Academie voor Architectuur en Stedenbouw - Tilburg
The sly rhetoric of Dutch participatory society
In our opinion, city development is primarily about ethics rather than aesthetics. Urban values are meant to be human. We militate in favour of planning principles not just for physical solutions (designing infrastructure for the city), but also for planning approaches that maintain and develop the existing city and contribute to a healthy social and cultural system (designing places for people). Based on a city laboratory, this case study evolved into a guidebook for city makers and placemakers in a changing society. Mo, Frans and Geert have an opportunity to realize their dreams while contributing to the total development of the Canal Zone in Eindhoven. To make the dreams of our people come true, we should not start with data and science or with determining the task. Knowing is not simply a matter of measuring. To know is to explore and visualize who Mo, Frans, Geert and others exactly want to be and are. Our approach develops out of existing energies and we trust the natural flow that occurs. Attention, care, apprehension and trust are the key words for healthy city development (ethics) and simultaneously the first steps of spatial design research (aesthetics). We investigate and visualize the essence until the shareholders recognize it. And then, almost spontaneously, a perspective for the future appears. Thanks to our talent in finding unexpected treasures by coincidence but through intelligence: serendipity. We do not work with fixed panoramas for the future. Instead, we operate with flexible and interchangeable snapshots. Mo, Frans and Geert start to develop self-government, but with support from professionals, making true ownership. It is the art of smart crossovers between several individual developments with their own dynamics to create an exponential value for the greater good.