The call for a fair, safe and healthy living environment for everyone.

In 2021, Pakhuis de Zwijger’s extensive two-year programme Designing Cities for All will commence with the support of the Creative Industry Fund NL. This programme will focus on the role of designers in shaping and creating cities for and by everyone. The key question for the 2021-2022 activity programme is:

In the context of the super-diverse city, how can designers contribute to the creation of inclusive cities for, and by everyone?

About Designing Cities for All

Designing Cities For All is a two-year research and presentation programme and is made up of various components. The programme is a combination of desk research, interviews and practical research on the one hand (supported by a total of six Fellows who will each work on the programme for three months) combined with the associated activities of dossier development; and on the other hand various forms of transfer and exchange of practical experiences and generated knowledge.

Research- & Activity programme
The bilingual (Dutch and English) activity programme Designing Cities for All aims to give insights into and provide tools for the inclusive (re)design of the city in all facets for future and current designers who are active in the fields of architecture, graphic and visual communications, industrial design, spatial design, product design, digital design, game design and much more.
Breaking it Down

When doing research on designing cities for all, a first step is to define what we are talking about exactly. That's why in January 2021, we kicked off with a series of three livecasts with speakers who introduce you to the concepts we are going to touch on the next two years and the terminology that we are going to encounter. Let's break it down for you!

Watch the Breaking it Down livecasts:
Watch our DCFA advocates explaining the impact of design (15 Feb), see them taking a deep dive in cities (22 Feb), and hear them talking about what it means to design for all (1 Mar).
More about: Designing
Design is everywhere, and everything is designed. Thus, the job title of ‘designer’ encompasses hundreds of industries, job titles, and career paths. What is design and what does it comprehend? In what way does design influence our daily life? How do we design and what does it take to be the actual person doing the design?
More about: Cities
Today in The Netherlands, Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague have officially achieved the status of ‘super-diverse city’. In these cities in particular, the awareness is growing that radical changes are necessary in order to achieve a fair, safe and healthy living environment for everyone. Key issues here are affordability, accessibility and equal opportunities. These issues revolve around (digital) products, (public) services, employment, education and healthcare, the housing market, as well as shaping the neighbourhood, village, and city in a more general sense.
More about: For All
Focusing on involving users in the actual design process and understanding and meeting the needs and wants of people is crucial. In order to arrive at systems and living environments that everyone - regardless of age, cultural background, ethnicity, capacities, religion, and gender - can relate to in a fair and equal manner, it is desirable to gain more awareness, knowledge, and expertise with inclusive design of public spaces, products, and processes. What we need is to move towards a more intersectional feminist vision for designing and shaping our daily realities.
Designing Cities for All Advocates
The Designing Cities for All activities are organised together with designers, scientists, experts, educational institutes, and other parties. Next to that, we invited six Fellows to dive into the matter of (re)designing inclusive cities. Next is an overview of experts that have been involved in this first part of the research and activities.
DCFA Fellow #1: Lyongo Juliana

For architect Lyongo Juliana (Amsterdam), architecture is not just about making locations more beautiful and in balance, it is about creating a people’s experience. In recent years, he has investigated the degree of diversity and inclusiveness of architecture in Amsterdam. Starting January 2021, Lyongo will continue his research in Pakhuis de Zwijger’s two-year programme.

Watch our Fellowship livecast:
See the introduction of our first DCFA Fellow Lyongo Juliana. This event started with the first public screening of the short documentary 'Op zoek naar inclusie in de architectuur' (Dutch, 14 min), by Lyongo Juliana and Pim Gelevert. The rest of the event will continue in English.
More about DCFA Fellow Lyongo
Lyongo Juliana fell in love with Architecture when he was a student in Architectural Engineering at TU/Eindhoven. Now, he is the director of OZ Caribbean. During his Architect in Residency at ARCAM Architecture Centre Amsterdam, he investigated the degree of diversity and inclusiveness of architecture in Amsterdam. The outcome of his research: ‘We need to pay more attention to the end-user, regardless of ethnicity.'
Watch the IdenCity livecasts:
In the IdenCity livecast series, Lyongo takes us along in his research on identity, architecture, and design. How can architecture and design facilitate your identity and – the other way around – how can your identity shape the architecture of your surroundings?
Recommend Reads & articles
Let these books and articles suggested by Lyongo guide your practice of transforming cities for the better.
Design from Inclusion

In earlier episodes of Designing Cities for All, we have seen that design is everywhere and everything around us is designed. We have also seen that there are flaws in these designs, because what we tend to do in this world is design for the middle and forget about the margins. Wouldn’t we create and build stronger structures for everyone, when we design for the people who are actually living with the failures of our designed products, spaces, and systems?

Watch the Design from Inclusion livecasts:
Watch our DCFA advocates explaining how to design for all when it comes to designing Products & Services (3 May), designing Spaces (10 May), and designing Systems (17 May).
More about: Designing from Inclusion
Not being able to read small type on a screen as you age, soap dispensers that don’t respond to black skin, health trackers that don’t include the female cycles... What goes for products and services, the same goes for places and systems. Inclusion happens by design, or not at all.
DCFA Fellow #2: Dark Matter Labs

Indy Johar and Joost Beunderman are part of the team of Dark Matter Labs, a multidisciplinary design studio developing new working methods for system change. They are focused on the great transitions our societies need to respond to the technological revolution and climate breakdown we face. Starting April 2021, in Pakhuis de Zwijger’s two-year programme Indy and Joost and will discover, design, and develop the institutional ‘dark matter’ that supports a more democratic, distributed, and sustainable future, in which everyone – regardless of ability, ethnicity, gender, age, and cultural background – can participate with equal opportunities.

Watch our Fellowship livecast:
See the introduction of our second DCFA Fellow Dark Matters Labs. For this event, Indy and Joost invited Liz Corbin of Metabolic Institute to join them in the studio.
Watch the Transitioning Together livecasts:
In the Transitioning Together livecast series, Dark Matter labs takes us along in their research on climate justice, democracy, and applying design thinking. How can we design legitimate and equitable pathways towards a climate-resilient and thriving future?
More about: Transitioning Together
The reality of the climate crisis and how it impacts our cities is fundamentally a question of social justice and democracy. A transition towards a climate just future has to be deeply inclusive – that is the big challenge for our democracies. As the risk of a destructive 3+ Degrees temperature rise keeps growing, transitioning together is about the institutional infrastructures that enable systemic change: after all, climate change is not an isolated crisis, but a symptom of a system deeply out of balance. How can we design legitimate and equitable pathways towards a climate-resilient and thriving future?
Equity x Design

From buildings and products to policies, systems, and spaces – everything around us was once designed. In past DCFA episodes, we zoomed in on the challenges we are facing of individual, institutional, and systemic inequity, and highlighted that inclusion happens by design, or not at all. We have also seen that the dominant narrative of design and design thinking is often rooted in systems of oppression and exclusion. In this DCFA series, we see everyone as a (re)designer and will host a dialogue with an interdisciplinary group of artists, researchers, activists, educators, and students to uncover these topics. How can we untangle these forms of exclusion and (re)design a more equitable world, grounded in values of inclusion, trust, liberation, and healing?

Equity X Design
Our DCFA advocates uncover how we can design for a more equitable world, grounded in values of inclusion, trust, liberation and healing, Redesigning the Mindset(27 Sept), Tools and Opportunities (4 October), and Intentional Intersectionality (11 October).
Designing Cities for All Library

So you’re interested in what you can read to become a better designer, architect, urban planner, urbanist, or neighbour living and working in a super-divers city? Here are a few recommendations from our DCFA team, and we will add recommendations periodically. For all you city designers that want to empower yourself (and others), let these reads guide your practice of transforming cities for the better. And guess what? You can order these books with a pretty neat discount* via our favourite bookstore Athenaeum!

Watch our livecasts:
The DCFA Student Book Club is a platform where students can meet peers and explore different books related to design, cities, and inclusivity. In the DCFA Movie Club, we screen relevant documentaries and movies, discuss them together with guests, and talk about strategies and design solutions for our cities for all.