In the fall of 2014, Rebuild by Design, an initiative of President Barack Obama’s Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, convened an international working group of experts to advance a global conversation on resiliency, design, and politics. As part of that process, the researcher Daniel Aldana Cohen interviewed several members of the working group on the challenges and opportunities that cities increasingly face in a warming world, with a focus on revealing common points of interest, shared understandings, and divergent opinions.
Interviews with Rebuild by Design’s Working Group of Experts
Henk Ovink is special envoy for international water affairs for the Kingdom of the Netherlands and is principal of Rebuild by Design, the resilience innovation competition he developed and led for the US Presidential Hurricane Sandy Rebuilding Task Force, where he was senior adviser to the chair. He has been director-general for planning and water affairs and director for national spatial planning for the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. He teaches at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design and is a member of the International Advisory Board for the City of Rotterdam.
Edgar Pieterse is founding director of the African Centre for Cities (ACC) at the University of Cape Town. He is consulting editor for Cityscapes—an international biannual magazine on urbanism in the global South. His most recent coedited books are African Cities Reader III: Land, Property and Value (2015), Africa’s Urban Revolution (2014), and Rogue Urbanism: Emergent African Cities (2013).
Mindy Thompson Fullilove is a research psychiatrist at New York State Psychiatric Institute and a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health at Columbia University. She has conducted research on AIDS and other epidemics of poor communities, with a special interest in the relationship between the collapse of communities and decline in health. Her books include Urban Alchemy: Restoring Joy in America’s Sorted-Out Cities (2013), Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, and What We Can Do about It (2004), and The House of Joshua: Meditations on Family and Place (1999).
Fernando de Mello Franco is São Paulo’s secretary of urban development. He is an architect and holds a PhD from the University of São Paulo. He taught architecture and urbanism at several schools, including Harvard as a visiting professor. He was managing partner of MMBB Arquitetos and project curator of the Institute of Urbanism and Studies for the Metropolis (URBEM).
Maarten Hajer is chief curator of the 2016 International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. He is also Distinguished Professor of Urban Futures at Utrecht University, since October 2015. Before that he was professor of public policy at the University of Amsterdam and director-general of PBL, the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency.