We Own the City the publication is kicking off with a grand book launch in Amsterdam May 27th at Pakhuis de Zwijger, before launches in Hong Kong, New York City, Moscow and Taipei. Details and program for Amsterdam's launch here!

WeOwn Smell it 2

We Own the City emerged as a project in 2011, portraying the results of a research initiative investigating bottom-up initiatives and their relationships with urban development history in Amsterdam. Gaining momentum, in 2013 the project took the form of a global research design that would culminate in the publication of We Own the City May 2014.

A book with research of this scope and geographical scale calls for a grand international book launch. The evening will focus on how different urban development actors are and can enable more people-driven initiatives here in Amsterdam. During the event, there will be stories from New York City, Hong Kong and Amsterdam; interviews with architects from UNStudio, MVRDV and NEXT Architects; and a closing reaction and discussion with Zef Hemel, the Director of Amsterdam’s Urban Planning Department. This book-launch will kick things off before launching in Hong Kong, New York City, Moscow and Taipei. Are you going to be there? We hope so. Find details below and reserve your place at Pakhuis de Zwijger here.

What is this book about? In brief:

We Own the City is an investigation of 16 different examples of community practice in urban developments, located in five cities in the global north: Amsterdam, Hong Kong, Moscow, New York and Taipei. The cities selected are environments where traditional top-down urbanism has heavily affected development in the past. In these cities one can find networks of traditional top-down organizations and agents that are transitioning towards more bottom-up approaches – each in different ways and with different levels of involvement.

We Own The City analyses the implementation process of what are generally called “bottom-up” initiatives: urban redevelopment projects where the local community represents the implementing actor, the decision maker, or the target of the project. The final scope of this research is to define the innovative strategies undertaken by top-down actors in order to offer insight and advice further enabling future bottom-up approaches.


During the book launch we will engage in a conversation about how to enable community practices in architecture and planning. Different speakers and professionals will provide their insights and advise about this issue based on their own experience and their own understanding of the subject. As we explore a range of experiences from featured cities and architects, the mission of the evening in Amsterdam is to provide a set of suggestions applicable to the local Municipal Government.


In the first section, we will listen to the local researchers, which will briefly tell us HOW different institutional players enabled people-driven practices in Amsterdam, Hong Kong and New York. In the second section, we will ask architects how they approach this issue in their working practices. Zef Hemel, Director of the Urban Planning Department, City of Amsterdam, will react to the conversation, while the last part of the evening is dedicated to debating and feedback.


20:00 Opening and book introduction by moderator Tracy Metz

Stories from Hong Kong, New York City and Amsterdam

20:15 Franceca Miazzo (CITIES) presentation of the Amsterdam findings
20: 25 Tris Kee (Community Project Workshop) presentation of Hong Kong findings
20:35 Susan Chin (Design Trust for Public Space) presentation of the New York findings

Interviews with Architects
20:50 Carolyn Bos (Co-Founder, Principal Urban Planner – UNStudio) pitch of Holiday Home
21:00 Jeroen Zuidgeest (Projectmanager / Architect at MVRDV) pitch of Vertical Village
21:10 Bart Reuser (Co-Founder NEXT Architects) pitch of Seoulutions

Closing Reaction from Amsterdam Municipality and open conversation
With Zef Hemel (Dept. Director, Urban Planning Department, City of Amsterdam) and Francesca Miazzo (CITIES)

*Reserve your place at Pakhuis de Zwijger here.

Created on 10 April 2014

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