The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016. HEYU! Urbans is part of a talkshow series of the Public Library of Amsterdam (OBA). The OBA asked me to invite and discuss the urban challenges of today with six prominent thinkers, one a month from six cities in and around the EU in the live talkshow HEYU! Urbans. Literature critic Margot Dijkgraaf invites 12 of the best European writers for HEYU! Writers. Guests include David Madden (London), Stavros Stavrides (Athens), Marten Kaevats (Tallinn), Francesc Muñoz Ramírez (Barcelona), Tuna Kuyucu (Istanbul) and the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.
13 January – London. The city is paying the price of its own success with rampant gentrification and a housing market that only the rich can afford. They are not buying a house, but a fancy address and a place to invest their money. Guests: David Madden (Cities Program, London School of Economics) and Fred Schoorl (director of the Royal Institute of Dutch Architects) as commentator
8 February – Athens. What is the impact of the crisis on Athens and how can grassroots initiatives thrive in these difficult times? Guests: Stavros Stavrides (researcher and activist) and Lucas de Man (theatermaker of In Search of Europe) as commentator
23 March – Tallinn. The Estonian capital is a frontrunner in the use of digital technologies. What does the digital democracy of the future look like? Guests: Marten Kaevats is an architect and urban planner, who is currently occupied advisor who job is to help to form the digital agenda for Estonia’s EU presidency 2018 in the Goverment Office of Estonia. With Ger Baron, Chief Technology Officer of Amsterdam, as commentator
28 April – Barcelona. Masstourism puts more and more pressure on the city. Other cities look to Barcelona for solutions. Guests: Francesc Muñoz Ramírez, professor urbanization Barcelona Autònoma Universiteit, and Frans van der Avert, Chief Marketing Officer Amsterdam as commentator
25 May – Istanbul. The city is growing by leaps and bounds: 12 million, 16 million? No one knows. The rampant urbanization is as dynamic as it is suffocating. How does this megacity on the edge of Europe look at the EU? Guests: sociologist Tuna Kuyucu who researches the failure of urban renewal projects in Istanbul and Joost Lagendijk, former member of the EU-parliament and author of ‘The Turks are coming’ (2013) as commentator
7 June – Amsterdam. What lessons can Amsterdam learn for the other cities in the HEYU! Urbans talkshow series: London, Athens, Tallinn, Barcelona and Istanbul? Guest: Eberhard van der Laan, mayor of Amsterdam