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

Azadeh Mashayekhi @ Urban Change in Iran Conference

Last November our PhD candidate Azadeh Mashayekhi presented a paper during the international conference Urban Change in Iran, organized by The Bartlett Development Planning Unit of  University College London (UCL). She wrote this review  for the Lebanese journal Portal 9 : Given the recent political turmoil in Iran, discussions about the country in both Europe and North America tend to focus on geopolitics, sidestepping other critical issues such as urbanization. Tehran in particular, with a population of over 8 million, is one of the world’s largest cities yet figures marginally in most academic discussions about urban growth. The Bartlett Development… 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

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

ANCB UNIVERSITY DESIGN STUDIO

The Aedes Network Campus Berlin invited Design as Politics and the Why Factory (Winy Maas) to organise a design studio for students from the TUDelft and TU Berlin. Theme of the workshop: Resilience and Democracy – Urban Regions Under Stress. The studio explores the key outcomes of the 2011/12 debate series (pdf) Design&Politics: The Next Phase – a collaboration between Henk Ovink (Director National Spatial Planning, Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment) and ANCB- of which the closing debate (video) took place at the NAi in April 2012 during the 5th International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam. The collaboration continues with this… 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

Blame the architect: Trenton Oldfield

Last week the founder of architectural and urban activist group This Is Not A Gateway: Trenton Oldfield, was jailed for six months for disrupting the annual Oxford and Cambridge boat race of last April. The 36-year-old Oldfield – graduated from London School of Economics in contemporary urbanism and a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts- jumped into the Thames to stop the race and protest against elitism. The boat race -he said- “Is a symbol of a lot of issues in Britain around class, 70% of Government pushing through very significant cuts are Oxford or Cambridge graduates.” Oldfield worked… Read More

Electoral geography by Josse de Voogd

For our graduation studio “We the people – Democracy, Architecture and the City”, we organized a series of workshops and lectures from professionals in the field. For the first session we invited Josse de Voogd – an independent researcher on electoral geography – who gave us a fresh, new perspective on the relation between voting behavior and the built environment: The electoral map of the Netherlands shows a multi-colored mosaic of different regions and neighbourhoods with their specific voting behaviour. Although the Netherlands is an egalitarian country, there is a remarkable segregation when it comes to voting behaviour and to… Read More

Rise of the megacities

Sixty-two years ago New York and Tokyo were the world’s only megacities with over 10 million residents. Now there are 23, and the UN predicts (pdf!) a total of 37 by 2025. All but eight of these cities will be located in the developing world – and the quality of life for millions will be determined by the quality of their cities. The guardian made a quite impressive interactive map showing the 100 most populous cities as of 2012 according to the UN (megacities are shown with a black border), in order to explore the latest estimates and forecasts on… Read More