In The Ghetto

Graduation Studio 2010/2011

The ‘In the Ghetto’ graduation studio was focused on economic and social segregation within cities and the spatial manifestation of these phenomena – it dealt with the role of city politics, urbanism and architecture in this matter, to be more precise. Against the threat of cities falling apart into autonomous groups and zones that ignore and deny each other there’s also the perspective of emerging urban archipelagos, formed by communities that develop areas within the city and take planning initiatives.

The studio,consisted of three phases and was accessible for students from the Urbanism-, Architecture- and Real Estate & Housing master tracks. In the first phase, students were invited to come with their own favourite’ ghetto, whether this is a place of incredible inequality and underdevelopment, or an area that has consciously separated itself from the rest of the city and became an ‘intentional community’. Students are asked to map these ghettoes socially, visually and culturally as inspirational and creatively as possible.

After that the students were asked to formulate goals for a further development of these areas: a collection of ambitions and end goals as inclusive and encompassing (spatially, economically, culturally, etc.) as possible. Specific attention for the relationship between the ghetto and her surroundings was asked: is integration within the city, or perhaps a further separation from the rest most desirable?

Ultimately the studio was not just about making a spatial design, but also about the development of a strategy in which the design is specifically used to reach the goals set. Naturally, the political processes behind reaching these goals is specifically emphasized – something that can be interpreted purely administratively, but can also include activist notions or even representational means, using techniques borrowed from advertisement design, political campaigns and modern media.