PD-r, multiple readings of the urban landscape

Territories for alternative futures in times of profound societal, demographic and economic transformation.

Picture: ‘Bed’, an ongoing street theatre event devised and performed by members of Entelechy’s Elders Performance Company.

Introduction: overriding framework, objectives, content

Studio UFL (Urban Field Lab) deals with acute and profound societal and economic transformations for which alternative spatial responses are sought. Demographic and societal shifts have created a greater diversity of the population but they have also lead to increasingly ageing populations. An intensification of migratory streams and mobility patterns, over-ageing communities, changing work-live conditions, a diversification of household formations, scarcity and unaffordability of living and working spaces, privatisation of hitherto public spaces, the breaking down of infrastructures and the scaling down of public funds, all put enormous pressures on our urban and rural environments and communities. These pressures do not only lead to stark statistics, but they have a real bearing on the everyday lives of citizens. They challenge conventional conceptions of urban planning and space making and redefine our disciplinary roles and framework, prompting us to find novel ways to create spatial territories.

It can be argued that the ‘frozen territories’ that we have devised in our cities to conduct our lives are no longer working. ‘Office block city centres’, ‘mono-dimensional suburban residential structures’ and ‘island-like institutions’ have created territories that isolate realms and ‘freeze’ conditions in space and time. Not only do these structures create an unsustainable doubling up of infrastructures, as each terrain cares and devises means for themselves, they also create bounded spaces, or territories, that are not easily crossed, unless you belong. This may make each entity manageable, but the repetition of such structures does not necessarily create a manageable or sustainable whole. Comparable with what Thomas Sieverts argued to be the constitutional condition of the peri-urban realm (Zwischenstadt) which now comprises most of our urban landscapes, spatial and organizational decisions may appear logical or pragmatic when seen in isolation, yet they do not necessarily add up to a coherent or workable realm when seen in relation to one another (Sieverts, 1898 / 2000). The question arises “who have we left behind?” Which opportunities does this practice steal from us? At the same time one could ask, whether this doubling up has perhaps created an abundance of opportunities to intervene and to reconfigure lost, hidden or doubled up spatial resources?

Further, if we were to approach territories not merely as fixed boundaries, or bounded space, but rather as a space of constant renegotiation of a mapping of social value (Roy, 2004) we might unlock its relational potential. Whilst frontiers and boundaries clearly do exist, whether through physically articulated boundaries or social, cultural or economic boundaries, these spheres are not necessarily coherent or subscribe to the same territorial ‘lines’ (a building can be openly accessible and yet feel impenetrable at the same time). An opening or structural adjustment in one domain, does not necessarily align all other domains, or, as Asin Hasan points out in his examined case, economic liberalisation can at the same time increase socioeconomic divides (Hasan, 2004). Territories are on one hand defined by a system of power to define, manage and control physical but also social and political space, be this in an implicit or explicit manner, but at the same time the making and claiming of territories also has the potential to shift powers, whether this is on the scale of a nation, the local realm, an institution or a room. Territories exist in all scales, and the studio intends to work with this by paying attention to a multi-scalar approach. Territories are also inextricably linked to Formal and Informal structures of inhabitation and space making (Roy, AlSayyad 2004) and are hence intertwined with overriding strategies and employed tactics, as defined by Michel De Certeau (De Certeau 1984).

Whilst the studio will integrate multiple issues resulting from societal changes, such as changing work patterns, increase in mobility needs, diversification of household formations and cultural backgrounds, commodification of land and property, loss of public spheres, etc., our joint lens will zoom in on issues of Ageing Societies and the often undignified institutions, health environments and isolated realms we have created for this phase of our lives, from privatized care “homes”, hospitals that serve as circumstantial nursing homes, homes that have become social traps, to urban and spatial territories that often segregate, exclude or marginalize. Questions arise. Have we created careless care environments that tackle the situation of a thinning of resources in an unimaginative way? Or, have we created invisible societies, covering our collective eyes in an attempt not to see or face our own predictable but unwanted futures? Our lens on Ageing Societies will give rise to explore their territories and tactics, as well as implicit and explicit mechanisms of control, studying also the terrains where older people may have been edited out of the urban realm. Whilst we will deal with these questions the studio’s ambition is not to further isolate the issue of Ageing from the joint common territories that we all inhabit. Contrary to this still dominant practice, we will seek synergies and test alternative options to re-inscribe these territories into our joint realms.

The term Heterodoxy points to our rigorous and creative mission to deviate from accepted and orthodox standards of space making and to test alternatives that respond to shifting societal drifts.

We will devise a multi-scalar approach, working on the global, national, regional, city-wide, localized, inhabited, but also the personal close-up scale, testing and re-scribing established boundaries and territories in drastically contrasting scales, from the room, to the local neighbourhood to overriding infrastructures and civic systems. In doing so we will bring the debate right down to the ground, to the everyday lives of people, whilst at the same time linking it to wider urban systems. The urban condition resides in all scales; with the close-up personal scale being deeply connected to larger urban forces and vice versa (Hall, 2012).

Our point of departure will be an ethnographic reading of space, alongside a rigorous investigation of larger territories and terrains. In preparation to this ‘in-situ’ phase, students will have to situate themselves in the wider debate by undertaking remote research and analysis and by selecting a specific personal focus with which they will start out. We will then tackle the city from within, studying inhabited space and the daily routines of specific protagonists or ‘insiders’, delving deep into personal landscapes, habits and tactics of individual citizens, treating space not as an empty plot, but as a lived space into which we intervene. We will reflect our personal focus on the findings made in-situ to understand how theoretical issues might play out in practice and vice versa. This will also enable us to study how overriding conditions impact personal lives and vice versa. These in-situ ‘insiders’ or ‘protagonists’ will become our real-life experts, as we uncover the inhabited realm, making informal structures and ad-hoc scenarios visible, so that they can offer a possible nurture ground for future scenarios. These close encounters will also enable us to decode and dissect wider systems such as the explicit and implicit rules, hierarchies and codes of institutions, the structures of the health and care sector, and the boundaries and terrains of neighbourhoods and domestic realms. Individual project sites and contexts will emerge from these social engagements.

Rather than creating another set of spatial doctrines, the ambition of the studio is to infuse and enhance, picking up left-overs, making alliances, grafting typologies, crisscrossing territories, using hidden resources and twisting and squeezing opportunities out of the current condition. Whilst our approach will be radical and rigorous, our ambition will be humble: the creation of more dignified – perhaps more uncertain – spaces that invite diverse forms of appropriations, accommodating changes and shifts. Your interventions might focus on the detailed domestic scale or gendered space, editing our idea of home, community or care, and its larger frameworks, or they might concentrate on continuous learning and working environments; they may involve larger-scale structures, creating cross-breads of institutions or infrastructures that may not yet exist, inviting diverse forms of appropriation, under the thematic heading of Heterodoxy. Between fragility and exposure we will construct spaces of dignity and opportunity to inhabit and not only to own.

Students in Brussels and Ghent will be able to set their own agendas and select their own spatial contexts, but a joint focus on demographic change will provide a thematic entry point whilst the spatial context of South- East London, in particular the areas around Depford and Catford, will provide both groups with a possible context to engage with.

London serves as an example of a global city (Saskia Sassen, 1989), where inequality (Hamnettt, 2003), distance, unaffordability, the scaling down and thinning of public funds and public space, increased privatisation of housing and care systems and civic infrastructure all have a bearing on the lives of its citizens. At the same time, London is also a patchwork city, where ad-hoc scenarios and cunning urban and spatial tactics can outwit official strategies, providing an undercurrent that has to be uncovered to be made visible.

Whilst the studio framework will offer London as a possible site, students are very welcome to propose their own contexts, but must commit to a similar research approach, as undertaken by the whole group.

© A. Kutz, KU Leuven, May 2018. All rights reserved. Apart from fair dealing for the purposes of study, research, criticism, or review, no part of this work may be reproduced by any process without written permission from the author.

Program: timing and organization

The studios in Ghent and Brussels will run in parallel and will mostly be organized as joint studios. Students will need to be prepared to work and meet on either campuses each week. Whilst the Brussels students will focus more on an alternative reading of urban landscapes with a greater focus on urban issues, students inscribed in Ghent will focus on issues of sustainability, not only as a technical means, but also in terms of social, cultural and economic sustainability. Both groups will often be situated in the same studio spaces in Ghent and / or Brussels working alongside one another, alternating between both campuses, nurturing a cross-group debate. Students need to commit to undertake at least 2-3 study trips to London, specifically when this is their selected context.

The studio places a high emphasis on using drawings and models not as illustrative methods but as design and research tools that test, evolve and resolve ideas in a rigorous manner. The studio demands a very high engagement from each student to challenge their established working methods and to embrace, often unfamiliar ways of working. The study of key theoretical texts, precedents and theories as well as research into cross-disciplinary fields forms the basis for critical reflection and is key for the formation of a coherent theoretical framework and contextualised position. Research will accompany the thesis project throughout (not just at “the start”). Process driven work and enquiry will form an integral part of the thesis project. The intellectual decision-making process as well as the investigative design development will be on-going throughout the thesis project. For further guidelines, please ensure that you read and understand the Master Dissertation Guidelines.

Key dates

 studio hours Ghent: Wednesday 9h-13h & 14h-18h30 studio hours Brussels: Tuesday 9h-13h & 14h-18h30

 semester 2, Week 14+: announcement of frameworks by academic promotors semester 3, Week 7: in situ research week in London

semester 3, Weeks 10, 11, 12 and 14: research and design sessions (half day a week)

semester 4, Week 1- Febr 13-14 : presentations by each student of initial outcomes: results relevant case studies, literature review, data mining, context and territory analysis, concept and thematical approach and first proposal for architectural intervention

semester 4, Week 2: urban strategy and linked architectural intervention / potential 2nd field trip London

semester 4, Week 3: urban strategy and linked architectural intervention semester 4, Week 4: urban strategy and linked architectural intervention semester 4, Week 5: development of architectural intervention

semester 4, Week 6 – March 20-21 : midterm presentation (internal jury)

semester 4, Week 7- March 27-28 : TABLES Midterm Clash Review – working sessions –

semester 4, Week 8: development of architectural intervention – The Section Day is scheduled in Brussels on April 17th, and in Ghent on April 18th, right after Easter break.

semester 4, Week 9: development of architectural intervention semester 4, Week 10: development of architectural intervention semester 4, Week 11: development of architectural intervention semester 4, Week 12 – May 15-16: delivery draft reflection paper

semester 4, Week 13: architectural intervention and review urban strategy semester 4, Week 14 – May 29-30: pre-jury (intern)

semester 4, Week 15: final development of architectural intervention

semester 4, Week 16: final development of architectural intervention, presentation semester 4, Week 17 – Wedn June 20 Gnt – Thurs June 21 Brsls : final jury (extern)

* Please note that changes to this timetable may happen. Further details about specific workshops and fieldtrips, as well as other studio specific set-ups will be circulated separately. Further details will be provided in the studio reader as well as throughout the course of the thesis project in the design studio. Please ensure that you check your university emails daily, that you frequently log into Toledo and that you follow the discussions and details provided within the studio.

study material



 Elden, Stuart. 2010. ‘Land, terrain, territory.’ Progress in Human Geography 34: 799 – 817. Raffestin, Claude. 1986. “Elements for a Theory of the Frontier.” Diogenes 34(134): 1-18.

Sassen, Saskia. ‘Territory and Territoriality in the Global Economy’. International Sociology, Vol 15(2): 372– 393).

Storey, Davind. 2011. Territories: The claiming of Space. Routledge.

Roy, Ananya and Nezar AlSayyad (Eds.). 2004. Urban informality: transnational perspectives from the Middle East, Latin America, and South Asia. Lanham, Md.: Lexington.

Till, Jeremy (2009). Architecture Depends. MIT Press.


Territory / Urban Theory / Politics / Society / Space

 *Amin, Ash and Graham Stephen. 1997. ‘ The Ordinary City’, Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 22: 411-22.

Bhabha, Homi K. [1994] 2nd edn. 2004. The location of culture. London: Routledge. Introduction, pp. 1-27. Brenner, Neil and Roger Keil (Eds.) (2006). The Global Cities Reader. Abingdon: Routledge.

Campbell, Scott and Susan Fainstein. 2002. Readings in Urban Theory. Oxford: Blackwell Publishers Carmona, Mathew and Steve Tiesdell (Eds.). 2007. Urban Design Reader. Oxford: Architectural Press. Carmona, Mathew, et al. 2003. Public Places, Urban Spaces. Oxford: Architectural Press.

Davoudi, Simin and Derek Bell (Eds). 2016. Justice and Fairness in the City. A Multidisciplinary Approach to ‘Ordinary Cities’. Bristol: Policy Press.

Fainstein, Susan. 2010. The Just City. Ithaca, New York: Cornell University Press.

Harvey, David. 1973. Social Justice and the City. London: Edward Arnold. Harvey, David (2012). Rebel Cities. London: Verso.

  • Harvey, David. 2003. ‘ The Right to the City’. International Journal of Urban Regional Research, vol. 27.4, pp. 939-941.

Latour, Bruno and Peter Weibel. 2005. Making Things Public: Atmospheres of Democracy. Cambridge, Mass.: MIT Press.

*Lefebvre, Henri (1996). ‘ The Right to the City’. In Writings on Cities. Translated and selected by Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas. Oxford: Blackwell.

  • Lefebvre, Henri. 1996. ‘ The Specificity of the City’. In Writings on Cities. Translated and selected by Eleonore Kofman and Elizabeth Lebas. Oxford:

  • Madanipour, A. (2003). Public and Private Spaces of the City. London:

Manzi, Tony, Karen Lucas, Tony Lloyd Jones and Judith Allen (Eds). 2010. Social Sustainability in Urban Areas. Communities, Connectivity and the Urban Fabric. London; Washington, DC: Earthscan, chapters, 1, 10, 11.

Sennett Richard. 1991. The Conscience of the Eye: The Design and Social Life of Cities. London: Faber and Faber. In particular, chapter 5, Exposure, pp. 121–149.

Tillman Lyle, John. 1994. Regenerative Design for Sustainable Development. Wiley: New York.


Space / The Everyday / Spatial Strategy / Ethnography

Bachelard, Gaston. [1958] 1994. The Poetics of Space. Transl. by Orion Press Inc, Beacon Press: Boston.

Certeau, Michel de. 1984. The Practice of Everyday Life, Vol. 1, trans. Steven Rendall. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Goonewardena, Kanishka, et al. 2008. Space, Difference, Everyday Life, Reading Henry Lefebvre, Routledge: New York, chapter 2.

Habraken, N.J. 1998. The Structure of the Ordinary. MIT Press: Cambridge.

  • Hammersley, Martyn and Paul Atkinson. 1983. Ethnography. Principles in Practice, London / New York: Routledge.

  • Hall, Suzanne. 2012. City, Street and Citizen. The Measure of the Ordinary.

Hughes, Jonathan and Simon Sadler (Eds). 2000. Non-Plan: Essays on Freedom, Participation and Change in Modern Architecture and Urbanism, Routledge: New York.

Kaijima, Momoja, Junzo Kuroda and Yoshiharu Tsukamoto (2001). Made in Tokyo. Kajima Institute Publishing Co. Ltd.: Tokyo, Japan.

Low, Setha. 2016. Spatializing Culture: The Ethnography of Space and Place. Taylor & Francis.

Sheringham, Michael. 2009. Everyday Life: Theories and Practices, from Surrealism to the Present, Oxford University Press, chapters 1, 4, 7.

Moran, Joe. 2005. Reading the Everyday. London, New York: Routledge.

Roy, Ananya. 2005. ‘Urban Informality: toward an epistemology of planning’. Journal of the American Planning Association 71(2):147–58.

Sassen, Saskia. 1991. The Global city. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Shove, E., Watson, M., Ingram, J. 2007. The Design of Everyday Life. Oxford, New York: Berg.


Domesticity / Home / Territories

Briganti, Chiara, and Kathy Mezei, eds. (2012). The Domestic Space Reader. The University of Toronto Press: Toronto.

Cieraad, Irene, ed. (1999). At Home. An Anthropology of Domestic Space. New York: Syracuse. Douglas, Mary (1991). ‘ The Idea of a Home: A Kind of Space.’ Social Research 58:1, pp. 287 – 307.

Hanson, J. (1998). Decoding Homes and Houses. Cambridge: University Press. Rybezynski, Witold (1986). Home. A Short History of an Idea. Penguin.


Ageing / Territories

De Beauvoir, Simone (1970 / 1996). The Coming of Age. Translated by Patrick O’Brian. London / New York: Norton.

Huber, Andreas, ed. (2008). New Approaches to Housing for the Second Half of Life. Basel, Boston, Berlin: Birkhaeuser.

Carrington, Leonora (2005). The Hearing Trumpet. London: Penguin Books.

Longman, Phillip (2010). ‘Global Aging’. In Foreign Policy, No.182, Nov 2010, pp.52-58, obtainable through JSTOR.

Simpson, Deane (2015). Young-Old: Urban Utopias of an Aging Society. Zuerich: Lars Mueller.


Further reading

 The UN report on World Population Ageing 2013, Department of Economic and Social A airs Population Division, United Nations, New York, 2013. http://www.un.org/en/development/desa/population/publications/pdf/ageing/WorldPopulationAgeingR eport2013.pdf

The Oxford Institute of population Ageing: http://www.ageing.ox.ac.uk/research/glob- al/pcap/publications

Population Division, DESA, United Nations 9, World Population Ageing 1950-2050: I. Demographic determinations of population ageing. http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/worldageing19502050/pdf/8chapteri.pdf

Housing an Ageing population: the extra care solution. Report by Tim Brown, De Montofrd University, 2011. http://www.dmu.ac.uk/documents/busines-sandlawdocuments/research/cchr/hm1302007458housingana geingpopulationt.pdf

Urbaging: Designing urban space for an ageing society.Prof. Acebillo Josep, NRP 54 “Sustainable Development of the Built Environment”, Swiss National Science Foundation, Mendrisio, 2009. http://www.urbag- ing.ch/fr// les/NRP54_FSReport_16-02_DEF.pdf

Animated map of Population Ageing in the UK, Office for National Statistics, The Ageing of the United Kingdom. http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/interactive/ theme-pages-1-2/age-interactive-map.html

Radio program about the issue of older people often occupying houses that are under-occupied and how to deal with this situation when there is such housing shortage. http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_9619000/9619496.stm

http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/blog/urban-environments- ageing-population-design A newspaper article debating whether urban areas could be viable places for people to grow old.

The Oxford Institute of population ageing http://www.ageing.ox.ac.uk/publications/ageing-horizons UN report on population ageing


UN world population report, 2004 http://www.un.org/esa/population/publications/longrange2/WorldPop2300 nal.pdf

An animated map of ageing http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/interactive/theme-pages-1-2/age-interactive-map. html

Saga (Insurance company) surveys about Ageing https://www.saga.co.uk/news- room/saga-populus-survey- results.aspx

  • Please note that further changes to the reading list will be made throughout the course of the Master

More info: http://internationalmasterofarchitecture.be/2018-19-int-ma-master-dissertation-presentations-june-5-6/

Further timing and organisation – see MD guidelines method of evaluation – see MD guidelines

criteria of evaluation – see MD guidelines output demands – see MD guidelines


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