The Pruitt-Igoe Myth

Great news! You can now watch the documentary The Pruitt-Igoe Myth online at worldchannel.org. An essential part for you Design as Politics education! It began as a housing marvel. Two decades later, it ended in rubble. But what happened to those caught in between? The Pruitt-Igoe Myth tells the story of the transformation of the American city in the decades after World War II, through the lens of the infamous Pruitt-Igoe housing development and the St. Louis residents who called it home. The film analyzes the impact of the national urban renewal program of the 1950s and 1960s, which prompted the… Read More

Excursion Madrid

As part of our Follow the Money graduation studio, we asked our students to organise an excursion to Madrid and its surrounding area. To the (brief) disappointment of some, we told them we would not go there to see the capital’s great architecture and its vibrant city life (of course we couldn’t leave without experiencing some of it), but that we would mainly spend our time at the outskirts looking at the effects of the Spanish property bubble and explore the (sometimes) harsh consequences of political games and real estate speculation on the built environment. We selected Madrid as the… Read More

Workshop by Jelte Boeijenga

‘Follow the Money’ Students working on the assignment. For the first workshop of this year’s graduation studio ‘Follow the Money’ we invited Jelte Boeijenga; researcher/advisor on spatial planning and urbanism, with a strong focus on the aspect of finance in city making. Jelte started the workshop with an eye-opening lecture based on his research ‘Money and the City’ – sketching the sometimes alarming financial situation of the 25 largest Dutch municipalities. As a consequence of the current financial and economic crisis the national government is taking harsh austerity measures, while following a policy of decentralisation. This means that more and… Read More

Residential Francisco Hernando, Seseña, Spain

Last week we kicked-off our new graduation studio ‘Follow the money – Finance, Architecture and the City.’ In order to illustrate the complex entanglement between money and architecture, we showed our students a selection of case studies, amongst which the case of Residential Francisco Hernando in Seseña, a municipality in the Spanish region of Castilla-La Mancha, just 40 km south of Madrid. Until the late ninety nineties, the area of Seseña was mainly used by its residents for coaxing grain and corn out of the dry earth. However, in the midst of the Spanish real estate boom, when the first… Read More

Wouter Vanstiphout at Brno University

In October 2012, Wouter Vanstiphout traveled to Czech Republic to give a lecture at Brno University, as part of the lecture series ‘Contesting Space / Architecture as a Social Practice’ about architecture and city-making as an inherently political issue and architecture as a social practice. Wouter talked about New Towns and about Riots under the title ‘The Banality of Good.‘ Watch it here.

Erdoğan’s Crash Course in Direct Democracy

Turkey, rising star of Europe and democratic model of the Islamic Middle East, has been in the news in recent years for its steady economic growth. Now the world is watching thousands of its citizens’ humorous and friendly protests from Taksim-Istanbul and other Turkish cities. Seventy percent of these people do not support any political movement and 67 percent are under 30*. The so-called ‘Y’ generation is asking for the right to direct democracy. The conflict seems likely to last longer, as the old system’s gadgets – the police, parliament, and political parties – will need time to learn open… Read More

Gezi Park – Istanbul

For the past few days, the citizens of Istanbul have been protesting against the demolition of Taksim Gezi Park – one of the few remaining green areas in the center of Istanbul. According to the Justice and Development Party (AKP) under leadership of Erdogan, the park has to be demolished for a large shopping mall and the reconstruction of military barracks under the ‘Lost Heritage Recreation Project, which was established to reproduce the Ottoman identity in the city. Hundreds of people have gathered in the park, design by the French architect Henri Prost, which was constructed in the 1940’s after… Read More

De Bouwbubbel van Rotterdam

Crisis or no crisis, Rotterdam continues to construct new buildings. In front of the central station, foundations are being laid for a 120m high mixed-use tower, just behind it looms the almost finished colorful complex ‘The Calypso’, a bit further down town, a giant market hall will be constructed, and ‘The Rotterdam’ -the country’s largest building- has recently reached his highest point. Many citizens are proud of these new developments: they make Rotterdam a contemporary city, full of architectural masterpieces. But how come large real estate projects are still being constructed in Rotterdam, while they are suspended or canceled in… Read More

Symposium de Energieke Stad

On Tuesday the 26th of March 2013, Wouter Vanstiphout was one of the guest speakers at the symposium named: “The energetic city”, organized by the Dutch “creative industries fund.” During his talk, Wouter argued for a strict division between the government’s responsibilities and that of the market, concerning urban development and investments in real estate. Wouter’s text and the video recordings can be found below, or click here to download the text in pdf (unfortunately all in Dutch only). skip to 01:08:30 for Wouter Vanstiphout’s talk De scheiding van Markt en Overheid In Rotterdam woedt al een paar maanden een… Read More

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