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Human Cities at Saint-Etienne Biennale

The Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale returns to the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne 2017 with a workshop, conference and exhibition from March 9 to April 9.

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Text by Nadine Botha

Promoting a more sustainable, creative and interdisciplinary approach to urban design and public spaces, the Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale initiative was founded in 2014. Since its launch at the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Etienne in 2015, it has expanded into cities across Europe, including London, Milan, Belgrade, Brussels, Cieszyn, Helsinki, Tallin, Bilbao, Ljubljana and Graz.

Returning to the Saint-Etienne Biennale in 2017 is a milestone, offering an opportunity to reflect on projects such as the Maker Mile in London, the Grand Creative Park in Kragujevac, and Badeau by Pool is Cool in Brussels. These are just some of the projects that will be showcased on the Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale exhibition from March 9 to April 9, which “questions the scales and the co-creation of the city”. As host city, Saint-Etienne will also highlight its own creative laboratory, where stakeholders and community members collaborate on pragmatic methodologies to change their urban environment.

There is also the opportunity to engage and experience the Saint-Etienne projects directly through a workshop on March 13. The conference on March 14 will reflect on these and projects in other Human Cities locations. Keynote speakers include Maurizo Carta, urbanist, architect, and president of the Polytechnic School of the Università degli Studi di Palermo; and Anya Sirota, designer, co-founder of Akoaki design studio in Detroit, and assistant professor at the University of Michigan.

Now in its 10th edition, over 200 000 visitors are expected for the Biennale Internationale Design Saint-Étienne, which in 2017 is themed “Working Promise, Shifting work paradigms”. Exploring the changing nature of work in the 21st century, from automation, digital labour and even the end of work, to work’s invasion of the domestic space and class struggle, other biennale highlights include the Out of Site exhibition by Akoaki,  the Best of Trade exhibition of working tools curated by Christophe Marchand, and the Player Piano exhibition based on the Kurt Vonnegut novel about a work-free future by Space Caviar.

The Grand Creative Park in Kragujevac. Photo: Human Cities
The Grand Creative Park in Kragujevac. Photo: Human Cities
Out of Site by the Detroit Culture Council. Photo: Akoaki
Out of Site by the Detroit Culture Council. Photo: Akoaki
The Mothership at Out of Site, 2014, by Anya Sirota and Jean Louis Farges. Photo: Akoaki
The Mothership at Out of Site, 2014, by Anya Sirota and Jean Louis Farges. Photo: Akoaki
French manufacturer of street furniture Guyon for the Best-of Tools exhibition by Christophe Marchand. Photo: Guyon
French manufacturer of street furniture Guyon for the Best-of Tools exhibition by Christophe Marchand. Photo: Guyon
Human Cities _Challenging the City Scale/Saint-Etienne 2017 Workshop Human Cities-Ici bientôt at Saint- Etienne in June 2016. Photo: Citedudesign
Human Cities _Challenging the City Scale/Saint-Etienne 2017 Workshop Human Cities-Ici bientôt at Saint- Etienne in June 2016. Photo: Citedudesign

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