De Balie and architect Arna Mackic present a three part series about the role of architecture in the creation of inclusive cities. We investigate this by looking at former and current war-torn countries like Bosnia – Herzegovina and Syria, but also by looking at Western – European cities like Amsterdam, Stockholm and Paris, that because of shifting demographic compositions need to question their identity again and build on a common and shared heritage.

In the first episode we consider the relation between architecture and conflict. The impact of the destruction of buildings, squares and bridges that functioned as a symbol for a shared history and identity is huge. How can cities rebuild themselves and how can architecture create peaceful coexistence between different groups of people? How can
countries, governments, companies, and cities construct collective identities and inclusive
futures through architecture? The Dutch – Bosnian architect Arna Mackic and the Syrian architect Mohamed al Mufti will, assisted by their research and work, talk about the importance of creating inclusive, public spaces. Spaces which are based on common rituals and traditions and can be appropriated by different groups. Places that can acknowledge and reflect the pain of war, but by making them common ground, can also perform a healing function.

To conclude, we look at how we can apply lessons from cities who are destroyed by conflict to cities in Western Europe. How can the west, with its often segregated cities and big shifting demographics create spaces that stimulate collectivity and solidarity and how can we make ‘charged’ national heritage inclusive?

Arna Mackic is connected as an architect to studio L A – founded in 2016 together with Lorien Beijaert – and is also head of the architecture department at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie. L A uses architecture and spatial models as an experimental space to investigate societal issues. The projects often focus on the subject ´collective identity´. One example is Mackic´s praised research and book ´Mortal Cities & Forgotten Monuments´ about the destruction and reconstruction of the city Mostar in Bosnia – Herzegovina.

Mohamed Al Mufi (1976) is a Syrian architect, academic and artist.
He graduated from Ecole Nationale Supérieure d’Architecture de Versailles, and started a professional carrier in France, with social housings and educational projects.
He was awarded for a “re-inventing social housing” project in France. He also took part in several architectural exhibitions and publications. In 2008 he created his Atelier in Damascus and focused on educational and cultural and public space project Since War in Syria, he has been involved in several programs, lectures, workshops and debates about reconstruction.

Writer and journalist Chris Keulemans gives an introduction and engages in a conversation with both architects. Keulemans travelled recently to Beirut to think with a group of Syrian and Lebanese architects about the restoration of Syria. He also wrote a lot about the Balkan war and travelled and worked a lot in Bosnia – Herzegovina. Currently he is chronicler of Amsterdam North.

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