Soft City


Pavilion   -   Forum   -   Exchange

章鱼亭     -    论坛     -     活动

Baitasi, Beijing 
23 Sept - 7 Oct 2016
2016年9月23日 - 10月7日

About Soft City


Beijing is both hard and soft. It is marked by extensive physical infrastructure - ring roads, mega blocks, and institutional edifices, and yet it also supports a host of informal, nomadic, spontaneous systems. These include everything from mobile food carts, Weixin payment nodes, and migrant practices, to the atmospherics of air pollution and data collection. Nowhere is this more evident than in hutong areas such as Baitasi, where complex entanglements of historic infrastructure, social and cultural networks, and mobile technologies overlap with unexpected, often innovative results.



Drawing on contributors from a wide range of disciplines, the Soft City project will explore how these various systems and practices can be mobilized to address the significant challenges and anxieties facing the contemporary city.


Soft City will engage the public through a series of events and installations in the Baitasi neighbourhood during the Beijing Design Week. These will include: the Soft City Forum, a roundtable discussion exploring aspects of soft design in the city; the Soft City Exchange, a series of workshops, performances, community events, and a web presence, exploring new systems of knowledge and sharing; and the Octopus Pavilion, an interactive, inflatable structure, that will serve as the site of the forum and workshops, as well as a playful space for the visitors and residents of the neighbourhood.



Soft City Forum


Soft Design On a City Scale
Sept 28
13:00 - 17:30

The forum will bring together designers, artists, activists, IT-developers, scientists, anthropologists, local residents and change agents, to discuss the future of soft practices in Baitasi, Beijing, and cities throughout the world. These discussions will be in a round table format over the course of one day, and will be divided into two key topics:


Soft Space



In today’s cities, rampant housing prices coexist with empty office towers and new roads are built alongside defunct infrastructure. Spatial speculation takes place in the financial sector as well as among activists, artists and communities. This panel will present different approaches to space - public or private, indoor or outdoor - that challenge notions of ownership, authenticity and location.


Soft Systems



Infrastructure, both hard and soft, is increasingly inscribed into the planet, making new and uncertain affiliations with social, ecological and technological systems. This panel will consider the “softening” of infrastructure, exploring the manner in which it is transforming the experience of the city, and its potential to be mobilized to achieve a more flexible, equitable, and resilient urban fabric.


The Global School
Baitasi Old Market
11 Gongmenkou Dong Cha



Two multidisciplinary panels with speakers from China and abroad