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

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

Court order prevents BBC from broadcasting film about riots

Yesterday, a court order prevented the BBC from broadcasting a movie about the experiences of rioters during last summer’s UK riots, just hours before it was scheduled. The film was a dramatisation based on the testimony of interviews conducted for the Guardian and London School of Economics research into the disorder. In the days after the riots the media erupted with politicians and commentators discussing what had happened and why, but nobody was hearing from the people directly involved in the disorder to find out what they had to say about their behaviour. Why had they acted like they did?… Read More

Uprising: Hip Hop & The LA Riots

Who has seen our lectures knows that Design as Politics is -just as Reyner Banham and Charles Jencks– fascinated by Los Angeles. The movies, the glamour, its rap culture and of course the Riots. Now 20 years after the violent uprising that was triggered by the savage beating of Rodney King, filmmaker and former CNN staffer Mark Ford (known from his doc about N.W.A.) released the movie Uprising: Hip Hop & the LA Riots. The film –narrated by the one and only Snoop Dogg- revisits the riots in gripping detail and documents how hip hop forecasted –some say ignited– the worst… Read More

New Building Design Column

Now online! Wouter Vanstiphout’s newest Building Design column on how the reactions to Mohamed Merah’s killing spree show the demonisation of the ghetto. How everybody needs ‘good’ neighbours. And how Toulousains gave up on their modernist suburb Le Mirail. You need a username to read it, just register, it’s for free!

Ill Manors

“I genuinely want to change things. This is just the first step. Let me make my point first and raise the issue, if anybody wants to talk to me about how I think we can change these things I’m ready.” With this statement the British rapper Plan B released his latest track ill manors, persuading the audience that this is not about commerce. This is the real thing! For the guardian reason to honor it with the title ‘greatest British protest song in years’. For lovers of political music -like us- almost to good to be true. The track, basted… Read More

Exhibition by Malkit Shoshan

Who thinks about the Israeli Palestinian conflict does not directly pictures a zoo and two white donkeys dyed with stripes to look like zebras. Our PHD candidate Malkit Shoshan did, resulting in the exhibition ZOO, or the letter Z, just after Zionism which is currently exposed in the NAiM / Bureau Europa. Her award-winning book ‘The Atlas of Conflict’ about the processes and mechanisms behind the shaping of Israel-Palestine during the past 100 years forms the base of this new project. The exhibition starts with page 437 of the book and unfolds in a fascinating exploration of ideas, snapshots and… Read More

The Special Economic Block

Now Online! Wouter Vanstiphout’s presentation on the Special Economic Block  during the Droog Design ‘WIJkonomie’ conference in the Netherlands Architecture Institute. You can read the text on our discourse page, but a video of the presentation by Wouter and the other speakers can be seen here. Also cool: the final discussion about self-hate and the criminalization of the poor. Sit back and watch!

Column by Wouter Vanstiphout on BD online

Check it out! Wouter Vanstiphout’s new column for Building Design ‘Just give them a glimpse of something’. He questions at what point architects stop responding to context by addressing the avant-garde underground identity of Diller Scofidio & Renfro. The office – famous for their high line park- presented their project Open House for Levittown (NYC) at a symposium on neighbourhood economy organised by Droog Design in Rotterdam. You’ll need a username to read it, just register, it’s for free!

NAI Symposium: Wijkonomie Tarwewijk

Tomorrow (Feb. 22nd) the Netherlands Architecture Institute (NAI) organizes the symposium: Wijkonomie Tarwewijk on how local entrepreneurship can strengthen both economic and social vitality of a neighbourhood and how design interventions and strategies can be more valuable in the long term? Wouter Vanstiphout -on behalf of Crimson Architectural Historians– together with Maxwan A+U have developed one of the contributions: a top down strategy to allow for a bottom up transformation of Tarwewijk, Rotterdam South, and, potentially, many lower income communities. Based on the statement that the major strategic error of Dutch and other urban renewal policies is that they focus… Read More