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ETH Zürich | Chris Luebkeman, Catherine De Wolf, Annemie Wyckmans, Jennifer Giroux

Only through the collective efforts of all stakeholders will we be able to harness transformative technologies and realize the true potential of cities.

More than half of the world’s population already live in cities. Urbanization is both a boon and a bane for the human’s quality of life. Cities can be threatening, but also the testbeds needed to come up with related solutions. It will only be through the collective efforts of academia, governments, the private sector, and the public that we will be able to harness transformative technologies and rebuild in ways that realize the true potential of cities. For example, the construction industry can learn from other sectors about adopting digital technologies and circular strategies. Automating the reuse of materials in architecture can fill this gap by connecting actors across the value chain. To rethink cities, we need to re-build and strengthen the value chain across diverse actors and support it with tools such as building-information modeling (BIM), computational design algorithms, digital fabrication, and machine learning, so that we can use buildings, instead of the earth, as material mines and depots.

This event is part of ETH Zurich’s RETHINKING LIVING campaign. We are all feeling massive change across just about every aspect of our lives. Climate change, the destruction of biodiversity, the coronavirus pandemic and technological disruptions present threats, but more importantly, an opportunity to focus on grand challenges, to embrace deeper meaning, and to rediscover overlooked aspects of our lives. RETHINKING LIVING convenes scientists, industry experts and outstanding global thinkers from ETH Zurich and across the world.

This event is part of Zürich Meets Berlin, presented by ETH Zurich in cooperation with the ENHANCE Collaboration. ENHANCE represents a new alliance of research-intensive universities. It drives responsible societal transformation, inspires and pushes for the development and utilisation of science and technology, for the benefit of society – turning global challenges into meaningful opportunities.



This event is hybrid and will take place as part of the Berlin Science Week CAMPUS’.

On-Site: Admission is free. Please reserve your one or two-day ticket here. Please note: Pre-registration is requested for this event. Please send a short mail to office-president@ethz.ch to get a guaranteed place.

Information about the physical accessibility of the Museum für Naturkunde can be found here. The New Normal Hall is located on the first floor and can be reached by lift.

Digital: Shortly before the event begins, the stream will be made available on this site. Add the event to your favourites and receive a reminder via email.

About the Venue
Invalidenstraße 43
Berlin, Berlin 10115 Germany

Chris Luebkeman is the leader of the Strategic Foresight Hub in the Office of the President at ETH Zurich. He combines an attitude of pragmatic optimism with curiosity and a deep sense of planetary responsibility to all of his collaborations. Dr Luebkeman’s career to date has spanned professions and geographies. His multidisciplinary education (geology, civil engineering, structural engineering, entrepreneurship and a Doctorate in Architecture) was encouraged by his Mid-​Western family of educators. His journey included Vanderbilt, Cornell and ETH Zurich. Before his assignment as Head of Foresight at ETH Zurich, he joined the global engineering consultancy Arup in London to lead the Research and Development group in 1999. He became a corporate intrapreneur by founding the Foresight, Innovation and Incubation teams.

Catherine De Wolf is an assistant professor of Circular Engineering for Architecture at ETH Zurich. She conducts research on digital innovation towards a circular built environment. Catherine has a dual background in civil engineering and architecture from Belgium, obtained her PhD in building technology from the MIT, and worked for the University of Cambridge, EPFL, and TU Delft. She collaborates closely with governmental institutions (e.g., European Commission’s Joint Research Centre) and pioneering industry partners (e.g., Arup, Elioth) on the reuse of building materials in real-world projects, such as the reuse of the glass from the Centre Pompidou.

Annemie Wyckmans

Norwegian University of Science and Technology Trondheim

Annemie Wyckmans is Civil Engineer in Architecture from KU Leuven, Belgium, and professor at the Department of Architecture and Planning at NTNU Trondheim, Norway. She develops and leads European innovation projects that guide cooperation between public and private sectors, and other societal stakeholders, to make cities’ transitions to climate neutrality more inclusive, beautiful and sustainable. Current projects/programmes include CrAFt, the +CityxChange Smart Cities and Communities Lighthouse project, the EERA Joint Programme on Smart Cities, and, starting in Autumn 2022, the NEB-STAR New European Bauhaus Lighthouse project and the Re-Value project.

Jennifer Giroux is a Detroit-based strategy and research professional who works in the social impact field at the intersection of social resilience, stakeholder engagement, and organizational integrity, responsibility, and risk. With a background in Anthropology, she specializes in solving for big social challenges that address systemic inequities. She has advised and led projects with hundreds of large organizations across – including Novartis, Shell, Pearson, NewGlobe, Ford, United Nations, Cisco, NATO, EU, Center for Security Studies, United States Institute of Peace, etc. – on strategy, political and social risk, urban design & resilience, culture, public-private partnerships, stakeholder engagement, social innovation, and diversity equity & inclusion. As a natural collaborator who is passionate about moving humanity forward, she has published widely in academic and policy publications and has 20 years of global experience in over 15 countries, across 6 continents – with extensive time performing field research and leading projects in South Asia, Middle East, East Africa, and West Africa. In Detroit, Jennifer is a community leader and active in reimagining and rebuilding this great city.

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