In recent years, GSAPP has used the label “Studio-X” to refer to its most advanced laboratories for exploring the future of cities. The label conveys the sense that a whole new platform for research and debate is needed to face the array of urgent questions that will face the next generation of designers.
Each Studio-X is organized around the traditional setting of the design studio found in architecture schools all over the world: a simple open loft-like space that fosters collaborative exploration, an empty room that welcomes new people and new ideas.
Each Studio-X is a cultural center that supports close personal interactions between people that might not normally come together. At the same time, the space is equipped with the latest technology to take advantage of Columbia’s expertise in digital design and data visualization to draw on the widest array of global resources and communicate ideas to the widest possible audience. The local director of each Studio-X acts as the curator of a continuous array of projects, workshops, lectures, seminars, symposia, exhibitions, and performances helping to tie the daily operations of the space to the surrounding city. In key moments, all the Studio-X spaces are linked in single real-time global workshops allowing unprecedented bursts of creativity.
In recent decades, debates on slums and the future of urban life have raged. Novelists, filmmakers, academics, cultural institutions, NGOs, foundations, and think tanks from across the political spectrum have offered ways to alternately upgrade, reinforce, preserve, integrate, and learn from these precarious landscapes, highlighting their many complex socio-spatial questions.
In Housing the Majority, scholars, architects, urban planners, artists, and activists gather from global cities with soaring rates of inequality—Cairo, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, New York City, Mumbai, Istanbul, and London—to define the terms of the debate. Moving beyond traditional and quantifiable definitions of informality, the panels focus on politics, representation, governance, and form as entry points to the difficult humanitarian challenges to “housing the majority.”
Organized by Dean Amale Andraos and Studio-X Amman, Istanbul, Johannesburg, Mumbai, and Rio de Janeiro, with support from the Columbia Global Centers.