What does the city of the future look like?

Last Dutch Design Week (DDW), we joined forces with our partners to organise DDW talks, a new curated talks programme. Together with key figures from the field of design and beyond, we explored a diversity of design disciplines, discussed current affairs, reflected on the past and looked towards the future. On Sunday 20 October, we joined forces with Rijksbouwmeester Floris Alkemade and organised DDW talks: Architecture & Public Space.


DDW talks: Architecture & Public Space explored new design concepts for the future of building, urban transformation and public space. The talks day was moderated by Chief Government Architect, Floris Alkemade. Together with six other guests, he tried to find an answer to how our public spaces should be shaped to meet the social and technological changes of today and the future. Media partner of the day, DesignWanted, was represented by their Head of Content Fabio Colturri.


'In the upcoming years there are plenty of opportunities and reasons to adapt the public, shared space to radically changing social and technological conditions.' - Floris Alkemade

After an introduction on the city of the future by Floris Alkemade, Laurens van den Acker, former DDW ambassador and Senior Vice President Corporate Design Renault kicked off with a talk about the important role of electric autonomous vehicles in cities. Loes van der Wees, prosecutor of the Nationaal Programma Rotterdam-Zuid, shared her view on crime and safety in the city of the future. Following Loes, Architect Francesca Cesa Bianchi spoke on behalf of DDW19 ambassador Stefano Boeri Architetti. In her talk, she explained the importance of green cities in the fight against climate change. Subsequently, architect Carolien Ligtenberg shared her findings on experimenting with the city of the future. Coren Sharples, co-founder of SHoP Architects New York, concluded the talks day with her presentation about the value of a bottom-up approach in order to create a shared vision for a community.

Chief Government Architect - Floris Alkemade

As Chief Government Architect, Floris Alkemade is leading when it comes to the architectural quality of government buildings. Doing so, he has developed a vision on major spatial themes. In his talk, Floris explained we carry a large responsibility when it comes to spatial design, as it determines how people live together. Thinking about the city of the future therefore not only concerns a city's physical design, but the underlying bigger question is: what kind of society do we want to create?

Renault - Laurens van den Acker


As Senior Vice President Corporate Design at Groupe Renault, Laurens van den Acker shared his vision on the future of mobility in relation to shared and public spaces. As one of the ambassadors of DDW 2018, he envisioned a world in which 60 to 70 percent of the population is living in cities and where urbanisation is developing rapidly. In these cities, the distinction between public and personal transport will blur and Laurens foresees a prominent role for autonomous, electric vehicles.

NPRZ - Loes van der Wees

Loes van der Wees works as a public prosecutor for Nationaal Programma Rotterdam-Zuid (ed. National Programme Rotterdam South, NPRZ). In her talk, she shared her view on crime and safety in the city of the future. As part of the NPRZ, the central Government, municipality of Rotterdam, housing corporations, care institutions, school boards, corporates, police and the Public Prosecution Service join forces to create a healthy future for Rotterdam South.

Stefano Boeri Architetti - Francesca Cesa Bianchi

Italian architect Francesca Cesa Bianchi mentioned the need for new criteria for creating and preserving public spaces in contemporary, densely populated cities. In her talk, Francesca, who works at Stefano Boeri Architetti, emphasised the need for green cities. She showed that urban planning can be perfectly balanced with nature. As an example she mentions Milan, where old train tracks have been developed into a green network through the city. The result: more biodiversity, places for recreation and more space for walkers and cyclists.


Bureau ZWIRT - Carolien Ligtenberg

Architect Carolien Ligtenberg, founder of the Amsterdam-based Bureau ZWIRT, is an expert in sustainable urban transformation. She previously worked for Michael Sorkin (New York), Neutelings Riedijk, MVRDV and OMA. And, as a design expert, she is also a member of the Habitat Committee at Dutch Design Awards. In her talk, she explored how temporary design and public space can be an experimental playground for permanent innovative development.

SHoP Architects - Coren Sharples

Coren Sharples is one of the founders of SHoP Architects New York. In addition to her work on the firm's basic projects, Coren also leads the interior design group at SHoP. During her talk, Coren dealt with issues such as: "What makes a shared space successful? What makes a shared space inspiring? What does "shared" or "public" space mean in today's architectural climate and rapidly changing industry?". In her talk she emphasized the need to let people think along and participate in the design process.