Whoa. Everything you always wanted to know about the Israel-Palestine situation but were afraid to ask: the Atlas of the Conflict. Co-written by  Malkit Shoshan (PhD student of the chair of Design as Poltics), Willem Velthoven (of Mediamatic) and Nat Muller, the book painstakingly maps what seems to be the conflict of conflicts  – it is being represented in over 500 drawings. Mediamatic throws a launchparty december 21st in Amsterdam – speeches by some cool people are included. Click here (PDF!) for a 15 page sample of the atlas.

Thought the vote against the European constitution in France and the Netherlands hasn’t changed anything? Lost belief in the power of the referendum? Think twice: in an act of heroism and characteristic bluntness at the same time, Dutch design firm MVRDV changed the shutters  on its design for an apartment building in Lyon, France, after the negative vote: the building now spells out the first article of the European constitution when the shutters are closed. Sort of like erecting statues of presidents after they’ve been overthrown by the people, no? Beware though, your vote changes shutter designs in French suburbs.

The pointless and ruthless 1942 shooting of a caring mother in Bambi being only part of a series of horrific deaths in Walt Disney films, violence has now also entered the company’s picture-perfect real estate reality: on november 24th a 58-year old resident of Disney’s master-planned fairytale Celebration was found murdered in his home, and another one shot at the police and then killed himself a few days later. The (94 per cent) white community is obviously shocked – and you can’t really blame the architecture for any misconduct this time. Right? It’s a safe bet to say the murder weapon… Read More

Starting in February, the International New Town Institute (not to be confused with the Newton Institute) will organize an elective course for master students at the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the TU Delft. Ten workshops (lectures by a number of speakers included), two excursions (to grandiose Germany and paradisiacal Poland), students of another university to cross brain-swords with – what else does the ambitious student of today need? Difficult words like, ehm, geopolitics? Academic credits? They’ve got that covered, too. More info and a detailed description of course structure and requirements can be found here.

Very rarely does a career in geography gets your name on official US government blacklists, but when you’re called William Bunge things like that just happen. Bunge, who also got himself fired from at least two American universities, did ask for it though: besides being a communist he also tried to fight racial inequality in North-American inner cities by using geographical means – lethal in the wrong hands as these tools are. Setting up the Detroit Geographical Expedition and Institute, he started mapping such things as occurrences of rats biting babies and accidents involving black kids being hit by cars… Read More

If you ever feel misunderstood by a brother from the west or east side then maybe this will help.

Looking for a graduation studio? Design and Politics and Explorelab, Rotterdam and Detroit, Architecture Biennale Rotterdam and, ehm, you! Info meetings november 15th and 18th – see poster or elsewhere on the website for more info.

Although age (and marrying an established Der Spiegel-heiress perhaps) did slightly mellow down former Sex Pistols frontman Johnny Rotten, he’s still frustrated and engaged enough to verbally assault London’s modern architecture from the top of a tourist bus. Wielding a microphone (always his weapon of choice) and wearing something he himself  thinks is even worse than most of the glass office blocks he encounters on his tour, he manages to do what he has been doing for a very long time: delivering a surprisingly interesting message in between curse words, biting cynicism and a lot of cigarettes: “every social unrest… Read More

On Sunday, June 20, 1943, on Belle Isle, an island in the Detroit River an argument between a white and a black man turned into a fist fight and finally erupted into a full blown riot. Thirty hours later, 25 black and 9 white people had been killed. In order to prevent such violence from happening again, a study into cause and preventive factors was conducted by Earl Brown of the Public Affairs Committee, a non profit educational organization. Here a pictogram from his book ‘Why Race Riots? : Lessons from Detroit’ on how to lessen racial tension. 23 years… Read More

Starting November 15th: Blame The Architect, a lecture series by Wouter Vanstiphout on the relationship between riots and the urban environment. In six one-hour lectures, addressing four different incidents of large-scale rioting in as many cities, an attempt will be made to dissect the complicated mix of social, economical and urban factors that all play a role in the buildup towards riots. See the poster below for dates and locations, and elsewhere on this website for a more extensive introduction on the topic.