Astrid Ley contributes to Herrenhäuser Forum „Suburbia becomes Utopia”

„Suburbia becomes Utopia – how the poorest of the poor shape cities“

Is it conceivable to design megacities without architects and planners? Worldwide urbanization is progressing informally, especially due to large migration. What can urban planners learn from informal settlement developments? The Herrenhäuser Forum will discuss this topic on April 15, 2021.

By 2050, three quarters of the world’s population will live in cities. Especially in the Global Southern, urbanization is taking place at breathtaking speed. The design of megacities is increasingly being taken over by the poorest of the poor, rather than by urban planners and architects. Thanks to „slumdogs“, unfinished office towers are becoming homes for thousands of people, refugee camps are becoming integral parts of cities, self-organized and oriented to the needs of the inhabitants. As a matter of fact, the intelligence, ingenuity, pragmatism and power of improvisation of „slumdogs“ could be inspiring assets in the ever-accelerating process of urbanization, for reurbanization has long since been observed in the industrialized nations as well.
How are informal self-build projects organized? What potential does a lack of officially provided infrastructure release? How can Western societies learn or even profit from the self-build capacities of urban immigrants?

There will be first a keynote lecture by Prof. Dr. Hannes Taubenböck (DLR: Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. / German Aerospace Center), and then a panel.

Astrid Ley will contribute to the panel together with Klaus Teschner (Bischöfliches Hilfswerk MISEREOR e. V. / German Catholic Bishops’ Organisation for Development Cooperation) and Prof. Christian Werthmann (Institute of Landscape Architecture, Leibniz University of Hannover). The panel will be presented by Ulrike Heckmann (NDR Info).

VolkswagenStiftung, Herrenhäuser Forum

You are invited to watch this event in a livestream on 15 April 2021 at 7:00 pm CET.
Please find the link at the beginning of the event via:

A summary of the event will be available online at NDR Info / “Das Forum”: