Social City Opens at UABB

Part of the Social City exhibition at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture are soft maps by artist Jan Rothuizen, two interactive installations by architect and computer programmer Mark van der Net and a forward-looking model of a building block that satisfies the desires of all Social Citizens by architect office TD.

The drawings by Jan Rothuizen present the homes of four citizens in Shenzhen. His starting point was Mark van der Net’s digital data mapping of Weibo. From this data Jan Rothuizen selected and contacted people to meet in real life.

The interactive installations by Mark van der Net are directly tapping the social media, namely Weibo and Twitter in Shenzhen and Hong Kong. His work shows the things citizens communicate about and the places in the city at which they are while using social media.

Treehousewaterboatappartmenthammocktower by TD office is a free interpretation of this diversity of desires, illustrated in a condensed example for one building block. It is no science fiction, but actually tested on technical feasibility.




Social City at UABB!

People all over the world are invited to express their desires via a virtual platform and quiz at

People can create an avatar and see the city grow. is also a think tank. Quizzes on a variety of topics generate visual data maps, research, reflection and discussion.

The project is part of a broader research-and-do-program developed by Renny Ramakers (Co-founder of Droog). The program examines the world’s city life starting from small scale to the larger whole by acknowledging the passions and needs of people. Social City is the first exercise.

Social City officially launched!


The average person intimately knows 50 people. These people probably met through a predestined network – a network of people limited by nationality, income, school and work.
Next to this, the world is changing fast and it’s splintering. Mohammed in Africa probably has more in common with David in the UK than he does with Ibrahim in his same-city friendship circle. Bringing Mo and David together not only nurtures shared interests, but also individual diversity due to their birthplace heritage.Everything has changed around us. We embrace internet, technology, social media, globalization. Yet, the way cities are designed is surprisingly similar to 50 years ago. Cities do not keep up with this fast-paced status quo and its fragmenting diversity of lifestyles.

Imagine cities built like matchmaking sites, connecting like-minded people with shared dreams and desires. Imagine our social circles not being designed by top-down decision making, but by our mutual passions. Imagine desires designing our cities.

The online platform addresses all of this by using play and techno culture to capture the dreams and desires of ordinary citizens. This makes for a city that understands changing global culture, a city without borders, or rules or top-down planning. is an exercise in individuality and explores how countless identities can make up a diverse whole. It is a think tank based on the desires and dreams of citizens. The world has changed, now it’s time for the city. is created by Renny Ramakers (Droog / Design+Desires) and Mark van der Net (OSCity) in collaboration with Thonik (design). It is part of the broader Social City project at Shenzhen Urbanism/Architecture Bi-City Biennale (UABB, 1/12/2015 – 1/3/2016), curated by Renny Ramakers.

Public symposium Re-dreaming the City

The public symposium ‘Re-dreaming the City’ will be hosted and facilitated by Droog Foundation in the Hôtel Droog café ‘ROOMSERVICE’. On this symposium public space designer Jan Konings will discuss the outcomes of the small-scale research project in Transvaalbuurt, Amsterdam. He will do this together with Renny Ramakers (Droog Foundation, artistic director), Duco Stadig (spatial planning consultant), Mark van der Net (architect, dataspecialist and inventor of the spatial search machine OSCity), and Ellen Rutten (Sublime Imperfections, NWO/UvA).

The symposium invites scholars, policy makers, architects & designers and the wider public to join the discussion. It will be moderated by Droog Foundations’s Suki. Two PhD students from Eellen Rutten’s Sublime Imperfections project co-organize the event and publish a short project/symposium summary on the Sublime Imperfections website.

Preiminary date/time/location symposium:
January 21, 7-9pm, Hôtel Droog, Droog Foundation

Imperfection workshop for experts and the public

In the Fall of 2015 a D+D workshop about the imperfection in our daily environment will be organized for experts and the public. The D+D workshop rethinks urban planning, rejecting the notion of top-down planning and bottom-up initiatives. It will explore the basic needs and desires of citizens and to what extent citizens can cross the boundaries and regulations of the law within their daily environments, and what things could be producible, feasible by citizens themselves. In that sense it connects with the questions which Renny Ramakers already posed during the Imperfection Evening at the School of Life. But in the D+D workshop citizens are explicitly asked to participate and give their input.

This workshop is part of the programme ‘Desire to imperfection’ which is instigated by prof.dr. Ellen Ruttenwho is part of the D+D team. She sees imperfection as an answer to our desire to the authentic and the sublime in a world characterized by rapid technological developments. With her programme she brings researchers and designers together to explore where this desire stems from, and how we could use it in these times of economic and ecological crisis. Her programme is awarded with the prestigious VIDI-grant by NWO (The Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research).

D+D @ The School of Life

Public event
October 28, 2014
The Club at Café Royal, 68 Regent St, London W1B 4DY

Renny Ramakers was invited by The School of Life to be interviewed by author and design critic Justin McGuirkabout the notion of ‘imperfection’ in society, which is central to Design+Desires. In the summer of 2008 philosopher Alain de Botton and some of his colleagues set up The School of Life, which is devoted to developing emotional intelligence through the help of culture.

During the interview Renny highlighted what community can mean and how design can inform the new communities of the future. Do we want a perfect society, do we want a perfect city? Do we thrive to a society in which all risks are ironed out? To what extent chaos is allowed? City planning is mostly a top down process thriving towards perfection. May imperfections and deviancies play a role and could this be tolerated in the development of urban fabric? How could citizens themselves tolerate the imperfections of their neighbours?

The after drinks session was led by the artist and curatorCathy Haynes.