Expo #3 Round-up

Last week we met up for Urbanistas RDAM Expo #3 and we had a great night! A big thank you to all new and returning Urbanistas for participating and making it, again, a very inspiring and informative event.

This time the Urbanistas gathered South of the Maas at AIR, who were so kind to host this edition. We filled our glasses and stocked up on some snacks to spend the night discussing various exciting topics and projects pitched by Carolien, Hedwig and Selina.

CAROLIEN HOOGLAND, who works for NEN and teaches at the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design (RAvB), kicked off the night with an experiment about favourite and not so favourite urban environments, demonstrating her interactive teaching methods for her course at the RAvB She then gave us some more insight into her classes, which deal with environmental psychology and the social aspects of (urban) design. Finally, she connected the subjects of her academic teaching to the topic of gender and gender inequality, questioning if and how feminist thinking could be an integrated part of urban and architectural design education. A super interesting and lively discussion ensued, touching on topics about gender and feminism in our professions.

HEDWIG VAN DER LINDEN, who is a researcher at the TU Delft and a designer at Studio for New Realities, brought a more specific topic to our attention: Rotterdam. She told us about her graduation project, which researched ways to revive the hidden and underused “expeditiestraten” that make up ten percent of our city centre. She is currently exploring how to turn these plans into reality. Her question for the Urbanistas was to help formulate new ideas on what these seemingly forgotten public spaces could mean for the future of Rotterdam and, more practically, how we as architects, urbanists, urban psychologists and city lovers could play a more prominent role in initiating and developing programmes and projects for the city. This led to an insightful conversation about the practical aspects of initiating projects and moving initiatives forward.

SELINA ABRAHAM, an independent researcher who also collaborates with the Veldacademie, then took the floor and shared with us her “Visual Handbook for Inclusive Urbanism”. She is developing this handbook to create a value-based design model to help urban designers achieve a more inclusive design-thinking process. The handbook builds on the values formulated by the Just City Lab of Harvard GDS and the Urbanistas got a sneak-preview of its contents, beautifully illustrated with urban “patterns” that offer spatial or policy solutions for urban design questions. The group was asked to reflect on the prototypes for these patterns and the handbook itself. We also wondered if the Urbanistas would be interested in participating in a workshop by Selina, working on a specific urban issue and applying the solutions offered by the handbook. A majority of those present expressed their interest, so we will get to work to make this happen this in the near future!