Public Engagement

General Public

The Hyper-Local with Ezio Manzini - Stephan Weiss Lecture Series

Thursday, February 21, 2019 at 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm

Anna-Maria and Stephen Kellen Auditorium (Room N101), Sheila C. Johnson Design Center 66 Fifth Avenue New York, NY 10003

Ezio Manzini will be discussing Globalization and how it can also be observed from within. That is from the point in time and in the space in which we are physically placed. This look, which is also that of our everyday life, leads us to see the "global" through the experience of the "local". A local that, precisely because of globalization, and the connectivity that is the main responsible, has profoundly changed compared to that of the past, becoming a hyper-local: a hybrid environment given by the integration of the physical space of proximity (in which we find ourselves and in which we interact with the people and things that are close to us) and the space of global connectivity (the limits of which are determined by the tools we use to see and act in the networks we are part of).

By adopting this point of view what we see today is the clash between two trends: a dominant one towards the diffusion of forms of connected and incompetent solitude (tragically unsustainable, both socially and environmentally). And a symmetrical one, which proposes and puts into practice networks of competent collaboration.

The lecture discusses how these two trends define our field of action. And, with it, how they affect our life projects and the politics of the everyday that we put in place by confirming or transforming the socio-technical systems we are part of.

These considerations are developed in parallel with a reflection on the role of design. The proposal, in short, is this: in the given framework, the main design goal should be to widen the people’s fields of action, orienting them towards sustainable opportunities. That is, design experts should collaborate in making available tools, guidelines and visions with which people themselves, and the networks they are part of, can act in a more collaborative and competent way. In particular: can use their competences and collaborative attitude to design, for themselves and for all, better ways of living. That today, being aware of the tragic conditions of our Planet, should mean to collaboratively design for socially and environmentally regenerative ways of living.

Ezio Manzini works in the field of design for social innovation. On this topic, he started the DESIS Network. Presently, he is Distinguished Professor on Design for Social Innovation at Elisava, Barcelona; Honorary Professor at Politecnico di Milano; and Guest Professor at Tongji University (Shanghai) and Jiangnan University (Wuxi). His recent books include: “Design, When Everybody Designs,” MIT Press 2015 (translated into 7 languages); and Politics of the Everyday, Bloomsbury (November 2018)

Hosted by School of Design Strategies at Parsons School of Design

Event Type

Lectures and Panel Discussions


General Public


Cities and Urbanism, Art and Design


Parsons School of Design, School of Design Strategies


Urban Design, Development and Policy



Additional Details

This event is part of the 2018-2019 Stephan Weiss Lecture Series. It is an invitation to explore a more nuanced understanding of globalization and the interactions between the local, national, regional, and global that it presumes. It will also be an opportunity to take stock about the good and the bad brought about globalization and its relationship with the power dynamics and ideologies of our fast-changing world. Presentations and panel discussions will feature critical discussions meant to provoke and incite reflections about the evolving role of our institutions and the
responsibility of our individual and collective actions in nurturing participatory processes of innovation and change. These are conversations that will focus on wide-ranging themes that include: women reproductive and gender rights and wellbeing; distributed governance and the future of our cities; designs for the pluriverse in the Global North and the Global South; and innovative responses to meet the needs of displaced and refugee populations. Should we take comfort in the fact the world is becoming a more interdependent place? What is design’s role as a knowledge domain amid our current complexity? Can we imagine alternative futures for people to thrive across arbitrarily drawn borders and social and cultural divides?

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Getting Here

Detailed Directions

By Train:
The 4, 5, 6, N, R, Q and L to 14th St./Union Square.
The A, C and E to 14th St. and 8th Ave.
The 1, 2 and 3 to 14th St. and 7th Ave.
The F and M to 14th St. and 6th Ave.
PATH train to 14th St. and 6th Ave.

Event Registration Required

This event requires registration.