Our cities and landscapes are increasingly defined by the dynamics of temporary inhabitants. Whether we are rich expats, hard working labour migrants, young international students or refugees. Climate change, armed conflicts, oppressive governments and a globalised economy keep us constantly on the move.
Most recently we are confronted with the grim images of the confrontation between migrants and ‘Fort Europe.’ We see thousands of people crossing the Mediterranean Sea in search for a better future and the residents of the now almost permanent refugee camps within Europe and at its boarders in the middle east. At the same time, we see the fruitful interaction between students from all around the world in university towns like Delft or Cambridge and we see Turkish or African entrepreneurs breathe new life into abandoned shopping centres or neighbourhoods in outskirts of big cities like London and Berlin.
During this studio we looked at the impact of migration on cities in the widest sense. We consider the fact that we find it difficult to provide adequate shelter for those who seek refuge, to be a symptom of a wider problem that concerns the flexibility and absorption capacity of our cities. We think migration has become a fact of life and will only increase in decades to come. If this is the case, then our cities will increasingly be characterized by a coming and going of people, population growth and contraction, the emergence and disappearance of amenities and enterprises, and a constantly changing racial profile. In this studio we challenged our students to develop new perspectives, new solutions, new utopias or new research into this topic. How can we design buildings, cities and landscapes that make the best of our restless lives, that profit from the constant exchange of people, that can withstand the pressures of a growing and shrinking, ever changing population?