Join us for our Student Book Club! We will select a group of 25 young designers(-to-be)/students who are working towards making cities more fair and inclusive. Each one of you will be gifted a hardcopy edition of The Precipice for you to keep (we can provide an e-book or audiobook edition for blind and partially sighted students, please let us know in your application).

Open for entries → Wednesday, May 26
Submissions Deadline → Thursday, July 1

Sign up here or use the typeform above.

We will gather (online via Zoom) on Thursday, July 8 from 6.30-8.00 PM (CET) for an introduction with Indy & Joost from Dark Matter Labs. In August we will have our second meeting to review and discuss the book together! 

In case you want to learn more about Designing Cities for All, you can take a look in our online Research File. Also, take a look at this Livecast and listen to Indy & Joost from Dark Matter Labs talk about what ‘designing for all’ means to them.

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