Democratic Design

The architecture forum Aedes is looking for submissions from across Europe for an exhibition and accompanying programme on the interrelationship between democratic processes and building practices.

Democratic Design

Building a Future Spatial Practice in Europe: Expanding Collaborations

New collaborations are emerging in the architecture and urban design profession, overcoming previous hierarchies and enabling new collective design strategies. These collaborations span various dimensions: between countries, among colleagues, across disciplines, bridging the gap between public and professional spheres, and forging connections between academia and activisms. Networks and interdisciplinary teams have formed and developed methods to address the built future in flexible and conscientious ways. Given the increasingly complex challenges of contemporary society, we need innovative approaches to craft holistic solutions. Architecture, design and planning, are and have always been about collaboration, cooperation and compromise. In this sense, good examples from new design processes can strengthen democratic understanding, support participation and a societal cohesion that societies are so desperately in need of.

The programme’s geographic and symbolic scope extends to Europe, reflecting the intention to underscore the democratic dimension of European building practices. We believe that emphasising collaborations among individuals and teams, across disciplines, between stakeholders, and across countries is fundamental to defining a truly European approach to spatial practices and democratic politics.


The project will ask the following questions:

  • Can architects and planners serve as facilitators and co-conceivers of tools that help strengthen democracy?
  • How can architectural processes be translated into democratic and economic structures to accelerate essential transformations?
  • What role can interdisciplinary collaboration against a spatial background play in fostering societal cohesion and participation?


The programme will feature:

  • An exhibition at Aedes Architecture Forum in Berlin, scheduled for December 2025. Collaborating with various European institutions for architectural discourse will facilitate diverse perspectives on democratic design.
  • A lab of talk series at the Aedes Metropolitan Laboratory, concentrating on the actors and processes of the emerging networks and partnerships identified through this call.
  • A publication to compile key projects from the exhibition, statements from the talks, and viewpoints from academia.
  • An online platform will provide digital access to the exhibition, curated content and research on the theme.


We are looking for:

  • Built projects: Built architectural and urban design projects that embody the essence of collaboration, serve the common good and are characterized by their multidisciplinary approach. They might incorporate public engagement throughout their conception, implementation or maintenance processes.
  • Activities: Cultural activities that engage or challenge spatial practices and empower citizens to their right of space. Space activations that include multiple disciplines and actors; art interventions, performances that engage the collective meaning of urban space.
  • Research: Research or teaching activities in the fields of architecture, planning, design, political or social sciences that combine their didactic endeavours with public outreach and activism, or build a framework for research on collaborative processes in architecture/ planning and their impact on society/political decision-making.
  • Actors: Architectural, landscape and urban design offices, artists, collectives, partnerships and networks that have established new collaborative practices to address contemporary societal problems.
Gepubliceerd op 5 juni 2024