The AA has been very central to the evolution of ideas about the informal city and the formulation of strategies to deal with it. The AA Research Cluster on Urbanism and the Informal City seeks to give continuity to that work while focusing more specifically on architecture and urbanism as tools of political engagement in the transformation of the informal city and the social conditions associated with it.
A follow-up to a successful symposium held on the 9th of February, will continue to investigate the role of design as a generative tool in reconceptualising the challenges and potential of informality. The second part of the symposium will be held on the 30 May and will bring together two guest speakers with considerable experience in professional and theoretical practice.
Vyjayanthi V. Rao is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at the New School for Social Research, New York. She works on cities after globalization, specifically on the intersections of urban planning, design art, violence, and speculation in the articulation of the contemporary global city. She is the author of numerous articles on these topics and is completing a book manuscript titled The Speculative City and has also been published in the Sage Handbook of Architectural Theory (2012) and in Editoriale Lotus among others.
Teddy Cruz has been recognized internationally for his urban research of the Tijuana-San Diego border, and in collaboration with community-based nonprofit organizations for advancing new models of civic participation, affordable housing and public infrastructure at the scale of neighborhoods. He received the prestigious Rome Prize in Architecture, was the first recipient of the James Stirling Memorial Lecture On The City Prize and the FORD Foundation selected him recently for the Visionary Leader Award, an important recognition given to a few individuals worldwide for their innovative efforts on the front lines of key social issues. His work has been profiled in important publications including The New York Times, Domus and Harvard Design Magazine. Most recently, he represented the US in the Venice Architecture Biennial and his work was included in Small Scale, Big Change exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. He is currently a professor in Public Culture and Urbanism in the Visual Arts Department at University of California, San Diego, where he founded CUE / Center for Urban Ecologies.