CITYMAKERS-Fellow Dr. Annette Erpenstein interviewed four citymakers with ties to Germany’s Ruhr region to explore how corona changed our cities and what we can learn from this experience.
Her passion for sustainable urban life and city structures has been a driving force in Annette’s life and career. As a geographer and professional city planner with more than 20 years experience, she has been working with many cities in Germany and all over the world, helping them solve contemporary urban problems and creating a dialogue about liveable and sustainable cities between citizens, government, business and academia.
Annette actively joined CITYMAKERS in 2017 while living in Shanghai and working for NAX, the Network for Architecture Exchange of German Chamber of Architects and for Constellations International. With her comprehensive professional background in urban planning, she was involved in all kinds of urban exploration, conferences, learning journeys, research, and trend scouting on modern urban topics e.g. smart cities, healthy cities, mobility, liveability and participation to improve our urban future. Holding a master in mediation, Annette was invited as guest-lecturer at Tongji University CAUP to design and conduct a model-public-participation-project in Shanghai Jingan district to upgrade three existing neighbourhoods according to the residence needs.
Born in 1964 on a farm in a traditional multi-generation-household in Greven/Westfalia, Germany, she has an intuitive connection to nature, communication and in making social connections. After receiving her Diploma at the Westfaelische Wilhelms-University in Muenster she built up professional urban knowledge in public service as well as in private planning companies in Germany, South Korea, US and China. In December 2019, she relocated back to Wiesbaden, Germany, where she remains an Associated Partner for Constellations and an active member of CITYMAKERS.
What does CITYMAKERS China-Europe mean to you?
Dr. Annette Erpenstein: “For me, CITYMAKERS means an inspiring and high level exchange with peers in China and Europe on pressing urban topics. It also means to be part of a very active and vibrant crowd of people that have the ability to shift my personal and professional perspective and therefore inspire my spirit, mind and actions. Last but not least, CITYMAKERS cares about the city we all live in.”
What drives you with regard to city making? What is important to you?
“For me, city making is a way to personally get involved and to engage in the co-creation of our homes, neighborhoods and cities we all live in. And it is a way to take an active part in shaping and creating livable cities and not leave it to developers and investors. Like Leilani Farha, special rapporteur on adequate housing at the UN, said: ‘Who are cities for?’ I strongly believe cities are for us city makers.”