Sebastian Schlecht is an optimist: He believes that we have the necessary resources to generate, test and implement new solutions to sustainable built environments. In his talk with Kika Yang he shares how enriching it can be to experience different perspectives of particular processes. This podcast is part of our podcast series recorded at the CITYMAKERS Social Entrepreneurship Competence Lab.
Sebastian is passionate about an integrated view on urban design. He joined CITYMAKERS in 2018 during a learning exchange in Beijing. He is educated as an architect and urban designer and has aquired a wealth of experience which ranges from disciplines such as art, journalism, architecture, education and participation, as well as being an international lecturer. Today he is working as an expert on integrated green city strategies with a focus on nature-based solutions and climate adaption and mitigation concepts.
After founding a collaboration space and running his own architectural office for several years, Sebastian started to work for the city of Essen in 2010 as a Head of Project for construction. In 2015, he became project manager of the European Green Capital – Essen 2017. He is now responsible for the strategic management of environmental and climate-related topics on city level as well as in international exchange.
Sebastian is representing the City of Essen in the ICLEI Project Urban Transitions Alliance, he is a former Board Member and fellow of JAS e.V. (Youth-Architecture-City), initiated the CITYMAKERS-Ruhr Network in 2019 and founded the think-tank lala.ruhr in 2020.
He strongly believes in the power of connecting people and natural solutions to make our cities more resilient, just and future-proof in terms of the strong impact of climate change. As the construction of buildings and infrastructures are one of the main sources of waste and CO2 emission today, he is certain that we need to change our thinking. In his opinion, it is not about avoiding mistakes and detaching from ourselves, but to reach positive impact through this high effort.
What do you value in being part of the CITYMAKERS China-Europe network?
Sebastian Schlecht: “We live in times of global issues, and we must prepare the future by common making. CITYMAKERS China-Europe is a great example of how to connect people across borders and continents in an informal and personal way, enabling us to understand and inspire each other and to co-create better futures.”
What drives you with regard to city making?
“How we jointly design our cities and how we use them has an extremely high impact on our quality of life and our global future. Cities are places that should provide a safe environment for their inhabitants. But they are also the place where most resources are used up, and thus directly endanger our future. That’s why design matters and why I see an urgent need to rethink our familiar habits and replace them with something better.”