Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism

Book launch hosted by LSE Cities

How is a city made today? In his new book, Citymakers: The Culture and Craft of Practical Urbanism, Cassim Shepard argues that it’s not just the top-down planners, architects and elected officials and bottom-up community groups that shape our cities, but the large and unheralded group in between. Shepard offers a cross-disciplinary approach to understanding the contemporary city that focuses on emerging principles practiced by a diverse group of “citymakers” including landscape designers, housing advocates, hackers, architects, ecologists, community organizers, activists, artists, and more.

Citymakers takes stock of these diverse examples from New York City to suggest a series of ethical imperatives for how we think about and produce public space, infrastructure, information technology, and housing worldwide. Panellists Holly Lewis, architect and co-founder of We Made That and Sven Mündner, an independent consultant for bespoke Public Realm strategy and delivery, drew on their experience to highlight similar London and UK based projects. Chaired by Julia King, the speaker and panel discussed more broadly the possibilities and necessity of new methods of engagement for a more equitable and sustainable future for cities.

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    Cassim Shepard

    Cassim Shepard is an urbanist, filmmaker, and writer. As founding editor-in-chief of Urban Omnibus, an online publication of The Architectural League of New York, he spent six years working with local architects, activists, and public servants to share their stories of urban innovation. His film work has been screened at the Venice Architecture Biennale, the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum, and the United Nations, among many other venues around the world. Shepard teaches urban design and documentary filmmaking at Columbia University.


    Julia King

    Julia King is a Research Fellow at LSE Cities and the coordinator for numerous research strands including 'Streets for All' a research project commissioned by the Greater London Authority and on-going work on urban governance in India. Trained as an architect her research, design practice and teaching focus on sanitation and housing in the context of rapid urbanisation, inequitable infrastructure developments and urban micro-culture in the UK and India. Her work has been exhibited internationally including the 2016 Venice Architectural Biennial. She has authored chapters in Home Economics (2016) and Infrastructure Space (2017) and co-authored a chapter in The SAGE Handbook of the 21st Century City (2017).

    Holly Lewis

    Holly Lewis is a registered architect who co-founded We Made That in 2006. She has led a unique range of urban projects for the practice, from pioneering industrial intensification work through to comprehensive high street regeneration projects. Holly also leads the research portfolio of the practice, which has included studies of local economies and placemaking across London. She was shortlisted for the AJ Emerging Woman Architect of the Year Award 2012. She is a CABE Built Environment Expert and recently appointed as a Mayor’s Design Advocate.

    Sven Mündner

    Sven Mündner studied Cultural History and International Relations in Dresden, Berlin and Cambridge. He has co-founded and run various projects in London, investigating how the built environment can be used as a catalyst for public engagement, including Bold Tendencies and Frank’s Cafe. Currently, he advises design teams on the use of commercial space and wayfinding to animate the public realm. A key area of interest is to investigate how user-centric design processes can used by architectural design teams.