Michael Youngblood is a cultural anthropologist working at the nexus of social science and human-centered design, currently a part-time instructor at Stanford University (Hasso Plattner Institute of Design) and a visiting scholar at the Maryland Institute College of Art. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and B.A. from Lawrence University. Michael has spent more than two decades studying human experiences with products, services, built environments, communications, and brands. He is the author of Cultivating Community: Interest, Identity, and Ambiguity in an Indian Social Mobilization (South Asian Studies Association Press, 2016) and holds numerous awards, including Joseph W. Elder Book Prize, Robert Miller Prize for Innovation in Anthropology, and Sardar Patel Award for the Best American Dissertation on Modern India. He is the founder of The Youngblood Group, a design and innovation consultancy focused on positive social change and environmental sustainability (

Observing the Urban Ecosystem

Cities are complicated and dynamic ecosystems of people, behaviors, objects, and spaces. Our experiences in the city are shaped by our physical and sensory engagement with all of its elements—and yet most of this engagement is unconscious or unreflexive. Whether we’re new to the city or know it well, disciplined use of our senses can enable us to examine the urban ecosystem with fresh curiosity and a keen critical awareness. In this talk, Mike Youngblood will share perspectives and techniques that will help you hone your powers of observation to consider the complexity and dynamism of Hong Kong with both focus and intention.


Anne Jarrigeon is Assistant Professor at the Paris School of Urbanism. She holds a PhD from the Sorbonne Paris-IV and works as an anthropologist and videographer. Her research comprises the practices and representations of mobility with a focus on the usage of material infrastructures and technical devices. The role of the body is central to her research as she develops a poetic anthropological of the urban experience. She is part of the research Labex group (National Research Grant) called ‘Urban Futures - Visualizing Cities’ and a coordinator of the LVMT chapter (City Mobility Transport Lab) on ‘Urban Imaginaries’.

Experimenting with Poetic Anthropology

From her first work on bodies in urban crowds, Anne Jarrigeon has adopted a poetic approach to the urban experience and to daily mobility. Poetics does not only concern our artistic visions and creations but encompasses our relations to the ordinary fabric of things, spaces and perceptions. Visual ethnography and semiotic approaches allow us to become sensitive to the effects of cities’ materiality and mediations on people’s activities and imaginaries. As a photographer and video-maker herself, Anne Jarrigeon will share her aesthetic practice and explain how to take an experimental turn when working with and through images in the context of urban studies.

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