A one-week studio investigating the different aspects of migration in Rotterdam. with Crimson Historians & Urbanists, taking place from 15 - 19 November 2021 in Rotterdam.
Regular tickets are available for 250 euro. Student tickets are available for 200 euro. For practical reasons, a maximum of 15 participants can take part in this course. For questions, or to qualify for the student discount, please send an email to: Info@Schoolforthecity.nl
Our cities 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. Refugee camps in Europe and the middle east are becoming almost permanent settlements. 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 the outskirts of cities like Brussel, Manchester or Rotterdam.
But despite how it might come across in the heated public debate since the ‘refugee crisis’ of 2015, Migration is not fundamentally more important now, in our own era, than it was in the past. When looking further back, we have to conclude that migration is a fundamental phenomenon in the history of mankind and has always been influential in the development of our cities. Refugees and fortune seekers, artists and workers, poor and rich travelers have always created cities and settlements, influenced culture and shaped our economies. And, just as it does now, migration has caused tension and even upheaval, has contributed to exploitation and inequality and has caused political and social polarization. To move past the current debate and polarised positions, we propose to zoom out of space and time, and to view migration as a general phenomenon as to bring into view the similarities and shared needs of migrant groups instead of their obvious differences. Viewed separately, their problems are driving us apart and, moreover, can rarely be adequately solved. Looked at in the context of migration as a fundamental part of our cities’ opportunities and challenges, perhaps we can come up with more pragmatic approaches.
During this studio we will look at the city of Rotterdam in terms of migration and mobility instead of the usual parameters of settlement and stability. Because of its port and its connection with the rest of the globe, Rotterdam has attracted people from all over the world for centuries already. Nowadays over 170 different nationalities call it their home and the population has become so diverse that Rotterdam has become part of a worldwide family of superdiverse ‘majority-minority’ cities - cities in which more than half of the population has a migration background. The focus of this studio will therefor go beyond the question of asylum seekers but aims to look at a broad range of migrating citizens. From those who just arrived, to others who have been there for generations.
Building upon the research by Crimson Historians & Urbanists, which resulted in the publication “A City of Comings and Goings” (2018) and an exhibition at the 2018 Venice Architecture Biennale, we will carefully investigate different spatial dimensions of migration and put this data in a matrix that allows us to gain a better understanding of the variety of forms of movement and types of migrants in Rotterdam. Within the jargon of European immigration policy, migrants are considered as a series of highly distinct categories: asylum seekers, labour migrants, expats, creative migrants, academics, international students, digital nomads, etc. Entitlements, accommodation and other provisional solutions are organized accordingly. However, a tension can be observed between the dynamic nature of migration and these rigid policy and housing practices. This dynamic nature implies that people have various motivations to leave or stay, they take various routes, they arrive in many circumstances and communities, and they develop different qualities and perspectives after they have arrived. People can also shift between different ‘migrant categories.’ That’s why instead of only emphasising the distinction between different migrant categories, the matrix could also be used to examine common grounds, find new insights and challenge pluralism.
Participants in this studio will work in groups to investigate a specific migrant group and analyse the different aspects of migration such as their representation in culture and media, trajectories, policies and legislation, job opportunities, their accommodation options, and existing and preferred amenities of the migrants. We’ll use newspaper clippings, maps, interviews, and all possible means to get an as detailed as possible understanding of migration in Rotterdam, its traces, manifestations, and influences on the city.
Mike Emmerik is School Coordinator of the Independent School for the City and partner at Crimson Historians & Urbanists. He was trained as an urban designer at the Delft University of Technology and subsequently worked in the Faculty of Architecture as a teacher and researcher within the Chair of Design as Politics. Mike took part in various research and design projects at the intersection of urban development and policymaking and is affiliated with the Dutch Board of Government advisors from which he advises the national government and local authorities about issues related to urbanisation and mobility.
Michelle Provoost is part of the Dean Team of the Independent School for the City, co-founder of Crimson Historians and Urbanist, and director of the International New Town Institute. As an architectural historian she is specialised in urban planning history, postwar architecture and contemporary urban development. Michelle has taught at various universities in the Netherlands and abroad and continues to be in great demand as a public speaker. She lectures regularly throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, and has been involved in many municipal, national and private committees and juries.
Wouter Vanstiphout is an architectural historian and researcher who has written extensively on urbanism and spatial politics. He is part of the Dean Team of Independent School for the City and co-founder of Crimson Historians & Urbanists. From 2008 to 2020 he held the Design & Politics chair at the Technical University in Delft, with which he explored, researched and defined the boundaries, commonalities and tensions between the fields of politics and design. As a practitioner he has directed the renewal of the Dutch industrial satellite town of Rotterdam: Hoogvliet and advises municipalities, the national government, housing corporations and project developers on matters relating to urban renewal, cultural heritage and spatial and urban politics. From 2012 to 2016, he was a member of the national advisory council on the environment and infrastructure (RLI).
Monday 15 November
Introduction lectures and excursion
Tuesday 16 November
Desk research and group discussion
Wednesday 17 November
Desk research and fieldwork
Thursday 18 November
Desk research and fieldwork
Friday 19 November
Work on output and final presentations