We are a diverse group of designers, architects, researchers, educators, writers, organisers and activists from different corners of the world connected by similar thoughts and deeds.

Amateur Cities (NL) is an online research and publishing platform that aims to connect city thinkers to city makers. Amateur Cities publishes articles that collect, analyze and clarify contemporary urban and technological development interesting for learning cities anew – not as masters, but as amateurs. It provides a platform for a dialogue on urban collective intelligence and stimulates cross-sector exchange by engaging experts from architecture, urbanism, art, science, information technology, media, sociology and philosophy. The platform has been set up and developed by Cristina Ampatzidou and Ania Molenda in 2014 with the support of the Creative Industries Fund NL.

Amber Hickey (US) is a writer, educator, curator, and PhD Candidate in Visual Studies at the University of California Santa Cruz. She published A Guidebook of Alternative Nows in 2012 (download for free at

Anja-Lisa Hirscher (DE), graphic designer, researcher and workshop facilitator at Make{able}workshops. Interested in participatory design, the sharing economy and alternative business models. She is currently enrolled as a doctoral student at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland and works as a research assistant at University of Ulm, Germany.

Brave New Alps (IT), produces participatory design projects that engage people in reconfiguring the politics of social and environmental issues. They combine design research methods with radical pedagogy, feral approaches to community economies and lots of DIY making and organising. They create a diversity of outputs, including spaces for making, learning and exchanging; commoning and community-building processes; events such as workshops and conferences. They also enjoy feminist theory, writing, (self)publishing research outputs, working with our circular saw, printing with their Risograph and good graphic design.

Cecilia Palmer
 (DE) is a Berlin-based designer and activist who’s work links ethics, aesthetics with fashion design and web-coding. She is the founder of the green, open-source fashion label Pamoyo and the upycyling and redesign event: Fashion Reloaded. Both initiatives aim to engage consumer and producers with open source and upcycling ideas. Cecilia has a mixed background within social- and environmental projects as well as clothes making and coding. This multi-faceted experience allows her to combine tangible handicrafts work with the intangible world of coding, and thus interconnect these and find links and methods to benefit each other.

Claudia Garduño (MEX) is a Doctoral Candidate at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland and the project initiator and co-ordinator of Aalto Lab Mexico, a design-led project for social justice and environmental sustainability for 20 de Noviembre (20 NOV), a Mayan community located in Calakmul, Campeche, Mexico, connecting the community to academia, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), and the public and private sectors of Mexico and Finland. 

Christopher Laumanns
 (DE) is co-founder of the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie in Leipzig. He likes bikes and coffee. He dislikes injustice and peppermint tea. The Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie is an independent think-and-do-tank based in Leipzig, Germany: “We develop, collect and spread concepts for an ecologically sustainable, socially just and democratic economy. We try to make thinking about the economy understandable and fun. And we try to put our ideas into practice in our everyday life.”

Cordula Andrä
(DE), born 1967, lives in the ZEGG community and works as press coordinator for the ZEGG company. She loves to connect inner and outer worlds – on a personal level and beyond. Between 2002 and 2009, she was academic consultant of the green party in the Bundestag (lower house of the German parliament), between 1999 and 2001 a web designer. Through emotional research, she discovers the power of feelings – personally and in seminars – which serve her as a source for inspiration and energy.

Daphne Büllesbach
 (DE) is one of the directors of European Alternatives and co-founder of the Berlin branch of the organisation. She plays an active role in the yearly Transeuropa Festival of European Alternatives and is particularly interested in developing an organisation that is able to connect politics to grassroots ideas and initiatives. Previously, she worked in social science research and the evaluation of government programs. After her studies in Social and Political Science in the London, Cambridge and Paris, she worked in international humanitarian and development organisations in Belgium, Kenya, Morocco and Argentina.

Eleni Katrini (GR/UK) is an architect, researcher and academic. Her research and teaching areas focus on sharing and collaboration, community visioning and empowerment, urban ecology and green infrastructure. She is currently undertaking two roles as the Research Director at Participatory City Foundation, and PhD Candidate at Carnegie Mellon University’s School of Architecture (dissertation title: “Creating the Everyday Commons; Spatial Patterns of Sharing Culture”). Previously, she was Adjunct Faculty at Carnegie Mellon University, worked extensively on community planning projects in United States, and practiced as a registered architect in Greece. Eleni obtained her diploma in Architecture from the National Technical University of Athens, her MS in Sustainable Design from Carnegie Mellon University, and is an Onassis and Fulbright scholar. 

Eric Schuldenfrei and Marisa Yiu
 (HKG) are Founding Partners of ESKYIU, a multi-disciplinary architecture studio in Hong Kong. Eric is a designer who focuses on the evolving relationship between architecture, animation, technology and art. Marisa is an architect who integrates multi-disciplinary design, culture and spatial agency.

Dr. Francesca Weber-Newth (DE) is a British-German sociologist. Her research interests are urban regeneration, planning and activism. Keen to take critical debate outside academia, she has written, edited and translated for various newspapers, journals and magazines. She has collaborated with a filmmaker (Documentary Mauerpark Berlin 2011) and poet (Walking is not an Olympic Sport 2012). She is co-editor of the Community Lover’s Guide to Berlin (2013) and is currently Postdoc at the Humboldt University of Berlin.

Gaspar Mostafa (ARG/SWE), graphic designer and user-experience designer, interested in data-driven design and sustainability. He has an MA in Creative Sustainability at Aalto University, Helsinki, Finland and currently works as a UX designer for Vattenfall in Stockholm, Sweden.

Harald Gruendl
(AUS) *1967 studied industrial design at the university for applied arts Vienna and co-founded the studio EOOS in 1995. In 2008 he founded the IDRV – Institute of Design Research Vienna, a non-profit association making an independent academic contribution to the establishment of design science. Since its foundation, this extra-university institute has worked on interdisciplinary strategies of knowledge production and mediation and focuses on research in the areas of sustainable design and design history.

Isolde Nagel
 (DE) is an architect and curator working in Potsdam and Berlin. In 2006 she founded the platform A TRANS and since 2011 has been engaged in the Network of Berlin Independent Project Spaces and Initiatives. A TRANS establishes an urban-oriented theme each year, and collaborators are invited to conceptualize and realize projects that reach beyond individual disciplinary boundaries, whilst valuing artistic-architectural visions and showing commitment to social questions.

Joel Rosenberg
 (FI) is a nature and wilderness guide and an artist and founder of Satokartta, a fruit map and mapping process of Helsinki’s public edible trees and shrubs which started with Urban Foraging Rides in 2009 and continues to explore the edible city until today.

Luisa Maria Schweizer 
(DE), born in 1984, is an anthropologist and activist based in Berlin. She studied Cultural Anthropology and Modern German Literature and attended a masters programme at Humboldt University in the field of Anthropology/Europeanisation. She was member of the research project ”Other Europes / Europe’s Others: Social Imagination in transnational movements and urban public spheres” of Prof. Dr. Regina Römhild. Today she works as a social campaigner in the field of political education and is chairwoman of European Alternatives Berlin.

Malin Bäckman (FIN) is a designer and researcher, based in Cardiff, UK.

Michel Bauwens (US/THA) is the founder and director of the P2P Foundation and works in collaboration with a global group of researchers in the exploration of peer production, governance, and property. He is a founding member of the Commons Strategies Group, with Silke Helfrich and David Bollier, who have organised major global conferences on the commons and economics. In the first semester of 2014, Michel Bauwens was research director of the research group, which produced the first integrated Commons Transition Plan for the government of Ecuador, in order to create policies for a ‘social knowledge economy’. In January 2015 was launched. Commons Transition builds on the work of the FLOK Society and features newly revised and updated, non-region specific versions of these policy documents. Commons Transition aims toward a society of the Commons that would enable a more egalitarian, just, and environmentally stable world.

Nicholas Torretta (BR/SWE) has gathered experience as researcher, teacher and designer for sustainability, grassroots movements and solidarity economy projects though several Universities, NGOs and organizations in Brazil, Finland and Sweden. Nicholas has an MA in Sustainability (Aalto University, Helsinki – Finland) where he carried research on “upscaling grassroots movements towards sustainability” for which he mapped local grassroots movements in order to create possible pathways for progressing towards sustainable ways of urban living. Currently, Nicholas is PhD Candidate at Umeå Institute of Design.

Dr. Otto von Busch (SWE/US) is a designer, teaching at Konstfack University College of Arts, Crafts and Design (Stockholm) and Parsons the New School for Design (New York). In his research and practice he explores how design can be reverse engineered, hacked and shared among many participants as a form of civic engagement, building community capabilities through collaborative craft and social activism.

Emeritus Professor Valerie A. Brown (AUS) AO, BSc. MEd. PhD. is Director of the Local Sustainability Project, an on-going collective action program which has included over 500 government and non-government organisations and local communities on whole-of-community transformational change in Australia, Europe, and Asia. She is currently a Professorial Fellow at the Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University. Her twelve books include two with John A. Harris The human capacity for transformational change: harnessing the collective mind, Routledge 2014; Tackling wicked problems through the transdisciplinary imagination, Earthscan 2010 and Leonardo’s Vision. A guide to collective thinking and action. SENSE 2006.

Wendy E. Brawer
 (US) started her design career when planned obsolescence was still considered design excellence. Realising that this mindset was driving us toward extinction, she developed Green Map System, a capacity-building product service system that’s an effective public relation (PR) service for the hometown environment. Wendy has been appointed Designer in Residence at Smithsonian Cooper- Hewitt National Design Museum, an Utne Visionary and a Woman of Earth, as seen at her website Open Green Map is a social mapping platform that shares information about sustainability in the community using lively, globally recognised icons to chart and help people connect with nature, culture, green living and social justice resources.