Keynote of the conference ‘Concealing the Designer – The Illusion of the Natural City in the 20th Century’, 1-2 June 2007, at TU Berlin

With the decline of modernist urban design since the 1960s we are once again facing an approach to the city where the hand of the designer is concealed rather than stressed. From the many current plans for a ‘European City’ to the projects of the New Urbanism in the United States to some of the new towns in China, the designer is at the same time present and absent, at once exerting individual influence on the design process and yet claiming to step back in favour of collective forces.

In this way, the city is designed so that the result may be perceived as authentic or even ‘natural’. ‘Concealing the Designer’ will look at this development from a historical perspective, relating it to a current that underlies the evolution of design in the urban context throughout the 20th century. An international group of presenters from both theory and practice will investigate the critical implications of this concept, and show its relation to both past and future urban projects.

In English
Organized by

The Center for Metropolitan Studies (TU Berlin)

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