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[urban interfaces] research group at Utrecht University

[urban interfaces] Seminar

URBAN ECOLOGIES: The [urban interfaces] graduate seminar 2019-2020

Dates: February 11 and 25, and March 10, 2020.
Time and Venue: 13.00-17.00 @ MCW Lab, Muntstraat 2A, 3512 EV Utrecht.
Credits: 3 ECTS (for RMa Studentes and PhD Candidates only, MA students who want to obtain ECTS can contact Dr Nanna Verhoeff for more information). The seminar series is open to (R)Ma students and PhD candidates.

Register: by emailing urbaninterfaces@uu.nl.

Life in our cities pose huge challenges for today as well as the (near) future. Perhaps the most urgent challenges we face deal with the implications of the present for the  (near) future, specifically for the livability and sustainability of the complex and dynamic urban ecologies that we share, shape and design. In this seminar series, we propose to address the possibility of imagining alternative futures for urban life as we know it today  as an ‘interfacing’ challenge. Conceptually, interfaces are understood to establish relations between two or more separate entities, while at the same time (re)defining them. This relationaly and (literal) productivity we see at the heart of design and media, art, and performance practices and how, as urban interfaces, they address, respond to, and co-shape the current challenges for sustainable futures for urban ecologies.

In three sessions, we read and discuss a number of seminal and programmatic texts that address issues around livable and sustainable urban ecologies, the role of critical imaginaries and design in shaping futures for our cities, and perspectives for more-than-human cities.

11 February 2020

How can design of urban interfaces and infrastructures contribute to socially and ecologically sustainable urban futures?


  • Jasanoff, Sheila. 2015. “Future Imperfect: Science, Technology, and the Imaginations of Modernity”. In: Dreamscapes of Modernity: Sociotechnical Imaginaries and the Fabrication of Power, edited by Sheila Jasanoff and Sang-Hyun Kim. pp. 1 – 33. https://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226276663.001.0001.
  • Tozer, Laura, and Nicole Klenk. 2018. “Discourses of Carbon Neutrality and Imaginaries of Urban Futures.” Energy Research & Social Science 35: 174-181. doi: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.erss.2017.10.017.
  • Raworth, Kate. 2017. Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist. Ch. 6 “Create to Regenerate: From ‘Growth Will Clean it up Again’ to Regenerative by Design.” pp. 128 – 150.

25 February 2020

How can ecology provide us with a thinking model for (re)thinking and (re)designing our cities?


  • Bendor, Roy. 2018. Interactive Media for Sustainability. London: Palgrave. Ch. 5 “Imagination.”
  • Latour, Bruno. 2015. Facing Gaia: Eight Lectures on the New Climatic Regime. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press. “Fourth Lecture: The Anthropocene and the Destruction of (the Image of) the Globe.”
  • Morton, Timothy. 2018. Being Ecological. Ch. 4 “A Brief History of Ecological Thought.”

10 March 2020

How can our cities become more sustainable – socially, ethically, and ecologically – by taking into account the diverse interests, stakes, and perspectives from other living organisms and species beside humans?


  • Gorny, Robert. 2018. “Reclaiming What Architecture Does: Toward an Ethology and Transformative Ethics of Material Arrangements.” Architectural Theory Review 22: 2: 188-209. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/13264826.2018.1481809.
  • Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthuluscene. Durham: Duke University Press. Recommended: Introduction and Chapter 1.
  • Lupton, Deborah. 2019. Data Selves: More-than-Human Perspectives. Recommended: Chapter 2 “More-than-Human Perspectives.”

Preparation and requirements:

You are expected to read the texts and write a blog post about each session that can be posted on the website of [urban interfaces]. A blog post includes reflection on the literature, a digest of the discussions we had during the sessions, and a discussion of a contemporary urban project or practice in relation to the week’s theme.

For more information, contact Dr Nanna Verhoeff – N.Verhoeff@uu.nl.