Category Archives: Debate

Spatial Planning Seminar in collaboration with Design as Politics

spsanPoster Qu Lei

Design as Politics’  PhD candidates Azadeh Mashayekhi and Nurul Azlan will present an update on their research on Tuesday 27 January during the SpatialPlanning Seminar. The seminar takes place from 12:30 to 13:30 in room 00-WEST-670 of the Architecture Faculty. We hope to see you there!

Azadeh Mashayekhi
Dreaming of American City: Iranian consumer project of modernity   
All through twentieth century Iranian cities have undergone processes of modernization in successive political regimes that have left their traces in the physical and social form of the city.  In her research Azadeh uses particular national development plans in Iran during the Cold War to launch a central argument about how Tehran’s urban form and social structure shaped within a range of different kinds of interactions and connections with different kinds of places and policies.  This study presents a framework to analyse the transformation of the changing socio-spatial form of Tehran focusing on the post WWII until the Islamic Revolution (1946-1979). Ultimately the aim is to excavate the ways in which number of urban plans and interventions supported by specific visions produced particular kind of city while at the same time produce particular form of urban society.

Nurul Azlan  
Seditious Spaces: Dissent in Postcolonial Kuala Lumpur 
Nurul’s presentation dissects the impact of post colonial legal legacies on the spaces of dissent in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur was founded as a mining town during the British colonial period, and due to its economic success, the British had moved their administrative centre to Kuala Lumpur due to their ‘flag follows trade’ colonial policy. Apart from the urban spaces, the British had also left a suit of laws and regulations as part of their colonial legacy. These legacies have provided both the spaces for dissent and the tools to shut them. This presentation is a reflection of the fieldwork that was conducted late last year, when the Sedition Act was wielded with abandon.

Video: Bookpresentation Are We The World?


Last Tuesday we presented our book ‘Are we the World? – Randstad Holland, São Paulo, Istanbul & Rotterdam’ in Pakhuis de Zwijger. We look back at a great evening with a well-recieved lecture by Design as Politics’ professor Wouter Vanstiphout followed by two statements by essay authors Marta Relats and Roberto Rocco. The evening was concluded with a interesting debate with
Carolien Gehrels, Markus Appenzeller, Henk Ovink and Wouter Vanstiphout. For everyone who couldn’t be there: the whole event has been recorded! Check it out here

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 

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.

Sam Jacob, Wouter Vanstiphout and Kieran Long in Conversation

MK Gallery

On October 9th, the MK Gallery invited Design as Politics Professor Wouter Vanstiphout and Architect Sam Jacob – the curators of this year’s British Pavilion at the Venice Architecture Biennale – to discuss the development of their exhibition, A Clockwork Jerusalem, with Architectural Historian and Broadcaster, Kieran Long.

A Clockwork Jerusalem explores how the international influences of Modernism became mixed with long standing British sensibilities. and how traditions of the romantic, sublime and pastoral, as well as interests in technology and science fiction were absorbed to create a specifically British form of Modernism.

The exhibition focusses on the mature flowering of British Modernism; the moment it was at its most ambitious socially, politically and architecturally, but which also witnessed its collapse. A variety of large scale projects offer insights into the way architecture was central to manufacturing a new vision of society at a scale inconceivable in today’s Britain. It explores how the modern future of Britain was built from an unlikely combination of interests and shows how these projects have changed our physical and imaginative landscapes.