PD-r/ADO, Engendering Flanders Landscape – urban living

When in The Housing Question Engels was striving for a definitive solution to the housing question, he was explicitly referring to utopian models which proposed the dissolution of the antithesis between town and country. The housing question, which is even more pressing today, cannot be solved by palliative solutions. If we do not go beyond the understanding of the territory as divided between the city and the countryside, or of domestic space as divided between shelter and production, of proprietor logics versus commons, we can expect the housing question to continue presenting challenges of accessibility and affordability for the decades to come. The studio Homes for Flanders further develops a research path initiated during the current academic year (2017-18) and centered on the problem of housing and domestic space, with a specific focus on both Flanders and Brussels.
The research is part and the second step of a longer trajectory (ADO project) that will run for two more years and will culminate in a publication and exhibition. While the starting point of the research is the need for a large amount of new living units resulting from the changing demographic and socio-economic conditions of this part of Europe (it is foreseen that 300.000 housing units need to be built by 2030 in Flanders), the specific focus of this year’s studio is property and the idea that new forms of ownership should be based on the notion of the ‘common’, thus bypassing the traditional dialectic relationship between public and private.

While this notion has been extensively studied by different disciplines, acquiring new impetus in the recent years, its application to the field of architecture is mostly limited and confined to the study of the urban common, the organization and management of territorial resources and of their consequent spatial implications. Applications to the field of housing are mostly limited and concerned exclusively with the development of alternative models of urban dwellings such as ‘co-housing’ and ‘co-living’. The studio will explore the possibility of deploying the logics of alternative forms of ownership in urban, suburban and rural territories not simply to develop new forms of communality among inhabitants, but also as the step to trigger new forms of production, local subsistence and ultimately the architectural forms of a new domestic space.