With great pleasure the Independent School for the City and CANactions School announce the international Spring School, themed ‘Borders are for Crossing’! This year we will look at how a city, which is fragmented into disconnected zones and communities, can be connected with the entire world. Planning’s biggest challenge in the 21st century will be to radically address this falling apart. Not with master planning or new system theories, but by using the immense wealth of what is already there and to recompose it into a new whole: a city both here and ‘there’, both big and small, rich and poor, northern and southern, western and eastern: a City of Comings and Goings.
A century old harbour area and a workers neighbourhood, tragically separated from each other but deeply connected to the rest of the world are your subjects. Our challenge to you is to stitch them together after having immersed yourselves in their visible and invisible realities, using all the tools you can find in disciplines ranging from film making to infrastructure design. What we are looking for is giving back meaning to the term ‘Radical Urbanism’, i.e.: to explicitly go against conventional wisdom and dominant trends in urban design and policy making, to hack at the roots (radices) of contemporary urban development that is fragmenting our cities and to make them whole again, whole in themselves and whole with the world. Post graduate students from all over the world with a background in urban studies such as Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Architectural History, Sociology, Anthropology, Political and Cultural Studies, Arts and Media, are invited to apply.
Borders are for CrossingThe city is full of borders. Some are physical and separate places: roads, dikes or railroads. Others are invisible and separate what people do: zoning laws and administrative boundaries. Then there are borders that are less sharply defined but very real nonetheless: between people of different incomes, cultures or with different lifestyles. All day we live with these borders, crossing them or retreating within them.
In this year’s Spring School we are going to expose the visible and invisible borders in an urban area that straddles the cities of Rotterdam and Schiedam: Oud/Nieuw Mathenesse. The area has two sharply divided zones: the first is an early and mid-century housing neighbourhood that has for decades been the destination of migrant workers and other immigrants to find homes, start businesses and families and gradually integrate into the Dutch economy and society. The past decade it has seen a strong influx and rooting down of migrants from Eastern Europe, as witnessed by the many Polish and other eastern European shops and businesses. As such, the area is a prime example of how Rotterdam/Schiedam is a City of Comings and Goings©. The culture and economy of the area are strongly marked by the ongoing exchanges between the local entrepreneurs and families and their homeland markets in the middle east, north Africa and eastern Europe.
To the south of this area, separated from it by a wide sea dyke and a road, lies the second area. Originally it was a large railyard and a port. While the railways have disappeared, the port area is still partly used for warehousing and various industrial activities. Mostly though, it is being restructured into an urban, innovative and creative milieu, as part of the M4H harbour reconversion project. The new users of this area are an international network of companies, creative classes and digital nomads, equally international and footloose as the inhabitants of the housing area at the other side of the dyke.
The irony - and the great spatial and economic challenge - of this juxtaposition is that both areas are examples of the City of Comings and Goings© that our urban environment has become, but that they are separated by all the barriers, visible and invisible, you can imagine. Both areas might have seamless connections with the rest of Europe and beyond but are separated from each other as if by a concrete wall, guards and electronic surveillance.
We will look at this area in a radical way, meaning with the explicit will to go against the dominant trends and to change it fundamentally, to break down the deeply ingrained barriers and make the city whole.
First we will immerse ourselves in the city and use all our senses to understand it in all its complexities and contradictions, its elites and its underdogs. We will use the dirty realities of the city as the raw material out of which we will compose our Ideal New City: one that sticks together, one that has learned to love its own complexity, is not afraid of its contradictions and does not let itself be torn apart by bureaucracy, class or infrastructure.
We will be accompanied by Masters of Looking and Making. There is Jord den Hollander the film director, Herman Kossmann and Edith Gruson the exhibition designers, Gerard Hadders the graphic designer, Miodrag Kuč the interdisciplinary artist and urban theorist, Arnold Reijndorp the urban sociologist, Crimson the architectural historians and urbanists and Kristian Koreman the (landscape) architect. Every Master will give you a different perspective and new insights to come up with a compelling strategy, story or action to reach our goal.
The task of the participants in the Spring School is effectively to connect both areas to each other and to achieve a more complete and more integrated migration-driven urbanism, to make a city that does not divide the different globalised economies and communities on the basis of class or political opportunity, but that keeps them together, maximising their mutual benefits and the benefits to the local communities and economy.
What will you learn?By participating in the Spring School, you will be introduced to the distinct methodology of both Independent School for the City and CANactions School by gaining a deeper understanding of the city’s invisible realities and underlying dynamics. You will learn how to discover and reveal these hidden realities, to interact with them and turning your findings into concrete design tools, in order to develop an inclusive, flexible and sustainable Urban Strategy. Architecture, Urbanism, Sociology, History and Policy-making are inextricably linked in the Spring School programme. During these eight days you will go outside and explore the area, under the professional guidance of outstanding tutors. Research methods will involve photography, writing, history, graphic design, (nightly) fieldwork, planning and architecture.
Be prepared to be challenged to step out of your professional comfort zone and work closely with a mixed group of people from different disciplines from all parts of the world! Apply here!
See the International Spring School website or the Facebook event for more information and the Open Call application.
The Spring School ‘Borders are for Crossing’ is a fresh initiative by two schools, working from different parts of Europe: Independent School for the City (Rotterdam, the Netherlands) and CANactions School (Kiev, Ukraine).
The Independent School for the City, rooted in the daily practices of Crimson Historians & Urbanists and ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles), is an international one year post graduate educational program that combines a critical, activist approach to the city, with effecting real change through architectural and planning projects. It is founded on a strong belief in an incremental, instead of a tabula rasa, approach to city planning which blurs the lines between critique and practice on the one hand, and research and policy on the other.
CANactions is an educational platform, with a mission to enhance the creation of places and communities where people love to live and work. CANactions School for Urban Studies runs an interdisciplinary research-and-design program investigating and reflecting on the western (EU) and eastern (CEE) urban planning and architecture practice in the context of local and global challenges the cities are facing nowadays.
Application and Costs: Open for (post-) graduate students from all over the world with a background in urban studies such as design, planning, sociology, history, architecture, arts, media and other related fields. You can apply here Deadline: 4 February 2019
Application should include: full name, email address, phone number, CV, a motivation letter (max 400 words) and examples of previous work (max 4xA4). Admission will be based on evaluation of the provided documents. The selected participants are announced on the 11th of February 2019.
Registration fee: € 500. This includes field trips, lectures, study materials, bike rental and VAT. Travel to the Netherlands, accommodation and cost of living are not included.
With contributions by: Thijs Barendse, Jeroen de Bok, Elma van Boxel, Ewout Dorman, Mike Emmerik, Edith Gruson, Gerard Hadders, Theo Hauben, Jord den Hollander, Kristian Koreman, Herman Kossmann, Miodrag Kuč, Mirjam Niemeyer, Annuska Pronkhorst, Michelle Provoost, Arnold Reijndorp, Simone Rots, Vladyslav Tyminskyi, Wouter Vanstiphout, Cassandra Wilkins, Valentyna Zotova and more.