People Building Better Cities

Art PBBC (2)

A Global Studio and Center for Sustainable Urban Development in the Earth Institute at Columbia University project to share and exchange knowledge, build networks, and promote dialogue in on people’s participation in meeting the challenge of inclusive urbanization and climate change. Public events will be held in each city to localize exhibition issues and questions.

participation and inclusive urbanization

Traveling Exhibition


Bangkok | February 22-March 15
Rio de Janiero | March 12-May 18
Sydney | April 12-May 19
Johannesburg | May 18-June 26
Nairobi | June 5-July 7
Mumbai | September 20-October 4
Beijing | September 28-October 20
Delhi | October 4-18
Chennai | October 7-21
Cincinnati | November 9-16


New York | December 3-January 4
Medellin | April 5-11
Durban | August 3-7
Melbourne | August 19-29
Brisbane | September 1-October 1
Chennai 2 | September 24-December 24


Melbourne 2 | February 16-17
Christchurch | July 28-August 29
Ann Arbor | October 2-23

People Building Better Cities: Participation and Inclusive Urbanization, is traveling to ten countries to exchange knowledge, build networks, and promote dialogue between communities, urban professionals, universities, non-governmental organizations, and policy makers on the challenges of inclusive urbanization and climate change. While the exhibition focus is on developing countries, it speaks to urban issues in developed countries such as growing inequality and climate change. Associated public events in each city of the ten countries will localize the exhibition content. An objective of the project is foster local conversations about inclusive urbanization and participatory design and planning.

Building on the work of Global Studio, the 24 panel exhibition documents community-driven projects that share a common goal in Africa, India, Asia and the USA: that is, the promotion of inclusive urbanization to improve the lives of the urban poor through innovations in participatory design and planning. Looped film footage provides some insights into professional education models. The project website,, aims to share and exchange knowledge, build networks and promote dialogue.

Exhibition panels in English, French, Spanish, Portuguese , Chinese and Hindi are on the People Building Better Cities website. For research, books, films , articles, and organizations working in this field, go to the Resource Platform. To hear ‘Diepsloot my Paradise’, a song written for the Johannesburg opening of PBBC, click here.

The project is a partnership between Global Studio and Columbia University’s Center for Sustainable Urban Development, made possible by the SAPPI Ideas That Matter grant. The project design and development team includes Anna Rubbo, Megan Bullock and Matthias Neumann (New York), Devangi Ramakrishan (Pondicherry), Jennifer van den Bussche (Johannesburg), HY William Chan (Sydney), with film material by Simon Forbes (Sydney).

People Building Better Cities, AIA, New York

Opening Night | December 3, 2013

Public forum: Cultivating engaged and inclusive practice | December 7, 2013

Public forum: The role of engaged learning in building better cities