Sustainable Urban Design Summit in Detroit (USA) hosts Arabidopsis Symphony

03 december 2022

Ivana Kalafatic holding a microphone, talking about Arabidopsis Symphony by Fillip Studios, while Robert Kloos scans the QR code on the art installation.
Screenshot of Arabidopsis Symphony by Fillip Studios at the Sustainable Urban Design Summit. A digital plant is projected into the space of the summit through augmented reality.

Arabidopsis Symphony with a view of Downtown Detroit.

A day full of meaningful conversations on sustainability in the city

Following her visit to Atlanta Design Festival, Lotte Holterman of Fillip Studios had the honor of bringing Arabidopsis Symphony to the Sustainable Urban Design Summit in Detroit on October 13th. Now that Lotte has returned home and the preparations for Dutch Design Week are in full swing, we’re taking a moment to look back on this incredibly inspiring one-day event.

The Sustainable Urban Design Summit is a collaborative effort of Detroitisit, Dutch Design Foundation, and the Consulate Generals of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Chicago and New York. The event aims to exchange knowledge and experiences between Detroit (MI, USA) and Eindhoven (NL). Though Eindhoven is tiny compared to Detroit, the two share a similar history: both cities were once largely dependent on their main industries (Philips in Eindhoven and Ford Motor Company in Detroit), experienced a major economic decline, and got back on their feet thanks to innovative and sometimes bold initiatives. What can we learn from these stories to make cities and their residents more resilient? Now that new issues emerge as an effect of climate change, this question is all the more relevant.

Panel sessions

Different subtopics were discussed in panel sessions with speakers such as Rob Adams (Embassy of Mobility, Dutch Design Foundation), Antoine Bryant (Director of Planning and Development, City of Detroit), Alexa Bush (Program Officer Detroit at The Kresge Foundation), Anke van Hal (Professor Sustainable Building, Nyenrode Business University), Bo Shepherd (Co-owner and designer at Woodward Throwbacks), Matthijs Bouw (Founding Partner at One Architecture), Zachary Damato (Co-founder of Urban Rivers) and more.

During lunch, Lotte presented Arabidopsis Symphony and stressed the importance of including all life — not only humans — in our decision-making. First step: a deeper understanding of the plant world.

Find an overview video and a list of all speakers on the website of the Sustainable Urban Design Summit.

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Our visit to Detroit would not have been possible without the support of Dutch Culture USA — a program of the Consulate General of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in New York — and Robert Kloos in particular.

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