At the launch of the Museum of Architecture new web site Sustainable City, www.hallbarstad.se (only in Swedish), Mimeta participated in a panel conversation on urban development in Africa and the issue of inclusive change. Other participants were architects from South Africa such as Iain Low (professor at University of Cape Town), Fadly Isaacs (lecturer at University of Cape Town), Gita Goven (CEO of ARG Design) and Swedish architect Karin Milles (city architect Sundbyberg) the discussion quickly moved towards the issue of community involvement.
The panelists concluded that challenges are immense and they way forward are to engage multiple disciplines when developing plans for a city or neighborhood. All urban development results in change, either that people are expected to move to new houses or that neighborhoods are being transformed whereby they are populated by more people. Making these changes democratic and socially sustainable is an issue that should be on the agenda, but there is a lack of tools and examples.
On the other hand, many artists and culture organizations are engaged with their audiences, stakeholders and neighborhoods touching same issues as architects on what kind of place we live in. How could these two disciplines – architecture and culture – collaborate to support the development of sustainable cities?
Mimeta collaboration with the GoDown Arts Centre, Museum of Architecture and Culture Center in Stockholm is an example where architects, planners and artists are collaborating to shape the future of Nairobi and Stockholm. Jointly we can create examples that open possibilities to increased inclusiveness and improved democracy in urban planning.