Euro Vegas part 2

In July 2012 we wrote an article about Sheldon Adelson’s controversial plans to construct a multi-billion dollar gambling resort somewhere in the outskirts of Madrid or Barcelona. Last February, Adelson finally made his decision and selected a 750-hectare site in Alcorcón, a quiet suburb of Madrid. After the first stone is laid late this year it will become one of Europe‘s biggest building sites, creating tens of thousands of jobs in recession-hit Spain. The development would include six casinos with 18,000 slot machines and 1,000 gambling tables, 12 hotels featuring a total of 36,000 rooms, a convention center, three golf… Read More

Venice Takeaway Debate – The Working Village

On the 14th of March, Wouter Vanstiphout will join a live think-tank at the Architectural Association, London as part of the Venice Takeaway: Ideas to Change British Architecture. The event – which will be chaired by Darryl Chen of Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today – draws together experts from the fields of urbanism, planning, branding and development economics to explore the making of The Working Village, a radical entrepreneurial village on the outskirts of London. The background for this debate is the idea of Chen’s research project on the New [Socialist] Village, that featured at the British Pavilion for the 2012 Venice Architecture… Read More

De slag om Rotterdam

Wouter Vanstiphout was a guest in yesterday’s episode of the Dutch TV program ‘De slag om Nederland‘. He talked about the rising vacancy in Rotterdam, while Alderman -and former director of a real estate agency- Hamit Karakus fills the city’s skyline with prestigious shiny towers by famous starchitects. After the broadcast, an interesting discussion arose on blogs and twitter. Read some reactions here or here. Or decide for yourself and watch the show (all in Dutch only)

Sochi Winter Olympics 2014

While London is working hard to live up to their –once promised– Olympic legacy, and IOC chief Jacques Rogge is debating whether the London Games were the best ever or just totally awesome, Putin is building his own Olympic dream in the Russian city of Sochi. Sochi is a -by Stalin established- resort city along the Black Sea which grew rapidly during Valdimir Putin’s term in office. Although temperatures rarely dip below 12C, the city was selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympics. For Putin, an opportunity to showcase Russia’s ability to organize major events and boost its international image,… Read More

New Publications!

Now online! Two brand new Design as Politics publications. For your entertainment! The first ‘Het einde van het Perpetuum Mobile of: The Self Destruction Machine’ (Dutch only) is the text of Wouter Vanstiphout’s speech during the –by Architectuur Lokaal organized– practice session Het Nieuwe Opdrachtgeven (The New Commissioning) on November 22nd, 2012. During this event, Wouter talked about the instability of the public sector, and the role of the government in the current state of social housing and the architecture and construction sector. (See also the by JaapJan Berg written report of the lecture on Archined) The second publication is a collection… Read More

The privatized town of Sandy Springs

This time a post by our PHD candidate Els Leclercq, who wrote an interesting piece on Sandy Springs, Atlanta, USA: a privatized white-flight city that handed off about every service to private enterprises. The city of Sandy Springs used to be a wealthy suburb to the north of Atlanta. However, following a referendum in 2005, 94% of its residents voted for Sandy Springs to become a city in its own right. This decision demonstrated the discontent with the county’s policies of redistribution of the tax revenue to less affluent parts of the county. Citizens consequently voted a mayor and six Councillors… Read More

Forced Evictions and Nail Houses

The urge for progress and economic growth by the Chinese Communist Party has led to rapid urbanization all over the county. Local governments were encouraged to borrow large sums from state banks to finance stimulus projects in order to re-develop land for new roads, factories or residential complexes. Nowadays, influenced by the global economic crisis, these governments  strongly rely on the sale of land to repay the huge sums they borrowed before, and noting seems to go too far to force people out of their homes or sell their rights to land-use. A recently published report by Amnesty international highlights… Read More

Shrinking regions growing Democracy

– Update: 13 Nov. 2012 – by DasP Students: Johnny Tascon, Bert Oostdijk and Wu Xiayu. As a way to propose a set of scenarios for the people to decide upon the future of the Prignitz region, the “urban tool –kit for Hoogvliet” by Maxwan and Crimson has been taken as an example to implement. After examining different aspects of the region, like the economy, the landscape, the electoral behavior, demographics, and vacant buildings, we tried to sum up the fundamental choices the region faces. Prignitz is not only a shrinking region; it is also one that seems to have… Read More

The adventures of the SS Rotterdam

The former passenger ship SS Rotterdam is sold for 29.9 million Euro to the Hotel Chain WestCord Hotels. The controversial ship is now owned by the Rotterdam housing corporation Woonbron. In 2005, Housing corporation Woonbron bought the flagship of the Holland-America Line, the SS Rotterdam, originally built in 1959. The restored ship was supposed to become an icon of the urban renewal of Rotterdam South. As one of the biggest tourist attractions of the city, it would bring jobs to the area and provide internships for students from surrounding schools. The cost for the purchase and renovation of the ship… Read More

Lecture by Simone Rots

This Tuesday, we need you to wake up early for a cool lecture by Simone Rots -Director of Hofbogen BV and partner of Crimson Architecture Historians– on the transformation of the Hofplein train station and viaduct in the North of Rotterdam. Hofbogen BV was founded in 2006 when various housing corporations joined forces and purchased the Hofplein line railway viaduct from the Dutch Railways. The reason behind this move was the dominant presence of the viaduct in the urban area of Rotterdam North, an area that is extremely important to the corporations concerned. Due to its length, the viaduct crosses… Read More