Theories of Urban Practice second year students Francisco Miranda and Ruchika Lodha are co-leading a Conversation on this year’s Verge NYC conference. This year’s theme is Invisibility and their Conversation will be on Designing for Inclusion:

In the contemporary Anthropocentric Era, the dichotomy between nature and society has been amplified by the divide between economies and ecologies. One overarching system – that of extractive economies – exploits the land/resources while marginalizing local communities. The Extractive economies in Latin-American countries present themselves as the key towards ‘progress’. The negative byproducts of these economies (environmental hazards, violent displacements, etc.) are viewed as a sort of ‘necessary evil’ that we, as a collective, need to endure…all for the sake of ‘progress’. This argument, framed by the media, corporations and governments worldwide, as ‘the only way to move forward’, often excludes communities that are directly affected and obscures their needs and desires, rendering them invisible.

What is our responsibility as designers? How do we bring light where it is needed? These communities are, in the end, deliberately obstructed from exercising their right to the city and to urban democracy processes (such as participatory budgeting).

Extractive economies are cornerstone to world economy so, without advocating for a complete stop on extractive economies (something unrealistic in our time), how can we, through design strategies, reconfigure a world-wide dark reality for these disenfranchised communities?

Join them this 23rd and 24th of February! You can register here!