Human Cities


Human Cities_Challenging the city scale

The Cité du design, leader of the European programme “Human Cities_Challenging the City Scale” proposes to cross the itineraries of the 12 European partners, UNESCO Cities of Design and European Living Labs. “Human Cities” is about exploring the way in which the inhabitants reclaim the constantly evolving contemporary city (especially through experiments in the urban space) and ways of (re)inventing city life.

Cities face many challenges, linked to accelerating urbanisation and its effects on the forms of social organisation. The model of the traditional city, with a centre and a surrounding area, is disappearing, to be replaced by a world of networks, connections and multipolarity: data flows are winning over premises. These structural changes are impacting both people and places, like shops in town and city centres.

Human Cities_Challenging the city scale 2014-2018 is co-funded by the Creative Europe program of European Union.

Human Cities is shaped as a multidisciplinary European network composed of various profiles: universities, design centers and design weeks, ICT platforms, service design and creative design consultancies. Led by Cité du Design de Saint-Étienne [FR], the partners share their know-how in innovating with people in the urban space using design as a creative and sustainable tool.

The focus of Human Cities Network (2014-2018) will be to analyse, test and implement the process of engaging people in co-creating and “challenging the City scale and Flow space in Europe today”. People are the key to design change in a network society and to respond to the growth of ‘flow space’, which is both physical and digital. To go beyond planning practices on the urban territories, the partner cities are enhancing unplanned activities within a frame of 13 shared values: empathy, wellbeing, sustainability, intimacy and conviviality, mobility and accessibility, imagination and leisure, aesthetics, sensoriality, solidarity and respect. Those values applied to everyone follow an intergenerational equity. We are here on a subjective territory where ‘an alternative environment’ is sought. By rejecting ‘specialities’ and compartmentalised disciplines, this interdisciplinary and multicultural European partnership brings together designers, architects, urban planners, researchers, sociologists, philosophers, psychoanalysts, translators, artists, historians and art historians, bloggers…

Human Cities website


La Cité du design, Saint-Étienne [FR] – project leader

Culture Lab, Brussels [BE] – partner
Bilbao Ekintza, Bilbao [ES] – partner
Association of Estonian designers, Tallinn [EST] – partner
FH Joanneum, Graz [AT] – partner
Association Design Week Belgrade (BDW), Belgrade [RS] – partner
The Castle Cieszyn Design Centre, Zamek Cieszyn [PL] – partner
Clear Village, London [UK] – partner
Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia (UIRS), Ljubljana [SI] – partner
Aalto University, Helsinki [FI] – partner
Pro Materia, Brussels [BE] – partner
Politecnico di Milano, Milano [IT] – partner

Participants Aalto University: Antti Ahlava, Jarmo Suominen, Fernando Nieto, Pekka Tynkkynen, Natalia Vladykina, Saana Rossi, Mia Hertsberg