Design and Politics: the next phase
7 - Re-city, the ‘Total Makeover’

Friday, 17 February 2012

The 7th and final event in our series of seven thematic debates taking place in 2011 / 2012. 'Design and Politics: the next phase' was initiated by ANCB The Metropolitan Laboratory in collaboration with Henk Ovink, Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment. Re-city is a bottom-up approach to the restructuring, renovation and reinvention of our cities, stemming not from initiatives, but out of city-ness, through schemes of any scale, any alliance, any 'rules and regulations' rather than through big projects. Where are the projects that can test this out? Who's in first, politicians or designers, or must it be the neighbours once again?

Part I: Introduction

Part II: Statements and Discussion

Part I
Welcome and Introduction
Áine Ryan
, Programme Manager, ANCB - 00:00 - 03:52
Loek ten Hagen, Cultural Attaché, Dutch Embassy in Berlin - 03:55 - 06:37
Henk Ovink, Director for National Spatial Planning at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - 06:38 - 22:08

Part II
Klaus Overmeyer
, Studio Urban Catalyst, Berlin - 00:00:00 - 00:07:09
Petra Rutten, Proper-Stok Developers, Rosmalen - 00:07:10 - 00:18:56
Lars-Christian Uhlig, Unit Baukultur, German Federal Institute for Research on Building, Urban Affairs and Spatial Development, Bonn - 00:19:00 - 00:27:44
Floris Alkemade, Floris Alkemade Architecture, Sint-Oedenrode, Brussels, Paris - 00:27:48 - 00:37:11

Podium Discussion
moderated by Henk Ovink, Director for National Spatial Planning at the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment - 00:37:12 - 01:36:01

Henk Ovink opened the discussion with the observation that the urbanisation of Europe is accelerating despite an aging population. He used the term ‘Re-City‘ to encompass the challenges of transformation, renovation and re-invention and insisted on collaboration among design, politics and an engaged public. He concluded with a series of questions: What and where are the test projects? How does this affect rules and regulations? What about day-to-day urban quality in the context of a perpetual Re-City process?

Podium presentations then raised a number of issues, such as the need ‘to develop a better understanding of the city as found’ [Klaus Overmeyer]; the need for ‘a guided long-term process for the incremental, experimental development of the city with public space as the driver’ [Petra Rutten]; that ‘plans must be flexible in the context of multiple time frames and inclusive processes’ [Lars-Christian Uhlig]; and the view that ‘we shouldn’t ignore the periphery but rather work to emancipate it’ [Floris Alkemade].

It was agreed that Re-City in the EU context demands extensive information gathering and analysis. Regarding tools and instruments there was widespread support for their usefulness to both examine the physical context and to learn how ways of life are manifested in the built environment.

This led to a consideration of the masterplan as a mechanism for Re-City and it was agreed that the small- and large-scales and short- and long-terms must be considered. There was consensus that an effective masterplan must be interactive, flexible and successful at each phase of its implementation. It was agreed that real-world experimentation, such as the government-supported IBA model and ‘free zone’ planning, can refresh the masterplan but it was also noted that meaningful experimentation requires political courage. There was widespread support for the value of an intensive process of client education during which the brief is challenged and potentially modified to facilitate the testing of innovative ideas.

There was extensive discussion of the expanding urban periphery and it was agreed that this complex phenomenon reflects a fundamental disconnect between public desires and the values of design professionals. It was suggested that the periphery represents the most urgent city making challenge in the EU context, one that must be addressed through consultation, analytical research and long-term testing of experimental proposals.

Summary by Matthew Beattie for ANCB The Metropolitan Laboratory

We would like to thank the following institutions and enterprises for their generous support:
Netherlands Ministry for Infrastructure and Environment
Netherlands Architecture Fund
Dutch Embassy in Berlin
Heinrich-Böll Stiftung
Pfefferberg - Haus 13
Kling und Freitag
Friedrich Naumann Stiftung

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