So… You want to know what to read to become a better designer, urban planner, architect and social activist, who puts inclusion at the forefront of their work? Here are a few recommendations from our Designing Cities For All (DCFA) team, and we will add new 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 local bookstore Athenaeum!

All of these books relate to the new DCFA series ‘Decolonising x Design’. You can join us on the 19th of September for the kickoff of this series. Sign up here!


Decolonizing Design is a guidebook to the institutional transformation of design theory and practice by restoring the long-excluded cultures of Indigenous, Black, and People of Colour communities. From the excesses of world expositions to myths of better living through technology, modernist design, in its European-based guises, has excluded and oppressed the very people whose lands and lives it reshaped. This book first asks how modernist design has encompassed and advanced the genocidal project of colonisation—then shows how design might address these harms by recentering its theory and practice in global Indigenous cultures and histories.


Nature, money, work, care, food, energy, and lives: these are the seven things that have made our world and will shape its future. In making these things cheap, modern commerce has transformed, governed, and devastated Earth. In A History of the World in Seven Cheap Things , Raj Patel and Jason W. Moore present a new approach to analysing today’s planetary emergencies. Bringing the latest ecological research together with histories of colonialism, indigenous struggles, revolts by enslaved people, and other rebellions and uprisings, Patel and Moore demonstrate that throughout history, crises have always prompted fresh strategies to make the world cheap and safe for capitalism. At a time of crisis in all seven cheap things, innovative and systemic thinking is urgently required.


The yearly 6 ISLANDS zine archives the experiences of people from the ABCSSS islands and related communities. The zine is a grassroots way of publishing that gives space to voices that may not fit into dominant narratives about people from ABCSSS communities. 6 ISLANDS zine is an initiative born out of the need to talk about the position of the 6 islands — Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao, Saba, St. Eustatius, and St. Maarten – within the “Kingdom of the Netherlands”. From an intersectional approach, they explore the experiences of Afro descendants and Indigenous Peoples currently part of the ABCSSS Community. This issue of 6 ISLANDS zine explores different decolonial practices that live within Caribbean communities.


In the collection The Journey of Belonging (EN) / In Haar Voetspoor (NL) the Indonesian writer and visual artist Lala Bohang and the Dutch-Indonesian writer and historian Lara Nuberg look for what binds them together. This book, a “herstory” between time and space, is a collection of stories, letters, photos, drawings, and questions. With these, Bohang and Nurberg explore how the history of Dutch colonialism in Indonesia has impacted their identities in the present. Are their lives inextricably linked through 350 years of the Dutch presence in the Indonesian archipelago? Or has colonial history barely left its mark on the lives of these two young women?

*The first two books in this list can be ordered at Athenaeum Bookstore by emailing [email protected] . With code DCFA2122 you get a 10% discount on non-Dutch publications. Please mention the code when ordering your books.