Utopian hours returns in 2022 with a focus on urban space


This year marks the 6th annual Utopian hours festival, put on by the Torino Stratosferica project and hosted in Turin, Italy from October 14–16. The theme of the 2022 iteration, A World of 8 Billion Cities, references the civic duty expected of individuals within an urban space and on a global scale. It concludes the series that began in 2020 with The City at Stake, and continued in 2021 with The 1000-Minute City, which examined urban responses to the global pandemic.

Utopian hours concerns itself with the future of urbanism, and has compiled a variety of keynote speakers, including Majora Carter, Amanda Burden, and Liam Young, who will speak on a diverse range of topics including smart cities, sustainable development, and public health. The festival will take place online and in-person. For the first time since the festival’s inception, Utopian hours will feature speaker representatives from a guest city—this year that city is Milan—to introduce the festival’s headliners and establish a dialogue between Turin and its northern Italian neighbor. Also new this year is The Urbanites Fair, which invited 15 organizations, including media, publishing houses, and nonprofits, to host projects within the exhibition hall.

(Courtesy Utopian hours)

“Now that the world is approaching being inhabited by 8 billion people, by introducing the idea of ‘making citizens,’ the gaze of Utopian hours shifts to a new urban teleology with the will to re-establish the concept of the city at the planetary level,” stated the festival in a press release.

The festival’s headliners include:

  • Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx, a non-profit organization advocating for environmental justice, who will discuss her latest book Reclaiming Your Community: You Don’t Have to Move Out of Your Neighborhood to Live in a Better One.
  • Amanda Burden, former director of the New York City Department of City Planning, who rezoned nearly 40 percent of New York City and transformed the city’s skyline while serving under former Mayor Micheal Bloomberg. During her tenure, Burden greenlit the High Line, the East River Esplanade, Hudson Yards and projects along Brooklyn’s waterfront.
  • Nina Noblé, one of the co-founders of Berlin autofrei, an organization calling for a 54-square-mile car free zone in Berlin.
  • Liam Young, an Australian architect, who uses filmmaking as a means of world-building and imagining urban futures. Young’s latest film Planet City envisions the entire world’s population living within a single urban metropolis.
  • Vera Mulyani, an Indonesian born French–architect and self-described Marschitect—a portmanteau of Mars and architect—who founded Mars City Design, a firm which has developed prototypes for sustainable cities and infrastructure on Mars.
  • Markus ElKatsha, an architect and urban planner who is part of the City Science group within the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Media Lab. ElKatsha uses data analysis to develop novel urban policies.
  • Edward Glaeser, chairman of Harvard University’s economics department, whose new book Survival of the City: Living and Thriving in an Age of Isolation examines the future of urban spaces in the wake of the global pandemic.
  • Robert Stephens is an American architect based out of Mumbai, India. His latest book, Bombay Imagined, explores urban plans for Mumbai which were never realized.

Utopian hours will also offer two urban design workshops during the festival, hosted on the mornings of October 15 and 16. The workshops will be led by Arya Arabshahi of 51N4E, an architecture firm located in Brussels, alongside Scott Francisco, founder of non-profit Cities4Forests.

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