Stadmakerscongres 2014

stadmakers141128-FE0045-FredErnst-30cm1Image by Fred Ernst

A Couple of weeks ago, our Design as Politics students took part in the 2014 Stadsmakerscongres (City Makers Congress), organized by the Rotterdam Architecture Foundation. The event was concentrated around the central theme of ‘connectivity’ – a crucial issue in an age in which ‘city making’ is not only done by formal and institutional actors, but more and more also by entrepreneurs, activist and citizens. The Stadmakerscongres 2014 brought these parties and their practices together, investigated its potential and explored how it already works in Rotterdam.

Our students took part in the Tours & Stories program, which explored the interaction and connectivity within four specific areas in Rotterdam: the central district area, the Laurens quarter, the Merwe4Haven and the Katendrecht peninsula. Based on the provided information in combination with their findings during the tour, the students were asked to extrapolate this line of thinking and visualise what this area could become in the future by formulating a feed forward. The aim was to develop a plan for the area, which goes ‘beyond master planning’, in which certain aspects are fixed, while others are still unclear. We asked the students to think about how to deal with this uncertainty as a designer and how to visualise this in a way that is open and inviting for unforeseen initiatives, but is clear about the core values, framework and structure.

The work of our students is now published on the website of the Stadsmakerscongres.

Are We The World? – The Export of Dutch Planning

DasP#6 Zwijger - Screen

Join us on January 20th at Pakhuis de Zwijger for an evening around our new book ‘Design & Politics #6 – Are we the World?’ The event is part of the Urban Books program. Speakers include Wouter Vanstiphout, Henk Ovink, Markus Appenzeller, Saskia van Stein, Marta Relats, Ekim Tan, Michelle Provoost, Roberto Rocco and others.

Dutch Planning is conquering the world. Designers and planners from the Netherlands are being invited to solve complex questions with their combination of technical skills and especially the ‘Dutch approach’ of integral planning, wherein planning and process management are combined. Simultaneously the role of public design and planning in the Netherlands seems to be diminishing. Are we exporting something that we ourselves no longer believe in? Or is the world accepting the Dutch Approach as the way forward? At the same time the countries to which we export our tradition of planning, are hotbeds of some of the most spectacular urban developments we know.

Maybe Brazil and Turkey have more to teach us then we have for them. ‘Are We The World’ is a thought provoking polemic about the values of Dutch planning now that it is being internationally marketed. Central to the book is a search for a shared set of urban values that might unite the different countries, in order to create common ground for the exchange of design expertise. It is authored by a combination of Dutch People working abroad, and people from abroad working in the Netherlands.

– Book presentation by Wouter Vanstiphout
– Short statements by Marta Relats, Roberto Rocco and Ekim Tan
– Debate with Wouter Vanstiphout, Carolien Gehrels, Henk Ovink, Markus Appenzeller and others.

Moderated by Saskia van Stein

Tuesday 20 January, 20:00 – 22:00, Pakhuis de Zwijger
Free entrance. Please RSVP

Els Leclercq and Marta Relats at Randstad Research Seminar Series #12

Advances in Doctoral ResearchDesign as Politics’ PhD candidates Marta Relats and Els Leclercq are presenting their research tomorrow 12 December at the Randstad Research Seminar Series #12: Advances in Doctoral Research.

Marta’s research ‘Pockets of reindustrialization in Europe: Regional planning and urban design impacts’ aims to investigate how to place the industry in the territory of western industrialised countries, in the foreground of a recovered interest in manufacture. The main hypothesis of her study is that design can contribute to two main societal goals at stake in today’s situation: one, the successful evolutionary breakthrough of the industry so that it is competitive, innovative and efficient. Two, that its placement signifies a quality increase of the whole environment it is set in, the physical and the social, henceforth political. It includes, among others, the comeback of manufacturing, reshoring, welfare paternalistic industrialist models, industrial and scientific parks, periurbanization, infrastructure and factory architecture”.

Els responds in her research ‘The perception of the user on the privatisation of urban space’ to the shift of responsibilities that were formerly regarded as seen as public, from local government to the private sector, public private partnerships or to individuals. Many examples can be seen throughout the Western world whereby maintenance is outsourced to private companies or to a group of local residents, and even cases whereby originally public spaces have turned into private hands. The gap that has been left by a retreating local government, with the emphasis on a more facilitating role rather than a leading role, is being filled with the arrival of private interests in all facets of the production of public space. This research analyses the public – private divide in three case studies in Liverpool in three different ways: from the producers, from the consumers (the users) and from the independent designer’s point of view.

The Seminar takes place on Friday 12 December from 12:30 – 14:00 in the Hugo Priemuszaal at OTB Building (Jaffalaan 9, Delft). Els Leclercq and Marta Relats are PhD candidates at the Chair of Design as Politics at the TU Delft Urbanism Department. Their promoter is Wouter Vanstiphout, and their daily supervisors are Dorina Pojani and John Heintz respectively 

Lecture: We The People – Democracy, Architecture and the City


Next Monday, Wouter Vanstiphout will lecture about the strong but complex relationship between Architecture and Democracy. Starting with traditional democratic architecture – such as palaces and parliament buildings that represent the ideas and values of democracy – we move to architecture and urban design, which provides the necessary spatial facilities for democracy to happen. Spaces in which democracy becomes manifest, in which confrontations between ideologies happen, and in which new forces take their role in shaping our cities.

The lecture is open for all, so Join us on Monday 8 December at 08:45 in Room F of the TU Delft Architecture Faculty.

Wouter Vanstiphout wins Pierre Bayle Award for art criticism

Pierre BayleDe Rotterdam_Ossip van Duivenbode

The Board of the Pierre Bayle Foundation has awarded this year’s Pierre Bayle Awards for art criticism to Design as Politics’ professor Wouter Vanstiphout and design critic Ed van Hinte. Both prizewinners will receive their award from Guus Beumer on the first of December in Het Nieuwe Instituut in Rotterdam.

The jury praised Vanstiphout for its strong social commitment, his outspoken and literary way of argumentation and the great political urgency of what he addresses. The jury report states:

His quirky and independent vision is practiced from an ongoing construction of knowledge and a deep understanding of the cultural complexity of the architecture and its creation. Vanstiphout hereby often takes up the gauntlet against the establishment that has determined the architectural culture in recent years. This laid the foundation for a profound and challenging oeuvre that breaks open and boosts the architectural debate, sharpens our judgment and gives the built environment relief and meaning. “

 The Pierre Bayle Prize for art criticism has been awarded every two years since 1956 to a critic who, according to the regulations, ‘over a period of years has executed his or her mediatory role in a constructive, systematic and literary manner worthy of respect’. The Pierre Bayle Prize is an oeuvre prize awarded every two years to critics in various art disciplines (visual art, letters, drama, dance, music, film, architecture and design). Those eligible are art critics who operate from a position of independence, with a keen understanding of and critical distance from their subject, and who offer not only sharpness in debate but also perspective.

The Award ceremony is free of charge. Please register in advance at: Language: Dutch


Book: Are We The World? Available soon!

Available soonD&P#6 Are We The World

We are extremely proud to announce that our first book ‘Are We the World? – Randstad Holland, São Paulo, Istanbul & Rotterdam’ will be for sale from November 1st!

In this book we look at the export of Dutch design and planning, which has been exported for decades across the globe. After a successful period in which the polycentric Randstad model was held in high esteem, followed by the fresh, modern approach of the Super- Dutch architects, the resources and expertise of Dutch institutions have been employed for projects in Asia and South America.

But, are Dutch ingenuity, pragmatism and process management the ideals that the explosively expanding or shrinking cities of the 21st century are most in need of? Isn’t the city more of a political question – of accessibility, equality and democracy? What does the Dutch model offer global cities and what can the Netherlands itself learn?

‘Are We The World?’ is part six of the Design and Politics series, an initiativefrom the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, which examines the relationship between planning, design and politics. This part has been put together by the chair of Design as Politics, under the supervision of Wouter Vanstiphout at TU Delft. The book compares the Randstad with São Paulo and Istanbul, and speculates about alternative visions for city planning and idealistic architectural intervention for the cities involved. ‘Are We The World?’ is not only a plea for a central role for city planning, and an active exchange of ideas, but primarily for new political involvement.

Workshop by Ton Matton

Almere utopia150916 Ton Matton5

On the 16 of September we took our students to the city of Almere for a workshop with urban planner and artist Ton Matton, who positions his own work somewhere between object-design, society-shape, ecological urban planning and artist-actionismus.

Matton received us at the building site of his Type EW58/08 house – a replica of a very simple GDR working class dwelling – which is currently being constructed in one of Almere’s new neighbourhoods. In an improvised outdoor lecture room, with chairs made from cargo pallets and a white minivan functioning as a projection screen, he gave an inspiring lecture explaining his utopian philosophy of ‘autarkic architectural moments’ as the common ground which links all his projects.

While presenting a selection of his previous work and showing the genesis of the Type EW58/08 house, Matton explained how at some point in his life he realised that it’s almost impossible to fundamentally change in the modern world. And how, in order to not get caught up in apocalyptic thinking, he therefore introduced the notion of ‘trendy pragmatism’ as one way to carry out interventions that might not help on a large scale, but should at least feel like you’re doing the right thing.

After a lively discussion in which he confronted the students with their responsibility as an architect, but above all as well-informed consumers, he send them off into the city of Almere to capture Utopian moments in the Suburb. While being skeptical at first, the students discovered some personal micro-utopias – ranging from the green suburban identity to peoples own private castles.

02 Erik Groenendijk - TM Utopian momentsSuburban Utopian moments by Erik Groenendijk

Screen Shot 2014-10-28 at 15.03.41Suburban Utopian moments by Justina Stefanovic