Interview with Scott Burnham

The urban strategist Scott Burnham believes that modern cities have great unfulfilled potential - you just have to see your usual sorroundings in a new light. He is the curator of the current exhibition Reprogramming the City at The Danish Architecture Center. Read an interview with Scott Burnham here.


"Cities have a very real issue that needs to be dealt with. There's a limited amount of resources. Whether it's financial, spatial, or natural resources, we have a need to begin thinking very seriously about doing more with less."

Cities can do more with what they already have

"Reprogramming the City' is a collection of ideas from around the world about how cities are doing more with what they already have; how they are expanding their functionality, expanding the services they provide for their citizens, everything from billboards which have been reprogrammed, to create fresh drinking water in Lima, Peru. Or bus stops that have light therapy tubes in them for the dark winter months in northern Scandinavia, so people can get the good vibes of the sun."

A chance to look at your city differently

"Reprogramming is about looking at the existing structures, surfaces, systems of the city and thinking; what else could it do? What if we had it perform a complete different function? Or an additional function for the life of the city, in addition to what it already does in the city?"

"The exhibition, I think, can really do a difference to people by opening their mind to the possibilities that exist in what already exists in the city (…) When you return to your neighborhood, to the street you live on, you look at it differently, things appear to have more opportunity than we're currently using."

"Once you come here to see the idea for a lamppost which could turn into an umbrella if someone's caught out in the rain, the next time you see a lamppost, well, you see it a little differently."

"Everything in the street that you just take for granted now, in 'Reprogramming the City', it exists in a different reality. And this is the chance to see how cities around the world are exploring these different realities for what already exists in the streets."


In Umea, northern Sweden, they have installed light therapy into the bus shelters, so commuters can get som "sun energy" during the cold winter months. The shelters is a perfect example of Scott Burnhams ideas of rethinking the city spaces and if you visit the exhibition Reprogramming the City you can see one and get some sun beams yourself.  


Watch the interview on video:

Scott Burnham has been involved in urban renewal projects in several european countries as well as in USA og Canada. He is regularly writing articles and books on how we best use the already existing city spaces.

>> Read more on Scott Burnhams blog

Wednesday, November 26, 2014 / By

Last updated Wednesday, November 26, 2014