Social Design Insights: How Can Cities Be Reimagined By Their Citizens? – Border Sessions

Social Design Insights: How Can Cities Be Reimagined By Their Citizens?

A special episode of Social Design Insights brings at Border Sessions two central figures in public art and community building, Dutch artist Jeanne van Heeswijk and Italian architect/artist/activist Lorenzo Romito. During this electric conversation van Heeswijk and Romito will expose how our cities are moulded by economic interest and are progressively erasing values as inclusiveness, communion and equity. Their respective work is focused on how citizens can imagine an alternative to their own urban environments, and bring them to life through active involvement, community ownership, and ultimately regaining the right to the city. With our host Emiliano Gandolfi, they will discuss how public art, design, and activism become key ingredients to enable communities, in van Heeswijk’s words, “to take control of their own futures”.

Social Design Insights is the leading podcast on social and humanitarian design, airing weekly with the leading thinkers and practitioners of the social design movement from the fields of architecture, engineering, planning, art and politics.


Jeanne van Heeswijk is an artist who facilitates the creation of dynamic and diversified public spaces in order to “radicalize the local”. Her long-scale community-embedded projects question art’s autonomy by combining performative actions, discussions, and other forms of organizing and pedagogy in order to enable communities to take control of their own futures.

Lorenzo Romito is a founding member of Stalker, a laboratory of urban art and research, that focuses on the relations between art, architecture, social history, and environmental studies. Over the past two decades Romito’s work has been crucial in terms of investigating the boundaries between our urban environments and citizen’s social engagement.  


Emiliano Gandolfi is an urbanist and independent curator, co-founder of Cohabitation Strategies and Director of Community Networks for the Curry Stone Foundation. His focus has been on how architecture and art can become the agency of community political engagement. With Eric Cesal, he has been co-hosting the podcast Social Design Insights. 



Thursday 14 June


11:15 - 12:15

Session type



Theater aan het Spui – Galaxy