The Women Shaping Cities: Who to Follow, What to Read, Watch and Listen to

On the occasion of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, we’ve compiled a selection of sources what to read, watch, listen to, or follow to amplify the female voices acting to improve the built environment.

Women have come a long way in the quest for equality across professions and industries. While the situation is still far from ideal, the shift in the status quo is explicit, and things are gradually changing for the better.

The good news is that all of us can be an ally to the cause. One simple thing everyone can do to contribute is educating ourselves — learning about female practitioners and theorists, reading articles by women and about women in the industry while highlighting female voices.

Since the beginning, reSITE has worked to strike gender balance both on the stage, in the audience and now with our content. By bringing together a diverse portfolio of voices, we believe we can create provocative conversations around city-making that reflects the needs of inhabitants more honestly, ultimately creating more socially balanced communities.

Yoko Choy, Wallpaper* Magazine and Beatrice Leanza, MAAT Museum during the East Meets West panel discussion at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ
Yoko Choy, Wallpaper* Magazine and Beatrice Leanza, MAAT Museum during the East Meets West panel discussion at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ

What to Read...

Madame Architect is an online magazine focusing on women currently shaping the architecture industry. It features female practitioners across backgrounds and areas of expertise. The platform has been founded by women in architecture aiming to empower and give advice to other female professionals whose experiences are often not reflected in male-dominated media.

Looking for some other reads? While the focus is not solely on works of women, designboom and World Architecture Community, two desgin media powerhouses are both founded and headed by two female editors-in-chief, Birgit Lohman and Berrin Chatzi Chousein, respectively. Another worthy mention is ArchDaily's managing editor, Christele Harrouk.

Architecture is the perfect mechanism to create relationships between people and their environment.
Jeanne Gang, Studio Gang
Jee Liu, co-founder of WallaceLiu, presenting at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ
Jee Liu, co-founder of WallaceLiu, presenting at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ

What to read from reSITE

Jee Liu on Applying Subtle Design to Adaptive Reuse

At the core of WallaceLiu’s projects is a design practice called adaptive reuse. In the age of the quest for sustainability, adaptive reuse is becoming more of a necessity for city-makers worldwide.

Bianca Wylie on the Critical Design Process of Democracy in Smart Cities

Bianca Wylie is a Toronto-based, open-government advocate among the early critics to raise concerns about privacy issues of the Sidewalk Lab’s now-defunct controversial smart neighborhood proposal on Toronto’s waterfront land.

What is Luxury? Interview with Dara Huang at reSITE 2018

Dara Huang is an award winning architect and founder of Design Haus Liberty, an architectural firm that often works with clients to design high-end buildings.

Marianthi Tatari on High-Tech, Human-Centered Cities

Associate Director and Senior Architect for UNStudio, Marianthi Tatari, says that technology is the driving force behind the design for uncertainty and the future of our cities.

Leona Lynen on Planning Incomplete Cities

Leona Lynen sets a path for a publicly-planned revitalization of Berlin’s Haus der Statistik in the wake of a unique opportunity for Berliners to partner with their government.

reSITE to Rebalance Gender Inequality in Architecture and Design

reSITE aims to do its part in elevating female voices as an opportunity to achieve social balance in architecture and design. By bringing together all different backgrounds we can create provocative conversations around housing and quality of life that reflects the different needs of everyone.

What to Listen to...

To enhance your understanding of city-making in the globalized world, particularly through the eyes of women, catch the Third Wave Urbanism podcast launched by two female urbanists Katrina Johnston-Zimmerman and Kristen Jeffers. In thirty-seven episodes, they touch upon critical topics in city-making, explaining the way cities operate for their inhabitants and focusing specifically on the matters of equality and social inclusion.

Or, catch the former Chief City Planner of Toronto, Jennifer Keesmaat's podcast Invisible City - which aims to shape the global conversation on 21st century city sharing positive and unique stories that illuminate the complexity of city living. Or catch Design Voice Podcast exclusively features conversations with women who shape the build environment.

Our love for podcasts doesn't end there. One of the longest running podcasts of all time, Design Matters, is headed by Debbie Millman, which has featured designers, writers, artists, curators, musicians, thought-leaders and other creatives who share insights their stories about their way of becoming professionals.

I think no woman wants to be known as a “woman in architecture,” they just want to be known as architects and professionals and experts in their field of focus, or their field of interest.
Julia Gamolina, Madame Architect, on Design and the City
Marianthi Tatari on in an interview for Design and the City at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ
Marianthi Tatari on in an interview for Design and the City at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ

Design and the City

This year reSITE launched a new podcast called Design and the City, featuring female speakers like Leona Lynen (ZUsammenKUNFT Berlin), Yoko Choy (Wallpaper* Magazine), Marianthi Tatari (UNStudio) and Kate Wagner (McMansion Hell) who shared their insights on their respective fields through the lens of urban regeneration at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE. The podcast is also directed and hosted by Alexandra Siebenthal, reSITE's digital communications manager.

Julia Gamolina on Breaking the Architect's Mold

A rising tide that raises all ships—Julia Gamolina’s efforts with Madame Architect in building a culture of community and collaboration give the diverse stories, perspectives, and the women they belong to a seat at the table. Listen to her episode on Design and the City. Photo courtesy of Sylvie Rosokoff

Fighting Gentrification, Berlin-Style with Leona Lynen

A vast, unoccupied administration building in the heart of Berlin at Alexanderplatz - Haus der Statistik - has become a prototype for gentrification done right. Hear from Leona, a member of the cooperative, ZUsammenKUNFT, as she discusses how they are developing a mixed-use urban space oriented towards the common good. Photo courtesy of Nils Koenning

Why is Birth a Design Problem with Kim Holden

Can rethinking and redesigning the ways birth is approached shift the outcomes of labor and birth experiences? Can it be instrumental in improving our qualities of life--in our environments, in cities, and beyond? Architect and founder of Doula x Design Kim Holden join Design and the City to explore how she sees birth as a design problem. Photo by Kate Carlton Photography

Human-Centered Smart Cities with Marianthi Tatari

Associate Director and Senior Architect at UNStudio, Marianthi Tatari, dissects different aspects of city-making that threaten the quality of life such as mono-functional spaces and commoditized smart cities and how to approach designing them with optimism. Photo courtesy of UNStudio

Beirut: After the Dust Settles with Christele Harrouk + Salim Rouhana

We are taking on the devastating Beirut explosion with two of the city's natives. They will share their perspectives on what rebuilding the city of Beirut could look like after such an unbelievable event. Photo courtesy of Rami Rizk.

East Meets West with Yoko Choy

Managing editor of Wallpaper* magazine China - Yoko Choy - is on a mission to translate insights from eastern and western design spheres into a common creative language. Listen as she discusses their similarities and differences with Beatrice Leanza, (MAAT), Jamie Wallace and Jee Liu (WallaceLiu). Photo courtesy of Damo Yang.

Beatrice Leanza, MAAT Museum during her presentation at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ
Beatrice Leanza, MAAT Museum during her presentation at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ

What to Watch...

reSITE aims to do it’s part in elevating female voices as an opportunity to achieve social balance in architecture and design. Every year at our events, we work to curate an outstanding portfolio of women, experts in their discipline to speak on our 360-degree stage.

As architects, you really want to be the driver of content.
Elizabeth Diller, Diller Scofidio + Renfro

We've compiled a compilation of talks and lectures from reSITE's featured presentations from various events over the past 8 years. But don't stop there! Catch the whole playlist featuring a plethora of inspiring women in the fields of design, architecture, city planning and beyond on the reSITE YouTube channel.

Watch reSITE's #WomenMakeCities playlist

Saskia Sassen: City is an Extraordinary Animal

Saskia Sassen, professor of sociology at Columbia University, discusses the migrant experience relating to land use and the urban habitat. She focuses on the privatizing and corporatizing of modern cities and how these trends affect the people living in cities, especially disadvantaged and ignored populations.

How to Design Architecture for People with Caroline Bos | reSITE City Talks

Caroline Bos is a co-founder of UNStudio based out of Amsterdam. She talks with reSITE about resilient design and her belief is that architecture is not about creating something perfect, but something inspired and designed for people to be in safely.

Kazuyo Sejima | reSITE Small Talk

Kazuyo Sejima, founding partner of Tokyo-based SANAA discusses her approach to design in the modern world.

Sound is Always There with Elizabeth Diller

Elizabeth Diller, founding partner of Diller Scofidio + Renfro, speaks on the importance of sound in architecture and the evolving role of the architect in an increasingly multidisciplinary world. She contemplates how to design buildings that transcend time and withstand the continuous evolution of the activities and art forms that will exist within them.

Bianca Wylie on the Power of the Collective

Bianca Wylie has made waves in the urban design world for speaking out against digital surveillance. She has cast a spotlight on the implications of data mining by private corporations and the commoditization of the data gathered from citizens in public spaces.

Marianthi Tatari on Building the World's Smartest City

Associate Director and Senior Architect and UNStudio Marianthi Tatari believes that technology can play a role in creating more sustainable cities and applies an optimistic approach to its role in our public spaces in lieu of the growing controversies.

Leni Schwendinger on Nighttime Design for the 24-Hour City

Leni Schwendinger, the founder of NightSeeing™ and the International Nighttime Design Initiative, discusses the role of lighting design to create a 24-hour city, aiming to utilize lighting design to activate after-hours urban spaces, where people in public feel safe and included.

Janette Sadik-Khan on the Value of Our Streets + PlaNYC

Janette Sadik-Khan, former Commissioner of the Department of Transportation of New York City, discusses programs implemented in her time in the department and the positive changes these have made. She especially focused on safety and community opinion in her policies, and presents how they made safety programs appeal to people and how much safer she made the streets for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers.

On the Balance Between Public + Private Space | reSITE City Talks

Mimi Hoang, founder of nArchitects, discusses public space versus domestic space and affordable housing. She believes that the urban environment should encourage people to spend time in it and make the city space their own.

Collaborative City Making in Amsterdam + Designing Cities as a Community

Charlot Schans from Pakhuis de Zwijger, an event and speaker platform based out of Amsterdam, talks about urban development for the refugee crisis. She emphasizes the importance of involving migrants and refugees to create livable shelters and city making for migrants and refugees.

Marlena Happach on Copenhagenizing Warsaw

Marlena Happach, a Chief Architect for the city of Warsaw, discusses current issues facing Warsaw in regards to city planning and livability. She references expensive and dificult public transportation and lack of high quality public spaces as two things she wants to address, using Copenhagen as a model.

Using Temporary Interventions to Activate Urban Wastelands

Gilly Karjevsky, a Berlin-based independent artist, curator and co-director of ‘72 Hour Urban Action’, talks about the potential urban wastelands hold as sites of public-facing urban intervention that focus on local communities on a human scale.

Bianca Wylie of Tech Reset, presenting at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ
Bianca Wylie of Tech Reset, presenting at reSITE 2019 REGENERATE | Photo courtesy of Tomáš Princ

Who to Follow...

We've rounded-up some inspiring women, some even past reSITE speakers making waves in the urbanism, design and architecture spheres of social media. Follow, get inspired, engage and be a part of the conversation!

Part W

Part W is an action group of women campaigning for gender parity across the built environment. #WeArePartW

Bianca Wylie, Tech Reset

Tech Reset founder and reSITE speaker, Bianca Wylie has been called the Jane Jacobs of Smart Cities, blowing the whistle on the technology companies meddling in public spaces for data-harvest, and ultimately, profit.

Leni Schwendinger, Night Seeing

Leni Schwendinger is a public lighting theorist and reSITE alum that works toward creating wonderous environments, particularly in nighttime design.

Jennifer Keesmaat, Former Chief City Planner of Toronto

Former Chief Planner for the City of Toronto and renowned urbanist, Jennifer is an visionary voice in the advocating for progressive urbanist changes in the Canadian capital.

Black Females in Architecture

Black Females in Architecture is "a network elevating the visibility of Black Females in architecture and the built environment."

Kate Wagner, McMansion Hell

Past reSITE speaker Kate Wagner, founder of the funny-because-its-true McMansion Hell blog which picks apart American “luxury homes,” exposing them for the extreme waste of resources and heinous architecture that they really are while her sarcasm makes architecture criticism more accessible.

Follow #WomenMakeCities across social platforms and join in on the conversation striving for gender equality.

#WomenMakeCities at reSITE

Jeanne Gang

Elizabeth Diller

Janette Sadik-Khan

Kazuyo Sejima

Leni Schwendinger

Bianca Wylie

Julia Gamolina

Saskia Sassen

Birgit Lohmann

Yoko Choy

Christele Harrouk

Natalie Telewiak

Marianthi Tatari

Kate Wagner

Kim Holden

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