Atlantis magazine 30.2 global dreams

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#30.2 March 2020

Global Dreams




We could not be as visible as we are without the great effort of a lot of active students. With their help and the support of our partners and sponsors, we can organise excursions, lectures, workshops, drinks and events. The Polis board wants to thank all the people involved for their great efforts and positive input.

Dear Polis Members,

From last year’s theme ‘territor(e)alities’ which addressed the concept of spatiality arising from various networks of processes, we shift the focus to the outset of the ideas, movements and instruments that inform these processes. The aim is to bring attention to the birth of changes. Hence the word ‘Genesis’.


The recent trip to Casablanca, Fez, Merzouga and Marrakech with our very own Big Trip committee was a huge success. 22 students of Landscape Architecture and Urbanism had the opportunity to immerse themselves in the beautiful Moroccan culture for a week and learn about the architecture, visit interesting housing projects, gaze at the stars in the desert and wander about the secret gardens.The Education Committee is constantly striving to bring positive changes to the curriculum and the PR Committee, the one to tie all the committees together, continues to connect Polis with the rest of the world.

CHAIRPERSON Ganesh Babu RP SECRETARY Surbhi Agrawal (urbanism) Gary Gilson (Landscape) TREASURER TBA ATLANTIS Lucas di Gioia Maciej Gorz TRIPS Kinga Murawska Jan Houweling EVENTS Asmita Puspasari EDUCATION Divya Gunnam Francesca Mazza PR Sanjana Shettigar Zhongjing Zhang

JOIN US We are always looking for enthusiastic people to join. Interested in one of the Polis committees? Do not hesitate to contact us at our Polis office (01.west.350) or by e-mail:

SUBSCRIBE Not yet a member of Polis? For only €17.50 a year as a student of TU Delft, €30 for individual membership, or €80 for professional organizations you can join our network! You will receive our Atlantis Magazine four times a year, a monthly newsletter, possibility to publish and access to all events organized by Polis. E-mail to find out more.

Reflecting on the achievements of Polis in 2019, we are excited to see what the new year has in store for us. With that, the Polis Board is proud to present the second issue of ‘Genesis’ with an exciting set of articles to read from around the world.

Finally, we stand at a point of transition where the current Polis team has just handed over the baton to the new team that will be taking over the board and committees in the upcoming year. We welcome Ganesh Babu RP, Surbhi Agrawal, Gary Gilson, Maciej Gorz, Lucas Di Gioia, Kinga Murawska, Jan Houweling, Asmita Puspasari, Divya Gunnam, Francesca Mazza, Sanjana Shettigar and Zhongjing Zhang to the board of ’20-’21. We had a great time this past year and can wholeheartedly say that we have grown tremendously as a group. The Polis board of ’19-’20 thanks the team members, board of advisors, sponsors, patrons and our beloved student members. We could not have done it without you. We wish the new board and team all the best for the coming year! To join one of our committees on this exciting journey, send us an email for more information or feel free to join us for a quick chat or coffee at our Polis Office! Warm Regards from the Polis Board 2019 Tapasya Mukkamala, Sankarnath P M, Mark Scholten, Ingrid Staps, Tanvi Gupta and Oumkaltoum Boudouaya

To start off, Atlantis takes a journey in time through the lens of ‘genesis’ with a focus on renewal or (re)birth of perceptions and practices over time. The theme itself is then viewed under different lenses – from a broad perspective of global phenomena, to a scaled down point of view of local implications, and through methods and tools that could aid the birth of new planning and design perspectives, with the stories unfolding little by little across the issues. These perspectives are based on the way the shift unfolds, the agents and processes involved in the shift and the extent to which they influence contemporary urbanism and landscape architecture. In addition, the theme of ‘genesis’ wants to celebrate the positive experience of the magazine Atlantis, and the student association Polis, which celebrates its 30th anniversary this academic year. In this sense, ‘genesis’ is not intended as a break from the past, but rather as a metamorphosis, or a shift from it. Many things have happened in the context of our university, our discipline and our world. This anniversary represents an opportunity to critically reflect on those changes and to start anew. Interested in contributing? Email us at:

Editorial Wit h t h i s i s s u e, we c o n t i nu e o u r jour ney throug h ‘ge ne s is ’, s ta r ting from a la rge r p e r s p e c t i ve. Vo l u me 30, Is s ue 30.2– ‘Globa l Dre a m s ’, will s e e k to exp lo r e gl o b al d r e ams a n d t h eir tra ns itions. The ove ra ll p e r s p e ctive is bro a d a n d ai me d at u n d e r s t an ding the ‘why’ a nd ‘how’ of big cultura l s hifts in urb a n i s at i o n p a t t e r n s. I t w ill p re s e nt new id e a s tha t have e nte re d the c o m m o n mi n d s e t o f L a n d s c a p e a rchite cture a nd Urba nis m in re ce nt ye a r s, a nd i t w i l l s p e c u l a t e o n t h e fu ture one s to com e. W h ile ex p l o r i n g t h e c o n c ep t o f ‘p a ra d ig m s ’, this is s ue will d ire ct the d is c u s s i o n t oward s t h e b i r t h of p a tte r ns a nd m od e ls of urba nis a tion a nd o f h ow t h ey c ame t o b e. T h i s i ss ue exp lore s the s ta r ting p oint of s hifts, or d rea m s, i n t i me – s o c i e t al , e c o nom ic, p olitica l, cultura l a nd othe r s, tha t d rove t h e c h an ge i n t h e c o mmo n m ind s e t. S uch s hifts ofte n have a la rge a re a o f inf l u e n c e an d r e f l e c t r eg i o n a l or g loba l p he nom e na . T h is e d i t i o n o f A t l a n t i s fe a t u r es a r ticle s tha t outline p a tte r ns tha t occur o n a l a r ge r s c a l e, fr o m d i f fe r e nt viewp oints – obje ctive a nd s ubje ctive, a nd at d i f fe r e n t mo me n t s i n t im e, with s om e re f le cting on the m a nd s om e p av in g t h e way fo r ward . T h e ar ticle s cove r top ics ra ng ing from p la nning t h a t f o l l owe d t h e N a z i v i s i o n , a nd s ta nd a rd is a tion of hous ing throug hout t h e S ov i e t U n i o n t o r e c o n s t r u cting colonia l na r ra tive s throug h s p a ce a nd p la nn i n g fo r t h e N e o a n t h r o p o ce ne. Fro m t h i s i s s u e, t h e r e s t o f Vo lum e 30 will a ls o fe a ture a s p e cia l s e ction c a lled ‘ M E G A’ , t h a t w i l l ex p l o r e the concep t of Meg a reg ions, reg iona l d evel o p me n t a n d d e s i g n . I n t h i s is s ue, the s e ction will s ta r t of f with t h e t e r m i t s e l f, d e l v i n g i n t o va rious d e finitions a nd inte r p re ta tions of m eg ar egi o n s, o f fe r i n g v i ew s o n e m p loying the concep t a s a tool a nd the c h a ll e n ge s t h a t c o me w i t h i t . T he s e ction the n ta ke s a m a g nifie d view o f t he G r e a t e r B ay A r e a , bu i l d i ng on the collabora tive m a s te r’s cour s e bet we e n t h e G BA ex ( G r e a t e r B ay Are a Extre m e ), The H ong Kong Polyte chnic U nive r s i t y ( Sc h o o l o f D e s i gn ) , the TU De lft (Dep a r tm e nt of Urba nis m ) a nd t h e I n t e r n at i o n al Fo r u m o n U r ba nis m a nd reve a ling a lte r na tive p la nning a p p ro a c h e s u s i n g ga me b o ard ing s ce na rios to a d d re s s va rious cha lle nge s in t h e reg i o n . T h e s e c h al l e n ge s a r e d e line a te d in four na r ra tive s d eve lop e d by t h e s t u d e n t s, e ac h o f wh i c h ex plore s a s p e cific tool for reg iona l d e s ig n, a s w ill b e fu r t h e r ex p l ai n e d i n t h e s ubs e que nt is s ue s. T h e i s s u e c o n c l u d e s w i t h s e l e cte d works of Urba nis m a nd La nd s ca p e a rc h i t e c t u r e s t u d e n t s. L a s t ly, f ollowing the the m e of the is s ue, the cove r s up er i mp o s e s ‘ wo r l d v i ew s ’ fr om d is tinct ge og ra p hica l p e r s p e ctive s, s h ow i n g t h e var i a t i o n i n c l ar i t y of e a ch p e r s on’s m ind m a p of the world . I n t h e u p c o mi n g i s s u e s w i t h i n this volum e, following the na r ra tive s o ut lin e d i n ‘ G l o b al D r e ams ’ , we will s hift the focus onto loca l s ocio-s p a tia l im p li c at i o n s o f gl o b al p r o c e s s e s a nd p a tte r ns, a nd s ubs e que ntly, onto tools a nd me t h o d s t h a t h ave e i t h e r em e rge d in re ce nt ye a r s or have the p ote ntia l t o in t h e fu t u r e. Wis hi n g yo u a l l a h a p py r e ad ! E d it o r s - i n - C h i e f K av ya K a lya n (c o nte n t ) S t ef a n o A gl i a t i (layo u t ) Po lis B o a rd Rep r e s e n t a t i ve I ng rid St ap s

Contents Atlantis news

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Impact Day by Surbhi Agrawal

10 14 16 22 24 30

European Cases by Maciek Gรณrz and Ganesh Babu RP

Operational Landscapes by Lucas di Gioia

Soviet Dreams by Janis Berzins Planning Augmented Cities in the Neoanthropocene by Maurizio Carta Koyaanisquatsi by Maciek Gรณrz Challenging Space for Commemoration by Laura Thomas World Views by the board MEGA

34 38 40 46 48 50 52

Extending the definition of Mega-regions/Macro-regions by Surabhi Kandelwal What is MEGA? by Henry Endemann Defining a GBA planning approach by Peter Hasdell & Gerhard Bruyns Point Territories by Ioanna Virvidaki et al. Interweaving fragments by Jahnavi Bhatt et al. Trans-territorial equilibration by Herny Endemann et al. Identity within diversity by Elisa Isaza Bernhard et al. Urbanism and Lanscape projects

54 56 58 60

Delving into the Meertensgroeve by Floor den Ouden Hortus Oculus by Gary Gilson The Montage Story by Jie Chu Portrait of Velsen by Elzbieta Zdebel




October 2019

Impact Day by Surbhi Agrawal Msc Urbanism TU Delft

The Impact Day, organized by Delft Global on 26th November, combined presentation of ongoing research under the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at TU Delft. As a part of the various workshops, a coffee-table workshop called ‘Creating Inclusive Cities and Communities’ was organized by the Global Urban Lab. A seminar was conducted, during which they presented their vision and on-going projects in order to discuss further cooperation and collaboration with internal and external stakeholders. Cities and communities in the Global South further suffer from the consequences of an increasingly unequal distribution of the burdens and benefits of development such as unregulated growth, non-inclusive development models, and social and environmental mismanagement. Around 880 million people live in inadequate housing and urban conditions in cities in Low-and-Middle-Income (LMI) countries. Moreover, the urban population is expected to increase to 2.5 billion people by 2050 as a result of the migration from the countryside to the city and the growth of the world’s population. This will put an even higher pressure on the living conditions and the way we are shaping our urban environment. The goal of Global Urban Lab is to support the creation of inclusive, healthy and fair living environments where people can lead the lives they value. In the workshop, the discussions were divided into four groups under the Global Urban Lab pillar. The workshop provided a platform to discuss the values that define inclusive cities and communities. What do people progress, people, planet and prosperity mean in the context of creating inclusive cities and communities? An exhibition focused on housing the urban invisibles from the 'Global Housing Studio' was also presented in the workshop.


Group 1: Housing as an urban project

Group 3: Healthy and fair public spaces

• Housing should be developing balance between individual rights and community involvement for maximum resilience and collective welfare.

• How to define health space? Important element to elaborate while basic sanitation standards can be understood differently according to different geographical backgrounds

• Global financialization of housing is a highly relevant topic that should be developed from more social perspectives. Counterexamples developing co-ownership should be more elaborated.

• How to build fair space? Can spatial justice be build by sense of ownership? • How proper understanding of community can help in community involvement in creation of healthy and fair public spaces?

• Housing as an urban project should focus on trust-building in the long term process.

Group 2: Effective views and sustainable management of urban resources

Group 4: Citizen engagement and empowerment

• Development of small scale, bottom-up energy systems is more important than top-down approaches.

• Important development of time, trust, and translation

• Co-creation of distributed energy systems is important, not only in large cities but also smaller ones in the context of the global south. Development of small scale distribution systems is highly important for the future of informal settlements.

Fig. 1.  Impact Day event. Retrieved

from status/1199690514737647616


• Topic of community trauma should be elaborated in terms of time and trust, with high emphasis on communicating ethics and values. • Developing role of mediators, sharing language and crossing rationality conflicts.

ATLANTIS Operational Landscapes

by Lucas di Gioia Msc Urbanism TU Delft

Back in September, the Global Urban Lab (Platform part of the TU Delft Global Initiative) invited Nikos Katsikis to lecture about his recent research titled: Operational landscapes: The Metabolic Basis of Planetary Urbanization. Nikos Katsikis is an architect and urbanist working at the intersection of urbanization theory, design. and geospatial analysis. He holds a doctorate in Design from Harvard Graduate School of Design, and is currently research tutor at the Royal College of Arts, London, as well as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Luxembourg and affiliated researcher at ETH-Zurich Future Cities Laboratory, and at the Urban Theory Lab, Harvard GSD.

1 Fig. 1.  Nikos Katsikis lecture Operational Landscapes: The Metabolic Basis of Planetary Urbanization at TU Delft, 26th of September 2019. Source: Lucas Di Gioia

Fig. 2.  Soy plantation in Nebraska, USA. Source: Google Maps, 2020.

Fig. 3.  The Planetary Thünen Town at the beginning of the twenty-first century. Agglomeration zones

in orange, plotted against the totality of the used part of the planet in black, including agricultural lands (cropland, grazing), forestry zones, mining areas, and transport infrastructure (ground, marine). Source: Neil Brenner and Nikos Katsikis.

The predominant discourse affirms that urban growth is aligned with positive agglomeration externalities, being recognized and praised as the generator of economic value. As capital agglomerates, urbanized areas grow and densify accordingly. Recent UN Habitat has shown that these urban agglomerations present around the world are responsible for 70% of global GDP, yet only covering 3% of earth’s surface. These urban hubs are responsible for much of what is consumed from the output of global production, driving national and regional economies.

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NEWS Yet, who produces what will be consumed? This is the question that motivates Nikos Katsikis to dive into the global production organization complexities and the networks and relationships that structure these systems on a global scale. As city limits become ever more blurred and undefined, the importance to understand the geographical organization and spatialization becomes ever so necessary. As he puts it, “Cities cannot survive by themselves� and so, vast networks and territories are destined to attend to the consumption needs of these urban agglomerations - known as hinterlands. In a hyperconnected global system of networked urban agglomerations and productive landscapes, the notion of city and hinterland is not capable of encompassing the totality of these interconnected relationships. In fact, most of the consumption products of cities that command globalization trends today are brought in from distant regions around the world and can only sustain their growth and livability if done through unsustainable methods. In order to maintain the consumption and productive needs of such urban agglomerations, primary production sectors (agriculture, mining, forestry), circulation and waste disposal became highly specialized and inserted into the circuit of global agglomeration. These highly specialized regions are dictated by the global market of commodities and are arranged over the territory in order to service global demands, often denying the

October 2019 local realities in which they are inserted. Considering the concentration of GDP in urban agglomerations, it is even more significant to analyze the explosion of primary commodity trade, which has grown two to three times faster than global population, symptoms of our current model of development. As these productive landscapes become globalised they move away from selfsufficiency, becoming highly specialized. Certain commodities are only found in certain places around the world, and thus accentuate their concentrated condition, producing literal islands of production. These can be considered as pure operational landscapes, where an entire territory is subjugated in order to service such production. Looking specifically into the agricultural global production, Katsikis points out that as urban agglomerations spread, they pressure the limited areas of the world that are suitable for agricultural production. What we witness today with the deforestation of tropical regions around the world can be directly related with the capture of more fertile land destined for agricultural production, specifically for soy and corn production which will in its majority be reverted to livestock feed. These territories can be considered hinterlands to the hinterlands of cities, not directly linked to human nutrition, but actually to serve the production of grain for cattle or energy.

Katsikis uses the American Midwest corn belt as a pure operational landscape showcase. This region is highly specialized towards the production of soy and corn with massive yields, acting more as a productive facility than a landscape. Due to optimal environment conditions and water availability, farmers need only to seed the land, leaving the nurturing of the soil to nature with minimal use of fertilizers. These monocultural landscapes represent in some states more than 90% of their production. Gradually, these regions are being depopulated and becoming more and more productive. The yield is not restricted only to livestock feed or other derivatives but also, depending on the market demand and potential profit, transformed into biofuel to serve as energy for other productive sectors of the country, even if this is considered inefficient from an energy transfer chain perspective. These are profit landscapes, built to perform as the global markets wish, since these dictate what will be planted in these territories and their opportunity costs for production. Nikos Katsikis brings an insightful perspective to the discussion on world urbanization atnd the positive externalities that contribute to the prosperity of nations and their people. By comprehending the complexity of our urban agglomeration scales and the regions devoted to serve our consumerist way of life, we can tackle with more precision the agents of geographical re-organization - both socially and ecologically - on a planetary scale.

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European Cases National socialist planning aspirations

by Maciek Gรณrz Ganesh Babu R.P. Msc Urbansim TU Delft



Vol. 30

Urbanists around the world like to start their talks with this one famous statistic, that the world experienced a major tipping point in 2007, when more than half of the world lived in urban areas. Maybe we prefer this statistic as it establishes the importance of the profession, and the importance of urban areas as the preferred typology of human settlement.

All territories, which according to Nazis were historically German, or populated by the “Nordic race” or by “non-Aryan races” (Untermenschen), were to be annexed by the Third Reich and later spatially, socially, and economically unified. Other countries, like France or Hungary, were designated as gradually Germanized puppet states, or de facto colonies.

Norwegian coast. Although it was initiated by Hitler in spring 1942 as a military operation of fortifying Europe, it was followed by a long-term regional vision. Hitler dreamed of his empire as a global sea power, so he gave great importance to a polycentric network of modern port cities. The only known parts of that plan were revealed during the Nuremberg Trials.

Whatever be the case, it is undeniable that the world is urbanising at unprecedented rates. Around the world, we see megacities and their influence circles merging into one, especially in Asia. With this, there is a renewed interest to design beyond the regional scale - at the mega-region scale.

Although the New Order was publicly proclaimed by Adolf Hitler in 1941, it’s ideological framework was developed in the years 1933-1938 and it was being put into practice since the annexation of Austria in 1938. For anyone who got to know Hitler’s vision during his reign, there was no doubt that the only way to achieve it was through horrendous means: many years of military conquests, ethnic cleansing, mass resettlement and imposed Germanization.

Notable port cities like Nantes, Le Havre, Cherbourg, Dunkirk or Rotterdam would be thoroughly rebuilt after the war. Eventually, the western and northern European coastline would be a strip of military quasicolonies with almost exclusively German inhabitants. However, the most ambitious part of the strategy was the construction of an entirely new city of 300,000 inhabitants located 20 km southwest of the Norwegian city of Trondheim. Hitler commissioned his favourite architect Albert Speer to plan the city of Nordstern and imagined it as German Singapore, connected with Berlin by the Trans-Scandinavian highway.

While these mega regions represent a lot of uncertainties and loose ends, they also represent a lot of opportunities at a scale that was never before explored. As is typical of the profession of urban planning, uncertainties make us anxious, and we want to tame it to project a predictable and prosperous future. Is this the future of the profession in a rapidly urbanising, globalised world? As the most urbanized continent on the planet, Europe has had its fair share of good and bad practices in urban planning of various scales and sizes. As George Santayana said, ‘those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.’ To learn from our past, we would like to take a closer look at a particular nefarious attempt at megaregion planning from Europe’s dark past in the first half of the last century.

Current knowledge of the Nazi vision of Europe is based on incomplete archive material; various, only partially systematized projections. The spatial strategy was strictly related to the dynamics of military campaign, so it evolved abruptly throughout the years of World War II. It is worth highlighting the plans that bloomed in the years 1941-1942 and can be considered as the most radical attempts of mega-region planning in Europe, if not the world. The Atlantic Wall - planning the European waterfront The Atlantic Wall was a major project carried out in the north-western occupied territories; from the French to the

The construction of Nordstern was abandoned a few months after it had started, when the Third Reich began a series of military defeats. The Atlantic Wall left substantial scars on the coastal cities of France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Denmark. Many of them had to rebuild their waterfronts demolished during the fortification of the coastline. Führerstadt and Welthaupstadt Germania - planning the European capital Inland Germany would eventually become

The New order and the vision of The Greater Reich The New Order (Neuordnung) was the central geopolitical concept created during Hitler’s reign. Nazi vision of new Europe presented the whole continent dominated by one state; the Greater Germanic Reich encompassing an immense territory from Eastern France to Ural Mountains, and from Italy to the Arctic. Territorial claims of The Greater Germanic Reich were justified, if at all, by the dubious mix of mythical and historical references. Fig. 1.  Exhibition Planning and

Construction in the East. Source: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft Archives. Fig. 2.  Nazi propaganda poster of the Third Reich in 1939 (dark grey) after the conquest of Poland. It depicts pockets of German colonists resettling into Polish areas. Source: Wikimedia commons.

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a prosperous capital region of Europe. The hierarchy of cities was meant to be reshaped according to the Führer’s personal preference. Five cities; Berlin, Hamburg, Linz, Munich and Nuremberg received a unique status of Führerstadt and were designated for the biggest urban growth framed by monumental urban design. In fact, the final goal of the New Order was to create a Europe of never-seen disparities, where most of the continent was designated to become an exploited colony, while the majority of profits and privileges was focused in a relatively small group of monoethnic cities. Among them Berlin would play a pivotal role as Welthaupstadt Germania, the capital of the world. The unfailing Albert Speer satisfied the Führer with his monumental urban design. Intimidating colonnades, domes, wide avenues and horizontal edifices were perfectly embodying the ideology of National Socialism. Generalplan Ost - first attempts in megaregion planning While, none of the visions mentioned before were as dangerous and detailed as Generalplan Ost (Main Plan for the East). This master plan, created in the years 1939-1942, was introducing the megaregion perspective to Eastern Europe. Its main goal was to unify conquered territories with Germany, through the complete transformation of the landscape, the economic optimization of land use, and cultural and ethnic cleansing. The plan was created within an official institution; the Reich Commissioner for the Consolidation of German Nationhood (RKFDV), by professional spatial planners. The team was led by Konrad Meyer, spatial planner and a member of the Schutzstaffel. Meyer, before the war, was a professor at the University of Berlin and chief editor of the main journals on spatial planning, but during his work at RKFDV, became Heinrich Himmler’s closest collaborator. Among Meyer’s subordinates was Walter Christaller who, after the war, gained international recognition for his Central Place Theory, explaining the spatial distribution of cities across the landscape. Christaller was an opportunist and wanted to apply his Central Place Theory. He worked on reconfiguring the economic geography of occupied territories. It is not a coincidence that Meyer and Christaller were interested in the countryside and the productive landscape


more than cities; in fact urban growth was not a goal, because rural territory was easier to control. What is shocking is that, modernist means like scientific theories, organisational techniques and algorithms were used to achieve goals of Nazi ideology based on mythical history, dogma and bigotry. The Generalplan Ost was publicly presented at an exhibition in Berlin in spring 1941. Innocent-looking maps and diagrams were explaining mass murders, displacement of local population and German settlement. Multi-scalarity was truly modernist: visitors could look at a map of transcontinental highways, a new network of cities and regional zoning, then discover models of standardized German farmsteads and even look at house interiors. 12

In the archive photograph from the exhibition one can see Konrad Meyer, the chief planner of the Generalplan Ost. With anxiously folded hands he explains his project to the highest Nazi officials: Heinrich Himmler, Rudolf Hess and Philipp Bouhler. This brings us to the question of the role of planners working for criminal regimes. Conclusion Authoritarian governments around the world have used urban planning at various scales as a tool to establish political ideology spatially and reinforce a new order in the past. While most countries in Europe are more democratically inclined and represent the needs of people to a large degree today, it is not yet the case in most countries around the world. With megaregion planning, there is always

Vol. 30

the danger of the removal of nuances at the micro-scale. It is incredibly difficult to factor in the subtleties between different local cultures that evolved due to differences in geography, climate and resource availability while planning megaregions. While megaregions might seem like an inevitability in a fast urbanising and globalising world, with a thirst for evergrowing economic development, the downfalls of such an approach are too valuable for human civilisation to be ignored. Without sounding like conspiracy theorists, we would like everyone to be vigilant of the possibilities of nefarious political aspirations behind mega region planning as seen so far, which should not be lost in all the discussions about efficient allocation and conservation of resources that are generally the most discussed aspects of megaregion planning. Revisiting botched attempts of the past and being aware of them can help us be ethically right urban planners and designers, who are not lost to grand opportunities of authoritarian governments.

Rich, Norman (1972). Hitler's War Aims: Ideology, the Nazi


State and the Course of Expansion, p. 212. Speer, Albert (1970). Inside the Third Reich, page 260. Macmillan Company, 1970. Giaccaria, Paolo; Minca Claudio (2016). Hitler's Geographies: The Spatialities of the Third Reich, University of Chicago Press Saunders, Anthony (2001). Hitler's Atlantic Wall: Fortress Europe. University of Michigan 5. Madajczyk Czesław (1990). Generalny Plan Wschodni: Zbiór dokumentów, Główna Komisja Badania Zbrodni Hitlerowskich w Polsce, Czytelnik x Mullin J.R., Ideology, Planning theory and the German city in the interwar years, (1982). In: Town Planning Review. Vol. 53, No.3. ( cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=john_mullin)

5 Fig. 3.  Atlantic wall extent along the western

European coastline. Source: Wikimedia Commons. Fig. 4.  Walter Christaller ’s map of central places in conquered western Poland from 1941. (photo source: Struktur und Gestaltung der Zentralen Orte des Deutschen Ostens, Gemeinschaftswerk im Auftrage der

Reichsarbeitsgemeinschaft fur Raumforschung, Teil 1, Dr. Walter Christaller, Die Zentralen Orte in den Ostgebieten und ihre Kultur- und Marktbereiche, K. F. Koehler Verlag, Leipzig, 1941). Fig. 5.  The map from 1941 shows the German model planning for the spatial planning of the Kutno district in occupied western Poland 13

(Warthegau "), based on Walter Christaller's theory of central locations". Source: https:// planung_4_2.html.



Soviet Dreams 1

by Janis Berzins MSc Urbanism TU Delft

Imagine a situation: you and your buddies get together on New Year’s Eve in Moscow. You get drunk, like really drunk, and eventually pass out. Two of your buddies are still awake and remember that one of your friends must go to Leningrad (nowadays Saint-Petersburg) and needs to catch a plane, but they don’t remember who. So, they decide to put you on the plane. Eventually, you wake up, but you’re still drunk because you’ve been drinking a lot of Russian vodka. You step out of the plane staggering and holding to other people and after a while realize that you’re in airport, but you think that, obviously you’re in Moscow and probably just said goodbye to the friend who had to go to Leningrad.

So – you call a cab, say your address and let the car movement guide you in a peaceful sleep. You arrive at your building, go to the elevator and your apartment doors, open the door with your key, enter the apartment and take down your clothes. You go to the bedroom and fall asleep. Until … Until the real owner of the apartment comes home and wakes you up, because you’re an intruder in her home, however, you still believe that you are in your apartment in Moscow and that she has intruded your apartment! Sounds funny and impossible, doesn’t it? This story is familiar to millions of people from post-soviet countries because it is the plot of TV Mini-series called The Irony of Fate (Ирония судьбы, или С лёгким паром) by director Eldar Ryazanov and it aired on January 1, 1976. This movie can still be seen on TV and has become a New years eve’s tradition in many households, possibly because this love story (the main characters eventually fall in love), depicts the reality of soviet mass planning and decisions that shaped the lives of millions of people from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean. To understand, how this absurd story could somehow be considered a reality, it is important to get an insight of the Soviet



Dream and the reality that happened in the Soviet Union after World War II. In recap, the main ideology of socialism in the Soviet Union was based on providing welfare for the working class or so-called proletariat. According to Stalin’s industrialization plan, many state-owned factories were built in cities that provided work for people who mostly came from remote and rural areas. That started the housing crisis in the Soviet Union because at the same time the Communist Party had declared that every Soviet citizen had a right to live in an apartment with necessary amenities. However, the reality was far from the dream. Still, many years after the war millions of people were living in fast-built wooden barracks without drainage, tapwater, and toilet on the street or communal apartments in pre-war buildings that used to belong to bourgeois but now housed a family in each room. Undoubtedly, there was a need for a fast and cheap solution on how to provide the new soviet man the apartment that he had the right for. Till the 1950s in Soviet Union apartment buildings were built in “Stalin’s style” – neoclassical, monumental brick buildings with ornaments, spacious apartments and quality materials. However, this process was costly and time-consuming. In 1955 The Central Committee of the Communist Party issued a decree that permanently and

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instantaneously shaped the architectural and building practice in the whole union. This decree forbade the use of redundant ornaments and pushed the use of modern, affordable and efficient buildings. One can argue, that on this day, the Soviet standardized-block house was born. The effect of this decree is well-explained also in the opening scene of The Irony of Fate, in which by using animation is shown how buildings built by the same project and designed by architects, usually based in Moscow or Leningrad, are built in different landscapes and climatic conditions. The result of this process was newly built cities and neighborhoods (called micro-rayons) with standardized apartment buildings that are repeated in different scales and quantities across all Soviet Union. Does it mean that the global dream was achieved? The housing crisis was never solved. However, the situation described in the movie was highly possible, because the equality among the citizens was achieved by limiting freedom of choice in multiple aspects, including apartment location, furniture, cutlery, and food, not mentioning freedom of religion or speech. That all resulted in living spaces that looked like each other, were in the same building but in different cities and were furnished by the same furniture. This unique socio-spatial situation has highly influenced generations


of people who are, in some cases, still living in conditions like this, thus the research and attention to these issues has not resulted in global action. Although I was born after the collapse of the Soviet Union, I have also experienced living in an apartment building in of the micro-rayon of Riga, Latvia – one of the post-soviet countries in Europe. Fresh air, greenery, public transport and connections to the city center were the benefits of living there, despite the low-ceiling height and thin walls that allowed me to participate in my neighbors’ arguments. I also don’t miss the times before Google Maps or Waze when I had to get creative on giving the correct directions to my apartment building or the times when I got lost in partly-lit courtyards looking for the right doors between buildings that were the same. This brings me to multiple questions that I keep asking myself from time to time. Was the Soviet Global dream achieved if they managed to provide affordable (free) housing with necessary amenities for millions of people from Kaliningrad to Vladivostok? If so – was the price of limited freedom worth it? And how exactly this dream influence people who are still living in these monotonous neighborhoods? On the other hand, how the current


western-office practice of designing western-style buildings and building them in the Global South while being thousands of kilometers away is different from Soviet approach? Is it possible to provide the necessary living conditions that we as civilization share and agree on, allowing local and unique approaches? I hope that in the future The irony of fate will still be only a movie and after a party in Moscow, London, or New-Delhi, I will be able to open my apartment doors while being and acknowledging that I am in the right city. Fig. 1.  Moscow. Micro-rayon in the background

and old wooden barrack in the forefround. Retrieved from:

Fig. 2.  Vladivostok (a) Vs. Riga (b). Postcards from

1960s. The distance between these cities is 9600 km, however, the building design is (almost) the same. Fig. 3.  "Congratulations with the new living

space". Postcard from 1960s, praising the new life in standartized neighborhoods

Fig. 4.  Scenes form the movie The Irony of Faith. Army of block houses on their way to conquer the world.

Fig. 5.  (right) QR code for the link to YouTube for the movie The Irony of Faith.



Planning Augmented Cities in the Neoanthropocene



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by Prof. Arch. Maurizio Carta Architecture department University of Palermo

The Neoanthropocene Revolution: the Augmented Cities At the dawn of the XXI century Crutzen and Stoermer defined the term Anthropocene to indicate the dramatic consequences on the planet produced by the pervasive presence of human activities since the Industrial Revolution through the acceleration of territorial, social and climate changes (Crutzen, Stoermer, 2000). Our human footprint produced a steady erosion of resources, consuming soil, cultural identities and vegetation patterns of the habitats, anaesthetising vital urban and rural metabolisms, and interrupting water and waste cycles. This dark footprint eroded the capacity of urban settlements to entertain ecological and productive relationships with rural land. It sedated the productive and generative capacity of local manufacturing and, anaesthetising the endogenous factors of development, and neglected the regenerative value of building maintenance and care of places as circular processes have been interrupted or diverted. After numerous planet’s alarms went unheeded, after crossing many times the limits of growth (Fig. 1), often with dramatic consequences, the economic crisis of the past decade – with its virulence that has infected the productive, social, cultural, and even political structures – showed all the critical points of the linear and unlimited expansive development model. On the one hand, this process produced the “evangelists of the degrowth” and development objectors, prompting planners to “disengagement or a crippling sense of guilt” (Sijmons, 2014). On the other hand, it generated active planners and city makers as brave proponents of an effective sustainable development, visionary and pragmatic at the same time, and convinced us that we can live in a “good anthropocene” where humanity assumes the responsibility to solve the problems created (Rockström and Klum, 2015). We must be able to manage the transition from consuming-based Paleo Anthropocene towards emerging prosuming-oriented Neoanthropocene, reactivating the traditional alliance between human and natural components such as


co-acting forces, guided by an ethic of the integration between man and nature, and between cities and the environment as collective responsibility against the Global Change, starting from the cities. The Neoanthropocene challenges us as researchers, educators, and designers to adopt a responsible and militant approach, and to have the courage for a metamorphosis that not only reduces the ecological footprint of human activity, but which uses the collective intelligence that results from new ideas and sensitivity to environment, landscapes, and cultural heritage, spreading globally in a renewed integral ecology, that stimulates planning protocols and tools, urban devices and spaces, and new life cycles. The commitment of decision-makers, planners, architects, citizens, and enterprises can be manifested through a focus on urban settlements characterised by surplus and overproduction derived from changing urban patterns, on dismissed settlement tissue, rural areas in transition, and infrastructure networks in transformation. They will have to be addressed by modification, removal, or re-invention actions through which the components are rebooted, without destroying them but changing some functions pursuing generative perspective and increasing their generative resilience.

sustainability. We need effective paradigms and practical projects capable of acting for a true “re-cyclical urbanism”, able to influence the urban metabolism by reconnecting every cycle in a holistic vision in order to give new input to the circular Neoanthropocene: a more creative “programmed recycling” in place of consumerist “planned obsolescence” (Ellen MacArthur Foundation, 2012).

A more open and collaborative circular society is the catalyst that allows the economy to transfer its effects on land and on community's life cycles, activating and extending the social dividend of

Fig. 2.  Four of nine planetary boundaries


At the end, we need new types of cities and communities, that I call Augmented Cities as the human habitat of the Neoanthropocene (Carta, 2017). The Augmented City is a new paradigm that generates a spatial, social, cultural and economic device capable of providing new and urgent answers to the metamorphosis we are going through. The Augmented City is the answer to the four main revolutions of contemporary society: the knowledge society, the network society, climate change and urban metabolism (Fig 2). To improve the effects of the connecting “augmented urbanism”, I have set up ten keywords able to reset spatial planning for the Augmented City in the face of the 21st Fig. 1.  The Augmented City Circle: ten challenges for the four revolutions of the Neoanthropocene transition (source: M. Carta, 2017).

have been crossed: climate change, loss of

biosphere integrity, land-system change, altered biogeochemical cycles (source: F. PharandDeschênes /Globaïa).


century challenges. First, an augmented city is Sentient because it needs new values, skills and tools for renewing a knowledgebased and solving-oriented urbanism in a well-timed collaborative scenario. It is thus based on Open sourcing, because needs for a civic-tech-urban structural alliance in the Sharing Society we live in, enables the generation of new collaborative space: meeting places and housing, social infrastructure and places of co-work and then triggers a renewed community covenant that reactivates the constituent factors of urban life. An Augmented City is Intelligent – better than smart – because it can generate an enabling ecosystem based on the hardware of better urban spaces, on the software of the active citizenship, but overall on a new urban operative system for an advanced city planning and design. The fourth keyword is Productive – future cities need to frame a powerful makers’ movement within a new creative/productive urban ecosystem for improving the manufacturing renaissance in the cities based on the new artisan economy. The purpose is to reconstitute an essential economic base of the city, after years of euphoria for the city as a service. The city of the Neoanthropocene will also be more and more Creative through the integrated use of culture,

communication and cooperation as resources for an active city can generate a new form and a different growth based on identity, quality and reputation. An Augmented City is Recycling-based and asks for a paradigm shift for cities that not only re-duce, re-use, and re-cycle their tangible and intangible resources, but design a new circular metabolism, by including the planned recycling between the components of the project (Fig. 3). Thus, it is Resilient, in that it accepts the task for adaptive, circular and self-sufficient cities for winning the climate change challenge, producing and distributing effectively the “resilience economy”: an instrument of urban ecological equalisation in the economy of the transition to a decarbonised development. The eighth keyword is Fluidity because it asks to rethink porosity and fluidity as projective paradigms for urban regeneration projects that derive from water their charge of identity, producing new spatial configurations from renewing the interface of the portcity not as a place-threshold but as a producer of powerful urban identity. In the metropolitan scenario where act the Augmented Cities, the Reticularity defines the process from a traditional ecosystem and gravitational model to a new and more effective metropolitan super-organism and

archipelagos. Last but not the least, an Augmented City is Strategic, regarding the need for a multi-domain approach and a time-oriented action, less consuming and more producing, based on an adaptive and incremental approach instead of a rationalcomprehensive masterplan. The Augmented City’s practices grow with exponential progression doubling its components, connections and impacts seen in the last years, to one incredible and disruptive acceleration. We are surrounded by thousands of practices in the spread of sensors and intelligent devices, in collaborative design and return of urban manufacturing, in explosion of creativity and increase of resilience, and several experiments in recycling of everything, fluidisation and networking of cities, and adoption of incremental and adaptive strategies. Therefore, we need a theory, a new urban paradigm that is able to understand, connect and manage the new responsible role of cities and communities in the Neoanthropocene. Because the Augmented City is not the city of the future, but it is the city that can activate a different present.



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No More Masterplan in the Neoanthropocene: the Cityforming Protocol. Following the Augmented City paradigm, we must adopt a strategic circular approach, incremental in programme, recursive in procedure and flexible per project, rather than a closed and simultaneous plan. The traditional masterplan – the blue print approach – inflexible, instantaneous, and almost unchanging in its implementation, is ineffective in areas that do not enjoy the destination of significant public or private resources (now almost disappeared in European cities). Therefore, we must replace it with a “master program”

knowingly temporised and adaptive, capable of composing a comprehensive vision by implementing step-by-step, capable of timely and temporary action. A master program able to produce a generative force of a new future, and that knows how to turn on some autopoietic and self-sufficient processes. A strategic urban regeneration must create the conditions for success to feed the next steps. It should produce a portion of the value on which to trigger the subsequent investment, and generate the oxygen that fuels the urban atmosphere – which brings housing, productive, commercial, and cultural relations to new life that will regenerate the area. It is an incremental process

designed by a new community to bring back into life the abandoned or declining areas. It acts through the connective skills that are active in its territorial components – creating new ones, changing their composition, or facilitating interactions – in such a way as to make it capable of supporting new ecosystems. I called this process Cityforming Protocol, a planning protocol – not a standard or a model – able to reactivate the stationary metabolism of an area step-by-step, starting from its latent regenerative components, enabling multiple cycles, increasing intensity to create a new urban sustainable ecosystem over time (Carta, 2017). The Cityforming acts for incremental and adaptive steps required Fig. 3.  Palermo Metropolis 2025: strategic re-

cycling areas for the metropolitan regeneration and development (source: M. Carta, 2015).

Fig. 4.  Cityforming Protocol diagram: the

three step of creative colonisation, collaborative

consolidation and sustainable development (source: M. Carta, 2017).




to produce partial results that become the foundation of the next generative phase. The Cityforming, progressing through the stages of colonisation, consolidation, and development, produces the necessary “urban oxygen” for the formation of an appropriate ecosystem that is able to generate a new active metabolism that reactivates inactive cycles, reconnects the broken ones, or that activates new ones more adapted to the new identity of transition places. The conceptual model shows the sequence of the three phases with their characteristics and devices (fig. 4). In the first phase of creative colonisation, some functions are localised in order to act as reserves of oxygen for the formation of the new atmosphere. There are new functions, or the recovery of buildings or spaces, that can be called “stem cells” because, although grafted through planning action, they do not have dissimilar features and functions from existing tissue. The regeneration colonies are characterised by high selfsufficiency and generated by their ability to be energetically autonomous through a massive use of renewable sources, produce sufficient profitability to support maintenance costs, and activate forms of widespread partnership for management. The colonies must also have a strong recognisability factor with respect to the context, because, despite low-intensity processing, they serve as landmarks of transformation, act as witnesses to the reputation of the district, and operate as urban marketing agents. The prevailing paradigm that is used at this stage is that of tactical urbanism with a short time horizon within which the next steps are to be activated. The colonisation of Cityforming, however, presupposes subsequent local roots, and creates the conditions for triggering a chain reaction that strengthens the effects.

its presence. Often, the existing residents help new users get attracted to the colony in the integration process. At this stage, some tactics from the previous phase are involved in an open source urbanism process that modifies them, mixing with the local intelligences and integrating with urban acupuncture actions, in order to transform them into strategies to extend their reactivation effects of urban cycles in depth. Lastly, the sustainable development is the long-term phase with a horizon of at least ten years, in which the new metabolism of the area is put into operation to generate new urban values. At this stage, following the metamorphosis produced by the first two phases, a light masterplan of the whole area can be drawn up, based on

The collaborative consolidation step affects the new ecosystem being formed by grafting some more valuable and powerful features from the point of view of the generation of profits and economic values. This step is financially supported by the increase of land value and attractiveness of the area. The consolidation acts through the reactivation of latent resources already present in the area and which have been stimulated and positively perturbed by the step of colonisation. The consolidation phase acts more for networks than for nodes and loses a bit of its self-sufficiency and autonomy, often starting to use the local resources—the material ones, but more often the intangible ones—to take root and to grow, also starting a process of camouflage with the context that reinforces


the new identity of the place. It would be more fertile by the success of the previous stages, being able to tap into a greater investment multiplier effect, and to support the infrastructural investments required for completing the transformation of the area. In this phase, the masterplan makes sense since it acts in a time of change and in a more advanced stage where the decisionmakers and the community can verify the soundness of the development vision. It is not, therefore, a comprehensive blue print plan that assumes in advance the conditions for its implementation or which intercepts economic and entrepreneurial resources already given—a flexible land-use plan acting on new urban ecosystems, that is specified for the changed conditions of the re-colonised and consolidated area.

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The Cityforming generates, however, a program of actions, tactics, controlled testing, and re-appropriations that compose and define the functions of the partial results, based on the consolidation of new roles in the urban area, on values and expectations that are generated by new inhabitants and new services, and on new forms of cooperation, by the tax facilities and by new urban economies generated in the first two phases (Fig. 5). The Cityforming constantly works within the dimensions of the project and the process, by activating actions within a prefigured scenario, the real effects of which will set up the specification and definition, thus consolidating the trend scenario or helping to form a new programmatic scenario. The Cityforming Protocol is not just an urban design and

planning strategy, or simply an innovation in urban policies, but acts as a powerful disruptor of territorial organisms in an anaesthetised metabolism, with reduced or declining vital energy. It does not act by entering external energy, which could not keep the compromised metabolism active for a long time, but takes care of the internal tissues still present as vital factors. It redials the latent ecological resources, reactivates the resilient social networks, and revives the manufacturers to generate the indispensable basis of territorial and social capital on which the fruitful seed of the rural-urban sustainable regeneration projects can take root in the Neoanthropocene.

Carta M. (2017). Augmented City. A Paradigm Shift. Trento, ListLab. Crutzen P. J., Stoermer E. F. (2000). “The Anthropocene”, in Global Change Newsletter 41: 17-18. Ellen MacArthur Foundation (2012). Towards the Circular Economy: Economic and business rationale for an accelerated transition. EMF. Rockström J., Klum M. eds. (2015). Big World, Small Planet: Abundance within Planetary Boundaries. Yale, Yale University Press. Sijmons D. (2014). “Waking up in the Anthropocene”, in Brugmans G., Strien J. eds., IABR 2014. Urban by Nature. Rotterdam, Iabr

Fig. 5.  Cityforming Taranto: incremental,

creative and resilient strategies for urban/human regeneration (source: Mario Cucinella Architects,

Maurizio Carta, Patrizia Di Monte and others, 2017).




1975-1982 86 min


/running time

Godfrey Reggio /director Ron Fricke /cinematographer Philipp Glass /music composer experimental documentary /movie genre timelapse; slowmotion



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"Koyaanisquatsi", the only word repeated in the movie brings to mind indigenous prophecies. Mass production, mass consumption, mass destruction, mass extinction. Spectacular timelapse shots of society and landscapes of late capitalism with thrilling score by Philip Glass surely give goosebumps. Do they also cause admiration or rather disgust of human achievements? Demolition of Pruitt-Igoe estate depicted in the movie became known as a symbolic death of global modernist dream. Scan code to watch this scene:

All pictures are photos from the movie published on websites: 1. | 2. 23


Challenging Space for Commemoration

by Laura Thomas

UniversitĂ della Svizzera Italiana TU Delft

Reconstructing the Colonial Narrative in the Ethnographic Museum



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“The Dutch are such amazingly open-minded, outward-looking people” Professor Frank said one day during a lecture of the course I initially wrote this essay for. And while I like being called open-minded and outward-looking – and I think we all should – this essay is an attempt to protest his statement - not to discredit myself or my fellow country(wo)men, but to acknowledge people I am sure would have disagreed. In my secondary school (from 2008 to 2014), I learned about the Golden Age as the most important era for the Dutch nation. I learned how ‘we’, the Dutch, were for a while the most powerful nation in the world. How we owned vast lands and shipped the most valuable products. That we also traded people1 was only mentioned briefly, as were the memories of committed crimes against those who wanted to leave the empire following World War II2 memories replaced by war stories of us, the Dutch, being innocent victims of the German occupation (Wekker, 2016). From a nation with a history of over 400 years of colonial rule, one would expect a certain awareness among its citizens concerning the topic. However, in The Netherlands, little attention is given to national commemoration and education of that colonial past (Van Huis, 2019; Wekker, 2016). But silencing history does not make it undone. Although the atrocities of the colonial times are often disregarded, according to Gloria Wekker, Surinamese-Dutch anthropologist and writer, the imperial past is deeply rooted in Dutch identity. When Wekker speaks about the Dutch identity, she refers to the concept of cultural archive, a term most commonly associated with Edward Said’s Culture and Imperialism (Said, 1993). The cultural archive can be understood as a deeply installed reservoir of memory that is used by the individual as a reference to validate decisions or commonsense. According to Wekker, the Dutch cultural archive that we use to validate our existence is based on 400 years of colonial rule. 1.  From 1621 – 1814, the Dutch took active part in the transatlantic slave trade. Complete abolition of slavery had to wait until 1873 (officially 1863). 2.  The Indonesian War of Independence lasted from 1945 to 1949. Although numbers are uncertain, estimations range from 97 thousand up to 2.4 million Indonesian lives lost. These numbers are taken from: Harinck, C., Van Horn, N., & Luttikhuis, B. (2017, juli 26). Onze vergeten slachtoffers: Wie telt de Indonesische doden? De Groene Amsterdammer nr. 30.


“If you want to be equal to us, then don’t talk about difference; but if you are different from us, then you are not equal.” 3 Paradoxically, the Dutch cultural archive also rejects race as a meaningful concept (Wekker, 2016). Priding ourselves in tolerance and open-mindedness, the white Dutch(wo)man insist to be colour blind. Discussions about race are easily dismissed. Why talk about something that is not an issue for anyone in this country? The following citation critically and accurately portrays the Dutch attitude towards race and integration: The lack of attention to our colonial past is problematic, because it prevents existing inequalities that have their roots in this past from being acknowledged – and what is not acknowledged will not be discussed. This makes the narrative a powerful instrument. To rewrite the Dutch narrative, so that current power-relations between ‘the (white) Dutch’ and ‘the other’ are recognized, would be the first step towards equality. In the words of Said: “the power to narrate, or to block other narratives from forming and emerging, is very important to culture and imperialism, and constitutes one of the main connections between them”. Cultural objects that were obtained in the colonies helped Said to read the imperial narratives (Said, 1993).

The Role of the Museum It is not only the cultural archive of the individual that has its roots in colonialism. Present in the Dutch national museum archives are an abundance of objects that were obtained (received, taken or violently stolen) in the colonies. During the course of time, these objects have served differently in changing narratives. To explain how the meaning and interpretation of these objects changed, Iris van Huis examined the evolution of the Amsterdam ‘Tropenmuseum’ (Van Huis, 2019). I will use her examination as a starting point to understand the role of the ethnographic museum in changing the colonial narrative. The History of the Tropenmuseum The current Tropenmuseum is a reinvention of what started one hundred fifty years ago in the city of Haarlem as the ‘Koloniaal Museum’. The Koloniaal Museum was initiated in 1871 to convince people of the benefits of the colonies – showing the grandeur of the colonial nation (Van Huis, 2019). Apart from presenting the wealth and success reaped in the colonies, ethnographic museums at the time were used to highlight the exotic differences between ‘them’ and ‘us’ (Van Huis, 2019; Fig. 1.  Giro 500500. (1933-1946). The Netherlands ‘helps’ the Indies. National fundraising. Retrieved from:

detail/5ceff74e-025a-11e7-904b-d89d6717b464/ media/198d95af-2343-2c65-e0d8-e966d427ff31.

Fig. 2.  R.N. Bonaparte. (1883-1884). Surinamese child Johannes Kodjo with drums and canoes at

3.  See: Prins, B. 2002. “The Nerve to Break Taboos: New Realism in the Dutch Discourse on Multiculturalism.” Journal of International Migration and Integration 3 (3–4): 363–379. 25

the Colonial exhibition on the Museum Square

in Amsterdam. Retrieved from: http://hdl.handle. net/10934/RM0001.COLLECT.241233.


Wekker, 2016; De Angelis, Ianniciello, Orabona, & Quadraro, 2014).

museum were acquired, were conveniently buried with its old name.

When the museum moved to Amsterdam in 1910, its function shifted from ‘prize cabinet’ to museum for the study of physical anthropology. The name of the museum changed from Koloniaal Museum to ‘Indisch Museum’, referring to the Dutch Indies4. Here, exhibitions continued what writers had started on expeditions to the colonies before: the analysis and classification of the unknown. Foreign cultures and peoples were cemented into boxes in order to be easily comprehensible. And as we were the authors of the narrative, the power to give them a place was ours. This lead to an exclusionary, colonial understanding of the world (De Angelis & al., 2014).

The Decolonisation of the Tropenmuseum

After the violent Indonesian War of Independence, the museum tried to get rid of its colonial character and started focussing on collecting artefacts from the other tropics. The name of the museum changed to Tropenmuseum, and the memories of how most objects in the 4.  ‘Nederlands-Indië’ (1800 – 1945) was one of the most valuable colonies under the Dutch Empire's rule, consisting of what is now Indonesia. The colony contributed to Dutch global prominence in spice and cash crop trade in the 19th to early 20th century.

Surely not the first to protest against the silencing of the colonial past, but arguably the most impactful, was a resistance group initiated in 2010 called ‘Decolonize the Museum’, a community initiated by Simone Zeefuik, Hodan Warsame and Tirza Balk. Decolonize the Museum was and still is an effort to confront the colonial ideas and practices present in ethnographic museums. Although the Tropenmuseum itself had also shown willingness to develop ideas about re-exhibiting the colonial past since the 1990s - testify to this are past exhibitions such as ‘White on Black’ (1989-1990) and ‘Oostwaarts!’ (2003) Decolonize the Museum still recognised plenty of problems in the exhibitions. Through public communication on Twitter and openly accessible conferences in the Tropenmuseum, the group gathered as many critiques and opinions as possible from various individuals. This variety of reflections was important to them, to be able to create a more just, shared, multivocal narrative. They inclusively determined that what was lacking in the museum, was a critical representation of the objects presented. Outdated scientific

objects for instance, such as a tool for measuring the size of the colonised’ s heads, were presented without critical descriptions that admitted to the imposed objectification and simplification of a people. While oppressors were presented as complex human beings, the colonised remained generalised, flat characters that never developed (Van Huis, 2019). Furthermore, there was a lack of visibility of the oppression and cruelties done to the colonised. In agreement with the Tropenmuseum, Decolonize the Museum placed new texts next to the old texts on the walls of the museum, that helped to understand the violence and exploitation colonialism entailed and how colonised people resisted, as well as the role of the museum itself in acquiring objects that were stolen or taken as trophies. Later, the Tropenmuseum and Decolonize the Museum agreed to work together to transform the exhibition entirely. The new texts were integrated and art works were added that could shed new light on the colonial narrative. The interventions of Decolonize the Museum are of an intersectional kind, not only striving for racial equality, but for equality in all its facets. The strongest addition to the museum made by Decolonize the Museum is a completely new exhibition called ‘Heden van Slavernijverleden’ or ‘Afterlives of Slavery’ (2017 – present). The section pays more attention to violence, but also to agency and resistance – not only from during colonial times, but up until the post-colonial present - revealing the lasting impact of colonialism. The colonial narrative is presented through new mediums such as poetry and video interviews with famous members of the Dutch black community (among whom Gloria Wekker, repeatedly cited in this essay). Objects from the old archive are used again, but are presented in a new, critical context. Towards an Inclusive Ethnographic Museum The recontextualization with new texts and objects allows for the objects to move outside their box. It allows an understanding of peoples and cultures that overlap and histories that intertwine (De Angelis & al., 2014). In this way, the colonial narrative is presented as a process, an “intrinsic and indelible part of the contemporary world” (p. 2), rather than a concluded chapter of a history book. The narrative unmasks power relationships in heritage, hereby acknowledging the origin of present inequalities.



The museum plays an important role in

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unhiding the colonial narrative, so that historically determined inequalities are recognized. Once the acknowledgement of predetermined injustices is a part of our cultural archives, we can hopefully write towards a future that is inclusive. Subject-object-space-time dynamics In order to imagine what an inclusive ethnographic museum could be, I decompose the ethnographic museum into four elements it essentially consists of: the visitor, referred to as ‘subject’, the artwork, referred to as ‘object’, the ‘space’ in which the two interact, and that in turn interacts with both, and the ‘time’ to which all three beforementioned elements are subject. For each of the elements, I will suggest its role in narrating the colonial past as part of the inclusive ethnographic museum. Subject How does the inclusive ethnographic museum negotiate with its subject? The inclusive ethnographic museum cannot present one mono-perspective narrative, for no such narrative represents all subjects,

and a subject who is excluded from a narrative, cannot exist in an inclusive museum. An inclusive museum where certain, excluded subjects cannot exist or be true, is per definition not inclusive. Each subject, or a representative of the subject, in the inclusive museum thus needs to contribute to the narrative, in order for each subject to be represented by the narrative. This requires an active presence from the subject in the inclusive museum. The inclusive museum addresses its subjects on their responsibility to actively alter the narrative, in order to be sustained. The subject becomes aware that the narrative is dependent on the presence of the subject, and that the narrative holds only when it acknowledges all subjects. The narrative becomes a shared experience where each subject can perceive things differently, rather than becoming silent partners being imposed one narrative without questioning its origin (Stewart, 2016). Narratives in the ethnographic museum are told through objects.


Object The objects tell the narrative of the ethnographic museum. The objects in the inclusive ethnographic museum represent all subjects. Objects challenge the subject to negotiate the narrative, in order for the narrative to remain inclusive. The object in the ethnographic museum, that which transmits the colonial narrative, is not necessarily material - for resistance, hope or people are rarely embodied in material objects (Vergès, 2014). The objects in the ethnographic museum can be words, songs, texts, poems, declarations, videos, sounds, questions... Objects become valuable in their context. Contextualisation of objects in the ethnographic museum can be achieved Fig. 3.  Afterlives of Slavery’ exhibition presenting resistance and agency. Photographed by Sarah-

Dona fotografie. (2017). Retrieved from: http://www.

Fig. 4.  See Fig. 3.


through adding critical texts (Van Huis, 2019), through critically positioning the objects (Grundei & al., 2010), as well as through the addition of new objects, that complement the existing objects (Van Huis, 2019). Objects in the museum do not necessarily date from the colonial past, but can be contemporary objects that make the (consequences of the) colonial past intelligible. Objects can also be contextualised through the relation of the objects with the space in which they are presented. In the inclusive ethnographic museum, objects are taken out of their traditional contextualisation that excludes certain subjects (De Angelis & al., 2014). Contextualisation of objects is bound to change over time, because of the continuous negotiation between subject and object. Time “Time mocks the rigidity of monuments, the presumptuous claim that in its materiality a monument can be regarded as eternally true, a fixed star in the constellation of collective memory.” (Young, 1992, p. 294) Over the course of time, the subjects of the ethnographic museum change. The ideological production of what matters to subjects and society is dependent on principles that are constantly changing (Vergès, 2014). By changing the exhibition regularly, the ethnographic museum remarks the essential evolution of the narrative itself over time. The narrative is sustained by a sense of human temporality (Young, 1992). The inclusive ethnographic museum has to be perceptive to this capacity of the narrative to change. Space The space of the ethnographic museum is currently shaped by a building. A building has a life span in which it cannot, or can hardly change. Still, as subjects change, and objects and their contextualisation change with them in order to sustain inclusivity, the space of the inclusive ethnographic museum needs to accommodate change. In order for a building to accommodate a changing narrative, its spaces need to be designed with the idea of possible reinterpretation. The possibility to freely interpret the space also puts the subject in an active position (Grundei & al., 2010). Leaving space for interpretation can be done by intervening in a space with subtraction – allowing traces of previous uses over time and removing only what

disturbs its public use (Parati, 2014). Hence the space agrees to be dictated by time. Newly built space is not built from subtraction. Still, imagination can be stimulated, this time by emphasizing only the primary elements of the space (Parati, 2014). Space over time could then be developed by addition. Creating space that is to be perceived differently by different subjects allows a community of learners to emerge (Stewart, 2016). The space of the museum could be made changeable by adjoining spaces with different uses placed next to each other, in a way that they might be brought in new relations with each other again and again (Parati, 2014; Grundei & al., 2010). Every spatial sequence brings its own conditions, which in turn affect the narrative (Orhun, 2013). The relationships between the spaces of the museum can be altered by changeable architectural elements, such as sliding partitions, revolving doors and curtains (Grundei & al., 2010). The functional meaning of spaces in the inclusive museum can be changed, so that spaces are always negotiable. Flexible and removable furniture support both objects and subject to negotiate space and narrative (Parati, 2014). For negotiation to take place not only between subject and object, but also between subjects amongst each other, the space of the inclusive museum should also produce social conditions. Space in the inclusive museum is designed as such, that encounters and interaction between subjects are likely to take place. The space of the ethnographic museum does not have to be a building. Colonial heritage can also be presented outside the walls of this institution. To make the narrative of a museum part of the cultural archive of people, the narrative needs to be shared, negotiated and discussed. This happens best where most people have access to it: in public space. Presenting objects in open space allows for the decompartmentalisation of the narrative, it allows the artworks and the narrative they represent to unbox (Marino, 2014). The narrative comes to be seen as an open narrative that has a deep connection with people as well as place. Conclusion Starting from the personal judgement that the colonial past has been taught to me in an excluding manner, contributing to a cultural archive in which my privileged position as a Dutch white citizen has been taken for granted, I initiated the explorations of this essay with the aim to better understand my privileged position. 28

Being educated to understand and envision space in its relation to society, the next step has been to imagine what conditions an inclusive colonial narrative would require spatially in order for it to sustain. I focused on the ethnographic museum as a specific space to hold on to, but could have performed this exercise with any (public) space. The abstraction of the ethnographic museum into subject, object, time and space has helped me to formulate a conclusion that can now be more concrete. The conclusions in this essay are meant to serve as a starting point for architects, designers and curators of the ethnographic museum, in order to design for an inclusive future. An inclusive common narrative in which not only the stories of the privileged, but also those of the ones suppressed are shared, is essential for current powerrelations to be acknowledged. Once inequalities are acknowledged, we can negotiate our place in society. The ethnographic museum can play a role in reconstructing this narrative, as it has played a role in constructing the narrative before. The essential change that is needed in order to write an inclusive narrative, is that of changing the role of the subject, the visitor, from solely being imposed a narrative, to taking active part in writing the narrative. The adaptability that this requires from the object, so the artwork in its context, and the space, all originate from this essential change. The proposed transformations make the space and the way it is charged with meaning negotiable. “Far from being the place of the already known, ready to be transmitted, or the place where the spectacle of ‘the contemporary’ is consumed, [the post-colonial museum] becomes the space of imagination and desire, where the unexpected comes into being, but also the space of questioning, and even silences. The museum becomes a disrupting, ‘incurable’ space both of hospitality and hostility.” Colonialism indicated the start of a globalised world, characterised by interconnections and border-crossings. Now, paradoxically, it is precisely the fruits of this colonial, entitled attitude that have lead us to construct walls and create fixed spaces of exclusion and privilege. Migration, transcultural differences and a changing political climate continually ask us to define cultural heritage and national identity. Let us define them with an open mind, taking into account all narratives.

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References DeAngelis, A., Ianniciello, C., Orabona, M., & Quadraro, M. (2014). Disruptive Encounters - Museums, Arts and Postcoloniality. In I. Chambers, A. De Angelis, C. Ianniciello, M. Orabona, & M. Quadraro, The Postcolonial Museum: The Arts of Memory and the Pressures of History (pp. 1-24). Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Grundei, P., Kaindl, S., Teckers, C., & Steiner, B. (2010). The Architecture Has Become an Actor in the Process of Negotiation. In Negotiating Spaces (pp. 23-26). Berlin: JOVIS Verslag. Harinck, C., Van Horn, N., & Luttikhuis, B. (2017, july 26). Onze vergeten slachtoffers: Wie telt de Indonesische doden? De Groene Amsterdammer nr. 30. Marino, A. (2014). Orientalism and the Politics of Contemporary Art Exhibitions. In I. Chambers, A. De Angelis, C. Ianniciello, M. Orabona, & M. Quadraro, The Postcolonial Museum: The Arts of Memory and the Pressures of History (pp. 185-193). Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd.


Orhun, S. (2013). Designing interactive exhibitions based on innovative narrations guided by architectural space and digital technologies. NODEM 2013: International Conference on Design and Digital Heritage (pp. 33-40). Kista: Interactive Institute Swedish ICT. Parati, M. (2014). Performance in the Museum Space (for a Wandering Society). In I. Chambers, A. De Angelis, C. Ianniciello, M. Orabona, & M. Quadraro, The Postcolonnial Museum: The Arts of Memory and the Pressures of History (pp. 99-108). Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Said, E. (1993). Culture and Imperialism. New York: Vintage Books (Random House). Stewart, P. (2016). Art and Commitment: Galleries without Walls. In D. Clover, K. Sanford, L. Bell, & K. Johnson, Adult Education, Museums and Art Galleries (pp. 39-52). Rotterdam: Sense Publishers. VanHuis, I. (2019). Contesting Cultural Heritage: Decolonizing the Tropenmuseum as an Intervention in the Dutch/European Memory Complex. In T. Lähdesmäki, L. Passerini, S. KaasikKrogerus, & I. van Huis, Dissonant Heritages and Memories in Contemporary Europe. Amsterdam: Palgrave macmillan. Vergès, F. (2014). A Museum Without Objects. In I. Chambers, A. De Angelis, C. Ianniciello, M. Orabona, & M. Quadraro, The Postcolonial Museum: The Arts of Memory and the Pressures of HIstory (pp. 25-38). Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Ltd. Wekker, G. (2016). White Innocence: Paradoxes of Colonialism


and Race. Durham and London: Duke University Press. Young, J. (1992). The Counter-Monument: Memory against Itself in Germany. Critical Inquiry, Vol. 18, No.2 (Winter, 1992), 267-296.

Fig. 5.  Serra, R. (1981). Tilted Arc: controversial art

work in public space. The sculpture forces the user of the space to interact with the urban block differently and see the space in a new way. The sculpture was removed after protests, but nevertheless started a conversation. Photograph by Daid Aschkenas. Federal Plaza in Lower Manhattan, New york. Fig. 6.  See Fig. 5.

Fig. 7.  D. Černý. (1991). The Monument to Soviet

Tank Crews was a World War II memorial located in Prague. It is also known as the Pink Tank because,

in 1991, it was controversially painted pink, first by installation artist David Černý and a second time

by members of parliament in protest at his arrest.

Photograph taken by Debarshi Ray. Retrieved from Flickr.




world views

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For the cover of the issue "Global Dreams" we decided to let our international colleagues draw a world map out of memory. While largely subjective, the drawings offer an insight into the authors' cultural world views, as well as the awareness of their spatial surroundings.

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Each person was asked to draw the world coastline, as well as their own nation's borders. As a base, they were given the equator, the tropic and polar circles, as well as the names of the ocean on a white background.

the immediate surroundings. However, the detail fades the further they venture on other continents. Particularly, this is appreciable in map number six, by an Indonesian author. Indonesia, Australia and the Indochinese Peninsula are fairly accurate. Instead, moving away, the Arab peninsula disappears, Europe becomes a

Even though the precision of each map is ultimately left to the ability of the drawer, is evident how everybody has a clear mental image of their national borders, and of

somewhat undifferentiated peninsula, and South America assumes an oddly unfamiliar shape. Fig. 1.  (above) World land masses. Equirectangular

projection. Source: Open Street Map. Retrieved from:

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Fig. 1.  The world seen from "Latvia".

Fig. 5.  The world seen from "Brazil".

Fig. 3.  The world seen from "Occupied Palestine".

Fig. 7.  The world seen from "Kenya".

Fig. 2.  The world seen from "Canada".

Fig. 6.  The world seen from "Indonesia".

Fig. 4.  The world seen from "Colombia".

Fig. 9.  The world seen from "Poland". Fig. 10.  The world seen from "India".

Fig. 8.  The world seen from "China".

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Extending the definition of Mega-regions/Macro-regions

MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

A relational geographical construct for future development by Surabhi Khandelwal MSc Urbanism TU Delft Introduction The extent of urbanisation in a technologically advancing globalised world is inordinately expanding towards the dissolution of the dichotomy of urban/ rural and city/countryside. Geographers and planners have been comprehending this phenomenon of sprawling urbanised landscapes comprising functional networks through various terms: ‘megalopolis, archipelago economy, galactic city, string city, limitless city, endless city, liquid city, global city-region, world city-region, mega-city region, polycentric metropolis, new megalopolis, megapolitan region, metro region, polynuclear urban region, super urban region, super-region... megaregion.’ (Harrison & Hoyler, 2015)

Each variant is intended to make the macro-region more intelligible and to help one grasp its rapidly changing realities. The realities of the urban are complex and polychromatic; however, the conception of this macro-region has intellectual and practical consequences making it an imperative task to be undertaken. (Neuman & Hull, 2009) ‘Megaregions are a new spatial and temporal entity, a polycentric multi metropolis of shifting and dynamic multi-scalar and multi-speed architecture whose development logics respond to a new set of conditions.’ (Neuman & Hull, 2009) Since the twentieth century, urban and regional debates have been dealing with understanding the complex, multidimensional, multi-scalar processes in urban space. This networked concept has been both developed in pedagogy and practice. This article attempts to comprehend this ‘imagined’ spatiality of relational geographic construct through a comprehensive understanding of selected works of literature in this urban regional discourse which would be constructive in this processual understanding.

Why do we need to study the Megaregion? Since the beginning of the 20th Century, observation of the expansion of urban spatial scales began. It was first Patrick Geddes (1915) who coined the term ‘conurbation’ for a new spatial configuration of urban. Later, Lewis Mumford (1938) defined the term ‘Megalopolis’ to define the fourth stage of a city after the first three stages - ‘ eopolis’(village), ‘polis’ (city) and ‘metropolis’ (capital city). Geddes (1915) and Mumford’s (1938) narratives framed this urban spatial expansion in a negative light referring to the development of the city as a problem. (Harrison & Hoyler, 2015) However, Gottmann's (1961) perception of the foreboding megalopolises was contrary, he describes the late 20th Century as a ‘new order in the organisation of inhabited space’ involving an urban economic expansion that commits social and economic prosperity, providing people with better housing, jobs and other amenities. (Gottmann, 1961; Harrison & Hoyler, 2015) “Megalopolis stands indeed

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at the threshold of a new way of life, and upon [the] solution of its problems will rest civilization's ability to survive.’ (Gottmann, 1961, p.16). Therefore, Megalopolis became the bedrock for a research laboratory for urban spatial growth assimilating the advancing globalising forces. The intensification and extension of urbanisation with evolving economic structure have led to the evolution of the urban into an urban-regional spatial configuration. Megaregions have become the ‘latest episode of long-running economic-political drama searching for a spatial scalar fix for global economies’ (Harrison & Hoyler, 2015) which faces the threat of turning into an orthodoxy that gets distanced from its foundations. Just as Hecksher expressed his concern regarding ‘Megalopolis’ to become a transient spatial concept when he said, ‘I hope that his own definition will be heeded; for the term is so awe-inspiring, and the phenomenon it describes so dramatic and novel that it is very easy for misconceptions to take root.’ (Hecksher, 1964) Thus, it is important to discuss and extend the understanding of this spatial concept to make profound its use as a spatial tool for planning to achieve the goal that this concept was constructed to attain. There are four key aspects as pointed out by Harrison & Hoyler (2015) for understanding the megaregion. First, understanding the geographical context in which they have their cognitive origins and the specific intention for which they were developed. Second, differing perceptions on this discourse between the American

perspective based on form-dominant spatial planning tradition and the European perspective currently associated with functionally dominant global-city-inspired network approaches. Third, identification of megaregional spaces as planning, governance and economic arenas. Also, the distinction between ‘megaregional space’ and ‘spaces of the megaregion’ where the latter represents the heterogeneity in megaregionality (processes) played out in the local spaces within a defined megaregion space. The Fourth point implies the relational geography of the megaregion. These are spatial constructs based on our comprehension of processes. The Megaregion lacks the extent of research to completely unfold the complexity it embodies. The challenges it faces on the local scale are also due to the consequences of the processes that play out on a larger regional scale. This presses the need for spatial planning at a scale larger than the administrative boundaries of the urban agglomeration. For example, flooding in a local area could be a consequential outcome of the lack of coordinated adaptive capacity provided in the region to absorb the fluvial flooding. In addition, the megaregional approach can benefit both small and large urban agglomerations that compose the megaregion. For larger cities, the continuous concentration of socioeconomic activity in a single centre can produce negative externalities due to spatial economic reasons, such as over pressurisation of infrastructure, incremental land and property costs, institutional

barriers to expansion, and increase in social inequality in large cities(Florida, 2008; Cardoso & Meijers, 2019). Megaregional development could depressurise and share the city challenges on a broader scale. Benefits of cumulative agglomeration that mitigate some of these costs must be tested. The smaller or comparable cities in this spatial construct also benefit from the concept of borrowed size by performing better due to their access to proximate agglomeration benefits than in isolation. They retain the advantages of smaller or medium size and simultaneously enjoy the benefits of larger size, due to accessibility and connection to the nearby centre. The Megaregion, if integrated along the three dimensions of function, culture, and institutions, can resemble a single large agglomeration in terms of flow and help better their performance. (Cardoso & Meijers, 2019) This process of integration called ‘Metropolisation’ (Cardoso & Meijers, 2019) is taken up in the third section, explaining how Megaregion could be used as a spatial tool. What is a Megaregion and how could the definition be extended? ‘Megaregions’ are the new urban form of globalisation which includes agglomeration of cities and their supporting hinterlands. It is a trans-metropolitan landscape which involves a large combination of urban Fig. 1.  The Planetary urbanisation. Source: Neil Brenner and Nikos Katsikis.

Fig. 2.  Methodological framewokr for strategic

and analytical tools for regional plannings. Source: Author.

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MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

agglomerations-cities and metropolitan areas but along with it the ‘operationalizing landscapes’ as theorised by Planetary Urbanisation. (Brenner, 2013) This has been an outcome of the new forms of networks and spatial connectivity that reintegrates urban spaces through advanced infrastructure defining patterns of spatialeconomic integration. (Lang & Knox, 2009) The advent of defining these megaregional spaces lead to some researchers prioritising megaregional form to start marking out space by investigating the physical landscape, whereas others prioritising megaregional function by identifying less visible or even invisible patterns in the physical landscape. (Harrison & Hoyler, 2015) Therefore, multiple actors in different contexts have tried to define the specificity to delineate these boundaries with various methods. The three major categories implemented in the United States describe the distinction in boundary limits: fuzzy boundary plans, multipleboundary plans, and single boundary plans (Dewar & Epstein, 2007). However, this leads to the conclusion that the details of the boundaries are insignificant for understanding of the development of this huge concentration. These boundaries of megaregions should be adaptable to the purpose of the plan. (Dewar & Epstein, 2007, p.116) Departing from the idea of regional boundaries, Dewar and Epstein hypothesized 3 categories of ‘[spatial] models of regional definition’, each with its characteristic spatial flows- linkage, gradient and bounded. Another school of research/ practice approaches through an understanding of urban infrastructure and communication networks which correspond to the perceived ‘functional’ regions. (Healey, 2009) These regions coincide with a ‘functional reality’ of integrated economic, political and social relations and have a potential for harnessing critical socio-environmental relations to develop strategies for steering a sustainable urban development. (Ravetz, 2000). The layers of infrastructure, economic, ecological, topographic, cultural and historic linkages that together define a shared space can be used to organise policy decisions. (Dewar & Epstein, 2009). Regional planners and development analysts have pursued the idea that ‘functional’ realities should be aligned with administrative jurisdictions, to create planning areas – functional urban areas or megaregions, which engenders future development trajectories. (Healey, 2009) Both macro and micro-level analysis of megaregional space begin to depict the

unevenness of megaregionality processes over megaregional space (Sassen, 2007). This leads to an important question: how the megaregion concept could help in analysing the different processes that are played out in local spaces? (Harrison & Hoyler, 2015) Also, we urgently need to investigate who defines the Megaregion, in whose interest megaregion is being constructed, and how do actors defend this construct for their specific interests. Ultimately, making this ‘a question of governance.’ (Harrison & Hoyler, 2015) How can Megaregion be used as a spatial analytical or strategic tool? ‘The Megaregion has become a critically important scale of analysis for contemporary geography.’ (Schafran, 2015) The concept of ‘Metropolisation’, defined by Cardoso and Meijers (2019) could be used as a strategic planning tool which involves the synergy of interaction between spatial-functional, political-institutional and cultural-symbolic integration processes across regions to create coherent regions. Metropolisation processes emerge from regional territories marked by extensive urbanisation where different forms of closer spatial, cultural and institutional integration and agglomeration benefits are extended across urban networks while not being spatially confined to their concentration centres. (Cardoso & Meijers, 2019) In addition, it makes the urbanisation process more inclusive by shifting the focus only from the nodes to the voices of the people in between who should also be a part of the debates about the future development of the region (Harrison & Hoyler, 2015; Cardoso & Meijers, 2019). Metropolisation is engendered by forces highly influenced by context and acts not only as an analytical lens to interpret the spatial, functional and institutional integration happening in city-regions but also a tool to outline development strategies focussed on steering these processes. (Cardoso & Meijers, 2019) The concept of megaregion is an imaginative construct which originates from the recognition that ideas of the ‘city’, ‘city-region’, of ‘place’, as not objectively present, but are fabricated concepts, constructed in particular times and places for specific reasons (Healey, 2002) This raises questions about the intentions of such construction and the institutional work carried out by them. (Healey, 2009; Neuman & Hull, 2009) Regarding the institutional structure, this means devolving state power to regional and local levels, and developing horizontal collaborations between actors, to replace the vertical hierarchical structure. (Healey, 36

2009) ‘Megaregion’ could become the crucial institutional arena both for identifying and selecting projects in a new configuration of government and for encouraging the promotion of endogenous economic development where the focus shifts from government to governance. (Healey, 2009) The development of this arena could be fuelled by an understanding of a ‘network society’ where ‘soft institutional form’ could be developed based on the functional linkages considered for a project. (Healey, 2009) This could mobilise the dynamics of the complex intersecting and co-existing multiple relations places for potential development. And coordinate forces in developing more horizontal governance forms, open to influences from economic and civil society relational nexuses where the process mechanisms include coordination, collaboration, consensus building and facilitation. (Healey, 2009; Neuman & Hull, 2009) Conclusions Megaregion concept has a potential to focus attention on a range of social, environmental and economic relations, as well as opens an institutional possibility. Planning should involve the provision of ‘soft and flexible’ government form where the capacity of governance needs to constitute a megaregional arena driven by projects rather than a rigid vertical inclusion of government structure; an arena that could subsume differential collaborations. Also, Megaregion is not the complete answer to all the problems, but it is part of the solution. It is important to critically analyse future and current development at multiple scales where ‘Megaregion’ becomes a new scalar lens that needs to be critically examined, while correcting its deficiencies thanks to other scales. It is a relational construct, relational to the processes occurring at specific geography and context. It raises the question of the scope of Megaregion as a planning tool, and the calibration of this tool in order to be implemented in different regions. The author would like to end with the note that the prefix ‘mega’ of this concept could be dismissed altogether because the essence of the idea lies in the relational construct of this spatial concept and the irrelevance of ‘mega’ or ‘metropolitan-’ or others. These regions could be called ‘macro-regions’ or just ‘regions’ to convey the idea.

Fig. 3.  World's megacities. Surce: https://www.

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What is MEGA? by Henry Endemann MSc Urbanism TU Delft

MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

Observations As cities become more productive, more connected, and more global, neighbouring cities and the regions they are situated in receive increasing attention. The formation of metropolitan regions is a common tool to optimize the economic performance of such constellations (Meijers, 2005). However, in the context of the explosive growth of urban populations and global economic interrelations, a new scale of urban clusters emerges: the megaregion. Probably the first professional observation of something like a megaregion was made by John Gottmann (1957), who described the continuous urbanized landscape between Boston and Washington as a “Megalopolis”. Since then, notions of urban regions that widely extend the conventional scale of a city have been commonly used throughout urban theory. It seems like mega-regions are somehow comprehended as clusters of mega-cities and present an upscaled, but distinct, version of processes typically related to metropolization. Still, there is no commonly used definition of megaregions. Jiawen et al. (2015) define them as “extended networks of metropolitan centers and the surrounding areas” (p.1). Florida et al. (2008) note that megaregions perform similar functions as big cities, but “on a far larger scale” (p.460). This does not seem sufficient. As a first approximation to defining what a megaregion is, it seems reasonable to talk about the processes that constitute them. Instead of trying to make definitions for how many people or how much GDP make a megaregion, it is more helpful to define processes that contribute to urban compositions which can be described as megaregions - processes of megaregionalization. These can be categorized into physical and institutional phenomena. Physical megaregionalization can be described through forces of agglomeration, in which people, capital, power, innovation,

and other characteristics are clustered together. This process of “massing together” (Florida et al., 2008, p.460) economic activities that benefit from spatial proximity is widely recognized in urban theory (cf. Brenner & Schmid, 2015; Friedmann, 1986; Meijers, 2005; Merrifield, 2013; Sassen, 2002). Urban agglomerations attract more agglomeration, and clusters of urban agglomerations tend to exponentially increase this. Institutional megaregionalization is related to the aspirations of institutions to harvest the benefits of agglomeration. As the above-mentioned benefits of economic clustering need to be adapted to a global scale, large metropolitan institutions are formed (Brenner, 2000; Khanna, 2010). These processes of re-territorialization often bring megaregions to public attention, and form the basis to realize extensive infrastructural projects. The spatial extents of physical and institutional megaregionalization are likely to be diverging. On the one hand, Florida et al. (2008) define megaregions like the “Beijing Megaregion”, which contains the cities of Beijing and Tianjin, as well as a few surrounding municipalities, with a total population of approximately 43 million people. The Chinese government announced plans for the development of a “World-Class City Cluster” that also includes the whole province of Hebei, thereby promoting a megaregion of more than 100 million people (Compilation and Translation Bureau, Central Committee of the Communist Party of China, 2016). On the other hand, the “Ams-Brus-Twerp” megaregion defined by Florida et al., which physically stretches over the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, and parts of France, is institutionally divided into numerous territories with metropolitan claims (Meijers et al., 2018). These two examples illustrate the possible differences between what is scientifically defined as a megaregion, and the desires for regional cooperation expressed through institutions. Despite their possible spatial divergence, the two categories of megaregionalization can be expected to mutually reinforce each other: growing agglomerations of people and capital require new institutional action, which in turn intends to attract more people and capital. The theoretical notions presented here are far from being aligned, but represent first attempts to grasp what is a relatively new phenomenon. One thing that is clear is that these notions contradict statements which are often made by the media. Headlines like “Chinese 'super-city' of 38

130 million people to be built around Beijing” (TomoNews 2015), or “JingJin-Ji: The Biggest City in China You’ve Probably Never Heard Of ” (Dezan Shira & Associates, 2018) wrongly label processes of clustering existing agglomerations as a process of building gigantic “cities” that are “new”. It is important to understand that megaregionalization does not only imply the growth of cities, but that it also marks a significant upscaling of the territories on which actors are operating. Challenges Metropolization and megaregionalization influence the understanding of urbanization. It is therefore necessary to evaluate how far these processes require the urban disciplines to reconsider their mode of action. Already being overwhelmed when dealing with urbanism on a regional scale, the new scales that are posed through megaregionalization threaten to worsen the incapability of planners and designers to adapt their practices (Graham & Marvin, 2008). Based on the theories and observations mentioned above, it needs to be discussed how the extreme upscaling of urbanization processes affects the applicability of conventional principles of urbanism. What comes to mind when thinking about the most commonly used principles of urbanism are things like the Compact City, the Smart City, or the Sponge City. The terminology of these principles already suggests the scale they are occupied with, and the difficulties of changing that scale: a compact city can not simply become a compact region by upscaling its logics. Principles like resilience or adaptability might provide more flexible frameworks, but lack a clear spatial dimension. As much as all these principles form a suitable basis to conceptualize actions for sustainable urban development, they do not seem to sufficiently prepare the discipline of urbanism for the challenges that are posed through megaregionalization. Nonetheless, it is crucial to define principles for sustainable megaregional development. So far, existing research forms a contextual basis for understanding megaregionalization. What seems to be missing is a conceptual basis which points towards principles of transforming megaregions according to the goals of sustainable development. It needs to be clarified whether or not transformations that support sustainability on a city scale can also make that contribution to a region, and if not, how commonly implemented principles need to be adapted, or even

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abandoned. Only if urban planners and designers manage to properly address the complexities and scales that megaregions confront us with, they can continue to make valuable contributions to the sustainable development of their basis of operation urban agglomerations.

Brenner, N. (2000). The Urban Question as a Scale Question: Reflections on Henri Lefebvre, Urban Theory and the Politics of scale. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 24(2), 361–378. Brenner, N., & Schmid, C. (2015). Towards a new epistemology of the urban? City, 19(2–3), 151–182. https://doi.or g/10.1080/13604813.2015.1014712 Compilation and Translation Bureau, Central Committee of the Communist Party of China. (2016). The 13te Five-Year Plan for Economic and Social Development of the People's Republic of China (2016–2020). Central Compilation & Translation Press, Beijing, China. Dezan Shira & Associates. (2018, April 26). The Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei Integration Plan. China Briefing News. Florida, R., Gulden, T., & Mellander, C. (2008). The rise of the mega-region. Cambridge Journal of Regions, Economy and Society, 1(3), 459–476. rsn018 Friedmann, J. (1986). The World City Hypothesis. Development and Change, 17(1), 69–83. https://doi. org/10.1111/j.1467-7660.1986.tb00231.x Gottmann, J. (1957). Megalopolis or the Urbanization of the Northeastern Seaboard. Economic Geography, 33(3), 189–200. Graham, S., & Marvin, S. (2008). Splintering urbanism: Networked infrastructures, technological mobilities and the urban condition. Routledge,. Jiawen, Y., Ge, S., & Jian, L. (2015). Measuring Spatial Structure of China’s Megaregions. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 141(2), 04014021. (ASCE)UP.1943-5444.0000207 Khanna, P. (2010). Beyond City Limits: The Age Of Nations Is Over. The New Urban Era Has Begun. Foreign Policy, 181, 120–128. JSTOR. Meijers, E. (2005). Polycentric Urban Regions and the Quest for Synergy: Is a Network of Cities More than the Sum of the Parts? Urban Studies, 42(4), 765–781. https://doi. org/10.1080/00420980500060384 Meijers, E., Hoogerbrugge, M., & Cardoso, R. (2018). Beyond Polycentricity: Does Stronger Integration Between Cities in Polycentric Urban Regions Improve Performance? Tijdschrift Voor Economische En Sociale Geografie, 109(1), 1–21. Merrifield, A. (2013). The Urban Question under Planetary Urbanization. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37(3), 909–922. Sassen, S. (2002). Global networks, linked cities. Routledge,. TomoNews (2015). Chinese 'super-city' of 130 million people to be built around Beijing. Retrieved from: com/watch?v=72NqvGvvaC0 [last accessed: 31.01.2020].

Fig. 1.  Built environment of the Jin-Jing-Ji Megaregion in China. Source: Author.


GBA GB MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism


Defining a GBA planning approach:

Game boarding and scenarios

by Peter Hasdell & Dr. Ir. Gerhard Bruyns

School of Design The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Urban Agglomeration Concepts The concept of Urban Agglomerations (UA) stems from the development of earlier theorised models of the megalopolis (Gottmann, 1957) and conurbation (Geddes, 1986). It is a concept that corresponds with post-WW2 growth, where the sprawl of cities beyond city boundaries, necessitated the formulation of new concepts and planning approaches able to deal with poly-nuclear urban conditions also defined as Polycentric Mega City Regions (Hall and Pain, 2006). In its wake, the condition of agglomeration has spurred other nomenclatures which include Extended Metropolitan Region (EMR), Metropolitan Area (MA), City-Region and Standard Metropolitan Area (SMA) and Mega Urban Region (Jones, 2002). It is by no means a new phenomenon but its reconsideration is of paramount importance in Asia and other places. As an urban condition, UA offers regional, supra-regional and cross-border strategic possibilities. They increase competitiveness, develop economies of scale, foster global integration, whilst advancing logistics, connectedness, cross-border and territorial

planning. On the other hand, UA distort local regions, leading to disconnection from hinterlands, loss of local culture and systems. The disruption of localregions dependencies, is deemed necessary for global economics or strategic level connections to materialise. This often leads to disenfranchisements, uneven development patterns and the emergence of peripheral informalities. For instance, Shenzhen’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ) state driven urban configuration is both highly successful (known as a centre for technology innovation with Alibaba, Tencent amongst others) as well as highly problematic (a city lacking integration with its hinterland populated by people unskilled in the local language or customs). London has similarly developed in ways that attract global capital and service sectors, making it one of the wealthiest global areas, yet it remains a case that distorts the development of the UK as a whole and no longer depends economically on the hinterlands or integration with other regions in the UK. Some of the oldest urban agglomerations globally include the New York Metropolitan Area (NY, New Jersey, Long Island, Philadelphia, including possibly Baltimore and Washington), Dallas-Arlington-Fort Worth, and the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area (LA, San Fernando and San Bernadino Valleys, Long Beach and San Diego). In Japan, the Tokyo bay region includes Tokyo, Kawasaki, Chiba and Yokohama; stemming from Japan’s highly successful post-war industrialisation. For Asia we find the urbanised regions part of and surrounding Manila, Jakarta, Delhi, 40

Dhaka and Mumbai equally characteristic of UA’s. Greater Bay Urban Agglomeration

During the past 40 years since the ‘reform and opening-up’ period, China has become the largest and fastest developed urban nation in history1. At present the state driven strategic planning policy aims to build a nationwide hierarchy that encompasses 20 urban centres with five national-level ‘large’ urban agglomerations, nine regional-level ‘medium’-sized urban agglomerations and six’ sub-regional’level urban regions. The five large urban agglomerations are the current foci of China’s New Urbanization strategy and include the Yangtze River Delta, Greater Bay Area (GBA), Beijing - Tianjin, and two inland regions near Wuhan and Chengdu - Chongqing (Fang and Yu, 2016). All of these large agglomerations are projected to be larger than 40 million people, and will clearly push the development of very large-scale cities to a new level in the next 20 years. One of the largest urbanised regions globally, the GBA is located in the Pearl River Delta region and has an urban agglomeration2 which encompasses 11 1.  Kamal-Chaoui, L., E. Leman and Z. Rufei (2009), “Urban Trends and Policy in China” , OECD Regional Development Working Papers, 2009/1, OECD publishing, © OECD. doi:10.1787/225205036417 2.  See:



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significant cities; Guangzhou, Forshan, Zongshan Bao’an, Dongguan, Zhuhai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau, Jiangmen, and Huizhou. Many of these cities have well over 6 million population each, with a combined official GBA population of over 70 million (some estimates suggest between 90 and 100 million people if the non-urban population is included)3. The GBA comprises of highly diverse constituent parts, including two Special Administrative Regions (S.A.R.) of Hong Kong - a global financial centre - and Macau - a casino economy city, two Special Economic Zones (S.E.Z.) in Shenzhen - in of itself it is one of the largest migrant cities - and Zhuhai. The GBA has three significant shipping logistics centres, three international airports, several ex-urban or former village areas such as Longgang, Shunde, Nansha, a diversity of spatial conditions, and a patchwork of uneven spatial development zones all in an area roughly the size of the Randstad. For Hong Kong specifically, the challenges of cross-border integration4 and spatial planning needs to consider radically different political systems, legal systems, land ownership systems, social and cultural structures within a larger one country-twosystems ecosystem.

Despite the state driven imperatives, clearly the characteristic urbanity of this region cannot be mono-centric, evenly planned or the result of singular planning controls and systems; even though infrastructure and top down planning as well as new technologies controlling and affecting human mobility will all play significant roles. Instead, the development of the GBA will likely become a series of urban intensities in a differentiated urban field with concentrations and dispersals, with the well planned and the informal, the serviced as well as residual spaces. Therefore, significant exogenous (external) factors - global economy, competitiveness, technological economies of scale - will clearly impact the GBA's urban future. In terms of the social, the GBA faces a similar challenge. At present, aside from the governance and policy intentions, this has primarily resulted in an infrastructural planning approach, one that utilizes a systemic top-down perspective that seeks to provide the connective tissues and reticules, as well as civic and economic systems that mobilise people, capital and goods in such a vast region. This approach is akin to the smart city models which seek to enfold all aspects of civic life within systemic infrastructure control paradigms.

html. 3.  For research and analytic comparison on European agglomerations see After Sprawl (De Geyter 2002) and Netzstadt (Oswald, 2003) 4.  See Bolchover, J. and Hasdell, P. Border Ecologies: Hong Kong's Mainland Frontier, Birkhäuser, Basel, 2016, 240 pages.

A critical question for steering the development of such kinds of mega UA’s is what urban planning approaches can deal with the radical differences and contestations. Given the scope and scale of this undertaking, the modalities of planning in the GBA need to shift from an extensive 41

planned realm in which every part coheres to a plan, to one of a differentiated field in which different intensities arise. This clearly needs new approaches, concepts and models of planning that can deal with these regional issues in dynamic, openended ways that foster new modalities of planning. Post-industrial urban models have gravitated towards the ‘industrialisation’ of the social through the economic frameworks of value and economic growth. The overemphasis of ‘capital’ and value has in this light, as Ng (1986) argues, produced planning instruments within – and not against - ‘capitalist mode of production’. The dominant planning model remains ‘derivative rather than creative’, meant to maximise private growth and restrict co-operative involvement5. Similarly, state led plans also have their limitations. At this level planing aggregates urban regions by decree-as it were - prioritising control and top down strategies rather than difference as the main planning instrument at their disposal. Whilst planning at the larger scale addresses specifics pressures of urban development, the omission of social models and their respective themes remain a clear oversight in how to strategize the territory within all scales of governance levels. The exclusion within the praxis of planning, to rationalise the social in both spatial and economic valance, deliberately by-passes the 5. See Ng, M.K. (1986). Urban Planning in Hong Kong, A Case Study of the Central District., Master of Science Thesis, Dept. Urban Planning. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong. pp.124-125.


MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

importance of the social in both instances of the polycentric as well as monocentric planning incentives. These provide fertile ground for strategizing, speculating and critically questioning the current status quo. Therefore the definition of new territorial regions and scales in the GBA, exert pressure on current modernist derived approaches: in which planning methods and their instruments operating in particular ideological paradigms, seek optimised solutions for urban aggregation and allocation, in terms of structural characteristics of the landscape, its aligned economic functionality, and valance with socio-econometric models which give rise to the coherent city planning. Such models may have structural or spatial limits, as some of the 1990s strategic spatial planning approaches for integrated cross border urban regions in the emergent EU highlighted at the time. Planning as discipline therefore needs to critically reconsider its role whilst developing appropriate tools and models that are able to address current territorial challenges, whilst at the same time projecting possible future scenarios. In this light, with the challenges of new mega-regions, how or in what way would the conventional methods of spatial planning need to find adjustment or modification in their praxes? Speculations and testing space Intentions, propositions and design incentives are part and parcel of the production of urban scenarios in strategic spatial design. This is especially relevant to spatial thinking on an urban scale, and the development of scenarios to ‘play out’ opportunities whilst rapidly testing the valance of ideas. For territories we find the definitions of strategies under a number of guises. Either as design ‘fantasies’ (Maas et al., 2011), in game board processes for testing alternatives (Reinart and Poplin, 2014) or in the methodologies of a developmental processes that first redefine design methodologies before translating these strategies into policies that may even produce new urban types (Bunschoten et al., 2001). The linking of the GBA with design intentions is viable through the questions that emerge when coupling territorial thinking with extreme orders of scales. In ‘The Great Leap Forward’, Chung et al (2001), write of Shenzhen’s architectural context and its rapid development during the 1990s, culminating in the city of exacerbated differences. It is in this concept of different that we find new opportunities, exposing possibilities to develop alternative scenarios for territories that have previously


remained aloof. For example, differences of new qualities of spaces, the testing of new density scenarios or, at the individual level, what defines a single entity mega project. For this, the GBAex (Greater Bay Area Extreme), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design), the TU Delft (Department of Urbanism) and the International Forum on Urbanism collaborative Master’s course had 3 main aims. A first aim was to look at the production of ‘difference’ in the development of strategic (planning) propositions or scenarios that foster different scenarios for economies, mobilities, ecologies and patterns of living. In this, to understand that the synergistic processes, concentrating on ‘how’ and ‘what’ to develop in order to affect radical difference between places, centres and locations. The intensification and multiplication of different urban typologies and new morphologies was emphasised, in order to generate a wider range of nodes types that could promote, not the agglomeration of 11 cities and their hinterlands, but the multiplicity of 100 cities of ‘difference’. By questioning current planning and strategy instruments the focus here was to question how new characteristics would impact: connectivity, mobility, diverse and divergent characteristics of urban areas, settlement nodes, industrial nodes, leisure nodes, ecological nodes, service nodes and financial sector nodes, amongst others. A second aim was to test the way strategic planning becomes instrumental in the materialisation of speculative strategies. For this, the methodologies of translating such notions were open to morphological 42

studies, landscape design, regional design, GIS indices, social models as well as economic theories. Basic understandings of urban development, spatial planning and territorial organisation were of key importance, assessing the impact of both the endogenous and exogenous factors affecting such urban typologies or their positioning. A final aim was to test out how such strategies would foster potential for new policies. The re-positioning of urban futures, spatially, socially, economically and environmentally, helped to collate a comprehensive future vision, spanning 25, 50 and 75 years. With the level of complexity, number of variables and the scales of planning involved, the studio aimed to develop questions of spatial negotiation, of what protocols to set in place that would allow for the merging of planning scales with regional qualities and local specifics. The working process The GBAex working process focussed on two planning scales, 1:200 000 and 1:50 000. This included the proposed GBA territorial boundaries incorporating Macau, Hong Kong, the Mainland border, as well as the larger Pearl River Delta. Hand drawn maps and 3D game maps were the primary mediums for explorations, strategizing as well as outcome development. Three phases outlined the operational praxis of this brief, each with a specific product. Phase 1 focussed on the GBA’s current context and regional analysis, using

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the 1:200 000 scale. Lecture based, this outlined the historical and future prospects of GBA, its SEZ’s and SAR’s and the Pearl River Delta context. Herein, the discussion elaborated on; the GBA’s composition and how the GBA is to be understood? Furthermore, how should the monocentric and polycentric phenomena be understood in terms of centre and periphery, ecology, economies, history and social models, and what is the impact of this binary conditions in terms of planning ideologies? Phase 2, mainly on the 1:200 000 scale, earmarked the propositions for strategizing the GBAex, and its negotiations processes. The brief was limited to four specific modalities, each radically different from one another to emphasise exacerbated difference. Groups were required to place the assigned strategies as ‘landscapes of quality and difference’ into the GBA region. With the placement of each modality, the groups would have to project how each of these manifest on the GBA’s map. As such, each modality had to develop a materialisation strategy, through rapid formulating the spatial scenarios. These scenarios had to include, but not limited to, the current 10-year time frame, in addition to a 2050 and 2075 projection. Important to stress here is the integration, as a way of approximation, with no specific precision. In other words, the playing out of each decision at this scale remains abstract yet intentional. Thereafter, as followup, phase two required a more concrete development, zooming into specific conditions, as catalyst for what is termed ‘territorial negotiations’. Groups were free to question, at the 1:50 000 scales, what larger frameworks would be required to develop each module further. For example, with the addition of 20 new Special Economic Regions, what types of industry or economic activities would support such regions, whilst critically assessing the negotiations of each of these within the GBA context?


The modalities/strategies specific to phase two included the following. The first modality is termed the Pointillist Strategies for the GBAex region. This modality questioned the development of a differentiated point and line approach to spatial planning. It permits the fine-grained nuancing and programming of formerly zoned or delimited territories. Its premise rests on the understanding that a wide range Fig. 1.  Spatial thinking on an urban scale, and the ongoing process of scenarios to ‘play out’

opportunities whilst rapidly testing the valance to

territorial and regional planning. Source: G Bruyns. Fig. 2.  See Fig. 1. Fig. 3.  See Fig. 1.

3 43

MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism



of development types can be proposed and programmed into the existing ‘low’ level spatial context, or other underutilised landscapes of the GBA. The key focus in this modality positions a strategic approach to economic development that outlines smaller and larger clusters that produce ‘mega’, ‘medium’ and ‘small’ Special Economic Regions (SER) across the GBA territory. Modality two is called Strip Development Strategies for the GBAex region. This strategy explores territorial ‘strips’ to provide functional and spatial distribution. The current piecemeal development along infrastructure lines follows a centre and periphery model. This approach in particular, positions an asymmetrical paradigm, where the variety of functional morphologies challenge types of morphologies and social mixing. Of particular interest here is the massive intensification and strategic cross borders conditions, commercial and financial sectors that each are derived from primary strip, whilst permitting the close adjacency of diversely programmed strips (formal, informal, coherent and piecemeal compositions) across the territory as a north south granular development. A third modality is captioned as Linear Development Strategies for the GBAex region. Following lines of development, linear programs activates diverse edges along singular lines. Irrespective whether these lines are related to coastlines, interiors or intentions linking infrastructure, they

resemble an ever-important aspect of the entrepôt city. The intersection with key political axes and the literal ‘lines’ of planning demarcate development along new infrastructural corridors. Such spatial vectors shift the centre of gravity for territories, CBD’s and infrastructure models that support key areas of interest or distract attention from other zones. With the drawing of new lines, new strategies are born with inherent conditions and consequences. A fourth and final modality is defined by the Mega Bock Development Strategies for the GBAex region. An increasing phenomena of Chinese urbanisation is the emergence of Mega block development. In the European context, the city, urban and perimeter block has remained the prevalent morphological unit for urban expansion and development. For the Chinese territory, the mega has become a territorial mechanism in own right, defining a new scale op planning. Mega block urbanisms are individual and totalising urban landscapes, claiming vast portions of land that replicated the model in a repetitive process. Although each mega block type may house 500 000 dwellers, they represent cities, expanding across regions whilst establishing highly specific identifies and urban characteristics not only between themselves but also to historic forms of urbanisation. PHASE 3 – Documentation and Data. (1.5 weeks) 44

Phase three, a continuation of the negotiation process, translates each incentive into a coherent component; one overarching policy document. Detailing the concepts of each framework in relation to higher resolutions of scale, helped the various groups to set in in place the bi-lateral dependencies of scale, complexity, nuancing, and overall integration. Documented in the analytical work, supplemented with map images and game board steps, each intention became a documented step. This helped set in place the opportunities for further development and exploration beyond the mere 2-week process conducted in Hong Kong. Next steps To date the outcomes of this method of working has resulted a number of publications and two exhibitions. It has been a fruitful endeavour allowing technical programmes to foster dialogues with design programmes at the inter-institutional level. We further wish to reiterate that the outcomes of this collaboration was not to deliver a definitive conclusion to the GBA and its challenges. The focus was on the transference of methodological tools that challenge the conventional praxis of spatial and territorial design. What is more, and from our specific view, the collaboration remains only a first step in the three-year collaboration between the Globalisation

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Studio and the School of Design’s Masters of Urban and Environmental Design programmes. We look forward to the longevity of these connected-programmes and what they may offer students and design thinking on either side of the globe. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University – School of Design, Urban Systems and Strategies Masters Unit. Prof. Peter Hasdell (Coordinator), Gerhard Bruyns, Prof. dr. KK Ling – DISI. PhD Students: Darren Nel, Jasmine Suxin Zhang, Eveline Peng, Krity Gera, Jen Yoohyun Lee. Delft University of Technology, Faculty of Architecture, Globalization Course. Dr. D.A.Sepulveda-Carmona (Coordinator), Dr. Luisa Calabrese - Design of the Urban Fabrics Research Group, Dr. Qu Lei - Complex City Region, Dr. Stephen Read, Gregory Bracken, Dr. Yuting Tai.

of Design, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University and the Department of Urbanism, Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment, the Delft University of Technology. Participants: The Delft University of Technology: Laura Thomas, Wendy van der Horst, Mark Scholten, Henry Endemann, Maria Symeonidi, Ioanna Virvidaki, Kavya Suresh, Dhushyanth Ravichandrakumar, Kavya Kalyan, Jiajun Wu, Jahnavi Bhatt, Marina Binti Mohamed Rani, Elisa Isaza Bernhard, Minalies Rezikalla, Marialena Koskeridou, Marcello Corradi, Surabhi Khandelwal, Yueqi Tang, Oumkaltoum Boudouaya. The Hong Kong Polytechnic University: Feng Shuyuan, Gu Peiran, Hong Yifei, Li Guangda, Li Shuang, Liang Dongfan, Lin Shiying, Wang Yue, Xu Ye, Yang Chaojun, Zhang Jiayi, Zhao Chengming, Zhao Chenlu, Zhao Yichang, Wen Jiangxin, Kopacz Panna Boroka.

Other acknowledgements Financial support provided by The School

CHORA. (2001). Urban Flotsam: Stirring the City, 010 Publishers, Rotterdam. Chung, C.J., Inaba, J., Koolhaas, R. and Leong, S.T. (Eds.). (2001). Project on the City I: Great Leap Forward, Taschen, Cambridge, MA. Fang, C. and Yu, D. (2016). “China’s New Urbanization and Development Bottlenecks”, in Fang, C. and Yu, D. (Eds.), China’s New Urbanization: Developmental Paths, Blueprints and Patterns, Springer, Berlin, Heidelberg, pp. 1–48. Geddes, P. (1986). Cities in Evolution: An Introduction to the Town Planning Movement and to the Study of Civics, Ernest Benn Ltd., London. Gottmann, J. (1957). “Megalopolis or the Urbanization of the Northeastern Seaboard”, Economic Geography, Vol. 33 No. 3, pp. 189–200. Hall, P.G. and Pain, K. (2006). The Polycentric Metropolis: Learning from Mega-City Regions in Europe, Routledge. Jones, G.W. (2002). “Southeast Asian urbanization and the growth of mega-urban regions”, Journal of Population Research, Vol. 19 No. 2, pp. 119–136. Maas, W., Salij, T.H. and Factory, W. (2011). Hong Kong Fantasies: Challenging World-Class City Standards, NAI Publishers, Rotterdam. Ng, M.K. (1986). Urban Planning in Hong Kong, A Case Study of the Central District., Master of Science Thesis, Dept. Urban Planning. Hong Kong: University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong.

Shenzhen Centre For Design: Huang Weiwen International Forum on Urbanism: Vivien Wang

Bunschoten, R., Binet, H., Hoshino, T. and

Reinart, B. and Poplin, A. (2014). “Games in urban planning – a comparative study”, in Manfred Schrenk, Popovich. V.V., Zeile, P. and Elisei, P. (Eds.), Plan It Smart! Clever Solutions for Smart Cities. (2014). Presented at Fig. 4.  Linking various strategies to analytic

typologies of the GBA and Hong Kong. Source: G Bruyns.

Fig. 5.  See Fig. 4.


the REAL CORP 2014, 19th International Conference on Urban Development, Regional Planning and Information Society, Vienna, pp. 239–248.


Point Territories A new development model towards accessibility planning by Ioanna Virvidaki, Laura Thomas, Marcello Corradi, Maria Symeonidi, Mark Scholten

MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

MSc Urbanism TU Delft






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The GBA is currently the largest megaregion on earth. Megaregional planning is mainly focused on the development of large scale transportation, aiming to improve the global competitiveness of the region, what is referred to as “Mobility Planning”. Mobility Planning changes the distribution of services and employment opportunities. The new modes of transport that can carry people further within a shorter amount of time has caused services and opportunities to disperse. Governments, planning bodies and the real estate industry have become entangled. Land value - in a globalizing economy - is, thus, very much determined by the level of (regional) connection. Developers direct their attention towards areas close to infrastructure nodes, thus, the areas where people with a lower income are residing are less prone to develop. Even basic functions, such as education, health care or public green space, are often deprived from areas further away from connective nodes. Global capitalism has led to the focus on global competitiveness. As a result, local scale integrated development has been neglected and instead excessive

focus has been put on developing major infrastructures to improve global and regional connections. This phenomenon has created major inequalities and increased the division between social classes.

Fig. 1.  Global Scale. Mobility Planning, large scale

We need to rethink the course of Mobility Planning and therefore explore the model of Accessibility Planning, meaning that cities are about, first and foremost, people and places, not movement. Accessibility planning can be understood as a form of planning that transcends the understanding of accessibility as a purely physical notion. Accessibility Planning is not solely concerned with people’s proximity to work, but also deals with increasing (1) access to employment opportunities, (2) access to social capital, (3) access to management of the environment, (4) access to social networks and (5) access to local infrastructure.

Accessibility Planning. Source: Authors.

The project ‘Point Territories’ challenges the current course of Mobility Planning. Arguing that existing mobility infrastructures harm the local conditions and exclude certain social groups, the project aims to establish a shift from Mobility Planning towards a model of Accessibility Planning.


infrastructure. Source: Authors. Fig. 2.

Local Scale (from top to bottom):

Fragmented linear city, Divided linear city, Consolidated linear city. Source: Authors.

Fig. 3.  Shifting from Mobility Planning to Fig. 4.  Pearl River Delta "great leap upwards". Source: The Guardian (2016).

Interweaving Fragments atlantis

Activating Green-Blue Infrastructure in Pearl River Delta, China.

MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

by Jahnavi Bhatt, Marina Binti, Mohamed Rani, Oumkaltoum Boudouaya, Eleni Maria Koskeridou, Dhushyanth Ravichandrakumar Msc Urbanism TU Delft


The Greater Bay Area is one of the most important city clusters in the world, and – due to favourable economic prospects – it is expected to strengthen further. The most important question from the regional perspective is how successfully the integration of the cities can be deepened. Factors that support cooperation include the different specialisations of the cities, the significant infrastructural investments and political will, while the challenges to be overcome are posed by strong internal division, differences among the cities and the deficiencies of the Chinese legal system that all create obstacles in the way of the free flow of services, workforce, capital and information. In this project, we focused first on

understanding and analysing the main challenges in relation to the development trends which are primarily related to metropolisation and rapid urbanisation processes. China’s rapid urbanisation has led to serious environmental pollution. It is estimated that more than 80% of China’s coastal water and about 70% of its rivers and lakes are polluted with industrial waste, raw sewage and agricultural run-off. (Chinadialogue, 2019). While the process of metropolisation and urbanisation is beneficial for economic prosperity of the region it was also responsible for several issues such as environmental population, economic polarisation (Fig. 3) and social segregation (Fig. 4). 48

The rapid urbanisation has led to the fragmented growth of cities in the Pearl River Delta Region. This type of growth and the existing topographical conditions has resulted in fragmented green areas within the region. These fragmented greens are either inaccessible or are not assigned any particular use (Fig. 5). Moreover, this low amount of green leads not only to discontinuous biodiversity networks but also affects physical health, mental health and community belonging within the society. Thus, our proposition focuses on adapting polycentricity at different scales, creating a highly connected network of nodes. The future development within the region aims to achieve integration in economic, social and spatial aspects. For this we approach


Vol. 30 Unsafe Air Quality

ters expor ture cul gri a st ge ar


World’s Factory

Environmental Degradation

Society Health Implication


Rural Urban Migration




the issue with integration of green and blue infrastructure to bind the fragmented elements at different scales: - At the regional scale, we aim to create several economic clusters with ecologicalindustrialisation. - At the intermediate and local scale, the focus remains on connecting greenblue networks for ecological and social connections with community centres and pocket parks Vision statement (Fig. 1): In 2030, the GBA will be the global forerunner in sustainable development, while still maintaining its status as one of the most dynamic socioeconomic regions in the world. The high levels of pressure on the main cities will be relieved by planning a green and


blue backbone, with a focus on creating balanced densification and development program throughout the region. This will create a more liveable, integrated and sustainable environment for the residents. Thus, the focus remains on connecting green-blue networks for ecological and social connections with community centres and pocket parks.


Source: Finance Feeds,2016. Graphic work by Authors.

Fig. 4.  The Urban Villages could be described as social heterotopias, secluded from their

surroundings.Source: Maurice Veeken, Graphic by Authors.

Fig. 5.  The super-dense urban fabric is contrasted with the landscape. Google Earth, Graphic work by Authors.

Chinadialogue (20019). Human wellbeing threatened by Fig. 1.  Vision map: GBA 2030. Source: Authors

Fig. 2.  A collage summarising the urgent issues and challenges of the GBA. Source: Authors.

Fig. 3.  The Hong Kong Metro area accounts for

76% of the employment, while New Territories only 24%. (Hong Kong Planning Department, 2016). 49

‘unprecedented’ rate of biodiversity loss. Retrieved from: https:// Hong Kong Planning Department (2016). Hong Kong 2030: Towards Planning Vision and strategy Transcending 2030. Retrieved fron HK 2030 plus. Website: https://www.hk2030plus. hk/


Trans-territorial equilibration Exploring the Greater Bay Area through linear morphology to create a balanced territory by Henry Endemann, Surabhi Khandelwal, Tang Yueqi, Wendy van der Horst

MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

MSc Urbanism TU Delft


Introduction This project investigates the transformative power of urbanisation to achieve an equilibrated development in the Greater Bay Area. The “Guangdong - Hong Kong - Macau Greater Bay Area”, or simply Greater Bay Area (GBA), is one of the latest cases of newly emerging megaregions in China. This new scale of governance unites eleven administrations, including the two special administrative regions (SARs) of Hong Kong and Macau, as well as nine cities in the Guangdong province. Spread over 56.000 km2, it is home to more than

70 million people. That compares to the population of Germany, on an area just slightly larger than the Netherlands. The GBA’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is as high as that of Russia. Some of the biggest airports and harbours, as well as the biggest bridge on the planet are located in the GBA. The region is MEGA in all respects. (Cheung, 2019; Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau, 2018). An ongoing internationalisation of economy and agglomerations of people and capital are clear signs of processes of metropolisation happening in the region (Gibson & Graham, 2006; Brenner, 2000). On the other hand, environmental risks posed through rising sea levels and an increasing scarcity of freshwater reveal the vulnerability of a steadily growing urban fabric (Carlow, Valin, & Al, 2017, p.586).

being informed by both global economy and local (pre-)conditions, first conclusions on the current state of development in the region can be drawn. The most striking observation is that development seems to be, first and foremost, based on improving global economic networks. This exclusive trend tends to overlook certain areas which, in turn, only suffer from the negative externalities of growth, and do not enjoy the benefits of economic interrelations. In more dramatic terms, it seems like global economy ‘won’: metropolisation (in the GBA) is geared to optimise the performance of a few selected, globally interconnected points, ignoring the original geographies of the region.

These complex diversities and dimensions give a first idea of the challenges occurring when trying to rethink this metropolitan system.

Planetary urbanisation tries to describe a new scale of urbanisation: “‘Planetary’ truly charts the final frontier, the telos of any earthly spatial fix, of an economic, political and cultural logic that has not been powered by globalisation but is one of the key constituent ingredients of globalisation, of the planetary expansion of the productive forces, of capitalism’s

Problem statement After trying to conceptualise metropolisation in the GBA as a process


Challenge, part one: equilibrium

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penchant to annihilate space by time, and time by space” (Merrifield, 2013, p.912). This new scale of urbanisation includes a shift from cities to urban fabrics, from absolute to relative spaces (Lefebvre, 1991, p.73 ; 2003, p.57). Globalisation, metropolisation, and urbanisation describe a world in motion, steered by dialectical forces. Hence, contextualising metropolisation within the concept of urbanisation creates a framework that links processes of global networking to their influence on socio-spatial and ecological landscapes and emphasises their interdependencies.

global networks, and systems that support it. Secondly, there is an enormous transformational power within the process of urbanisation (Merrifield, 2013, p.915; Brenner & Schmid, 2015, p.165). Hypothetically, this power can be used for the equilibration of development. This project tries to understand the dependency of the urban fabric on ecological structures using the concept of Ecosystem Services to classify and assess interventions in spatial planning.

Challenge, part two: urbanisation as an equilibrator

The current state of development in the GBA favours global economy. The transformative power of urbanisation, should be used to re-balance metropolitan development. Ecosystem services, as a useful concept for an anthropocenic understanding of the importance of ecological structures, concretises and quantifies this equilibration. Eventually, the idea of human well-being, in the sense of both high quality social spaces and the pure necessity of human survival, frames the conceptual framework as an overarching goal (Fig. 3).

Going back to the problematique of the unbalanced condition of metropolitan development in the GBA and the challenge of equilibrating it, the theoretical framework of planetary urbanisation shows two important points: firstly, metropolisation cannot be understood, and cannot be changed, without taking into account contemporary forms of extended urbanisation. The extreme density of the GBA cannot exist without the spaces,

Challenge, part three: dynamic equilibrium

Brenner, N. and Schmid, C. (2015). Towards a new epistemology of the urban?. City, 19(2-3), pp.151-182. Friedmann, J. (1985). The world city hypothesis. Los Angeles. Lefebvre, H. (1991 [1974]). The Production of Space. Blackwell, Oxford. and (2003). The urban revolution. Minnesota University Press, Minneapolis, MN. Merrifield, A. (2013). “The Urban Question under Planetary Urbanization” International Journal of Urban and Regional Research; Volume 37.3 May 2013 909–22.

Fig. 1.  Constituents of global economy in the GBA. Source: Authors. Fig. 2.

Constituents of global economy in

Hongkong, including sulfur dioxide (SO2) in water (in parts per million). Source: Authors.

Fig. 3.  Conceptual framework based on

Friedmann's (1985) concepts global economy and local (pre-) conditions. Source: Authors.





Identity within diversity Rethinking the notion of Megablock planning structures in the metropolisaton process by

Elisa Isaza Bernhard, Kavya Kalyan, Kavya Suresh,

MEGA | Hong Kong Polytechnic University (School of Design) | Delft University of Technology (Department of URbanism) | International Forum on Urbanism

Minalies Rezikalla and Jiajun Wu Msc Urbanism TU Delft



Major cities Metropolitan structures


The rapidly forming Greater Bay area in China displays previously unseen scales of metropolisation and spatial restructuring, resulting in mega urban agglomerations (Fig. 1) This rapid growth and increasing population has led to increasing economic opportunities, attracting a large number of migrants to this area, from various parts of China and the rest of the world, resulting in a hub for diverse identities. (Fig. 2) However, the nature and pace of the urbanisation process, which leads to large scale private development and major upscaling of infrastructure, does not reflect the multiplicity of identities found in the region. There is a strong discrepancy between the top down planning process and the spatial needs of the daily life systems of the people that live here. In other words, the very phenomenon of metropolisation, that draws these diverse people to such a region is structured to ignore them.

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In this context, the notion of identity is defined by culture, society and context, in

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which the different ways of thinking and using space, the daily life systems or the cognitions of the environment are shaping who people are as individuals, but also as a collective. Identity prevails in different forms - in the individual and the collective, in plural form, reinforcing a strong need for belonging. With the onset of globalisation, the scales of identity range from the individual to a global identity. There is a need to accommodate the cohabitation of multiple identities in the process of metropolisation, within the existing planning process in the GBA. This cohabitationa can be facilitated by understanding space as the carrier of social interactions and the daily patterns of life and as a result, a manifestation of identities (Fig. 4). The challenge lies in the accommodation of this spatial transformation, in the existing model of spatial planning in the GBA.

4 Fig. 1.  Metropolisation in the GBA. Demographic

analysis of the cities in GBA. (Source: Citypopulation; Census and Statistics Department, Hong Kong Special Administrative Region; DSEC). Fig. 2.  Metropolisation process.

Fig. 3.  Diverse use of spaces in the GBA Source :

Fig. 4.  Placemaking for diverse identities.



Delving into the Meertensgroeve by Floor den Ouden

MSc Landscape architecture TU Delft

Q1 student projects | Msc1 Landscape Architecture | TU Delft 2019


In the hilly landscape of Limburg, several quarries are located. One of these quarries, the Meertensgroeve, was used to mine limestone, but is now overgrown by nature. Meertensgroeve is located in Valkenburg aan de Geul, which is split between a natural and a manmade area. The manmade side is scattered with villages combined with a productive landscape, while the natural side is forested. Meertensgroeve is located at an important spot between those realms. However, not only its position, but also its character contributes to its importance since the place has been morphed by man and is taken over by nature.

coming close to civilization.

This quarry could therefore function as a transition between the manmade and natural realm. People visiting the forest can gradually move from an extremely structured to an organic natural setting. Animals, on the other hand, are less likely to move from the forest into the manmade area. There is no sudden border so they will progressively feel less welcome when

A few years ago the trees on the northern slope of the quarry were chopped down. However, while taking the transition between the manmade and the natural area in consideration, it becomes clear that the trees are cut at the wrong side. Therefore, this slope should be reforested, while the trees at southern slope should be thinned out. This process will take approximately 50

Part of the design brief was to create a publicly accessible garden, a visitor centre and a house for the forester within the quarry. A stop in this quarry is often skipped, while the forest around the Meertensgroeve is visited frequently. This might be due to the fact that the quarry currently has only one entrance. To encourage the flow of new visitors, two extra entrances are to be added. To reinforce this, clear paths will make it possible to easily find the high-quality views and the specific alternations of light and dark.




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years. In the first 4 years, a majority of the trees in the south will be chopped down in semi-regular patterns. This will strengthen the gradual transition of the area but will also attract visitors by sparking interest. When the Meertensgroeve has become a recognized spot, more trees in the south area will get the opportunity to grow. This will provide shade and shelter for ecology when the initial pull of visitors is no longer necessary. Because of the location, the Meertensgroeve will be a place for both people and animals. The garden will be at the centre, where these two are brought together. The garden will be located in an exceptional climate that is facilitated by the unique character of the quarry. The deeper location allows rare plant and animal species to prosper. One of these species is

the yellow-bellied toad which benefits from the quarry’s warm, shallow water features. Nowadays visitors do not get the chance to experience this unique ecology since their eye level differs significantly from that of insects and small amphibians. The design therefore recommends a new type of view to change people’s perception. By bringing them to the same level of plants and small animals, people can interact more closely with nature: hearing and seeing insects, get in touch with the materials and get a dynamic view of the various patterns presented. To achieve this, there is a need to delve into the Meertensgroeve. Accordingly, the garden is being lowered by this excavation. Apart from being a necessity to create the unique view, it also reminds of the mining in the areas and provides the base of a marshy garden interesting for ecology.

Since the garden is positioned between culture and nature, the trees are used to lead the way in the absence of paths. So, two rows of poplars at one of the entrances guide people into the garden. The orientation of the garden and the nature of the entrances creates axes that direct the gaze of the visitor towards a group of existing trees. These trees are located on the original level of the quarry while the surrounding garden is lowered by the excavation. This contrast generates a central focus point in the garden, that is reinforced by the axes. Another focus point is a large willow, that indicates the presence of a pond. The foresters house is located in the southeast corner of the garden. To ensure his privacy groups of small trees with a low canopy block the visitors’ direct view while in the garden. Located near the central focus point a narrow information centre exhibits the history of the quarry and the surrounding. The end is marked with the lowered view over the landscape. A sharp corner in the northwest of the garden surprises people by almost completely surrounding them. Here they can be one with nature.

Fig. 1.  Quarry project timeline. Source: Author. Fig. 2.  Views from the garden. Source: Author. Fig. 3.  Being part of nature. Project section. Source: Author.

Fig. 4.  Views from the garden. Source: Author. Fig. 5.  Garden design plan. Source: Author.

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Hortus Oculus Building-garden ensemble by Gary Gilson

MSc Landscape architecture TU Delft The layers of history and time that made up the present-day Meertensgroeve quarry start revealing itself as one move and interact more with the de facto landscape. Careful analysis of the site with respect to a spatial and a sensory quality, i.e. spatial sequences and patterns, helped in identifying the most striking aspects and defining character of the landscape.

The zoning, routing and design resolution of the quarry and garden respects the existing and past layers and patterns of the landscape. The design aims at uncovering the hidden pattern and language of the quarry while taking the visitor on a journey through different spatial sequences and experiential routes. There are two primary routes for visitors. One is a calm route that sets off at the main quarry and drives people forward as the architectural language of the Visitor Center acts as a ‘hidden sculpture’ in the forest, evoking curiosity in the minds of the visitors. The route allows one

Q1 student projects | Msc1 Landscape Architecture | TU Delft 2019

A combination of several unique spatial sequences tease one’s senses work together and force them to want to experience more

of the quarry. The horizontal language of the bare slopes, where trees have been cut down dominates over the pattern of the larger forest surrounding the quarry. This is evidence that the original hidden pattern under the soft, dense forest canopy is that of the soil itslef. Similarly, hidden meandering loops around the pools seem to have generated the slopes and terraces that enclose the inner volume of the quarry by pushing land away in a curvilinear fashion from the water bodies. These two patterns, i.e, the linear expression of the bare slopes and the meandering loops around the pools become coherent as one spends more time in the landscape observing and feeling it physically.

to pause and look at the quarry from different perspectives and feel its most intricate elements like the water pools, water plants, frogs, soil, and limestone in close proximity. Since the route is not physically challenging, it does confuse and question the visitors’ minds as each point in the journey drives them closer to the destination, but not fully give in till the journey is complete. The second route reveals the possibility of exploration as one is driven to take risks and walk around the pools and climb the slopes with minimum external help. This haptic journey rewards the visitor throughout the route in the form of wonderful viewpoints and challenging obstacles. The best viewpoint on site is in this route as one is able to perceive the entire language of the quarry from above. The final viewpoint allows one to move down and join the calmer route at an intermediate point, and eventually reach the final destination. In the first route, the user has to move through a frame enclosing a glimpse of the hidden sculpture, then through a sunken trench touching and feeling the elements in close range, and end up in front of a hedge. After searching for a continuation, the gateway to the hidden garden is found. The second route joins the calm route

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here. An avenue formed by curved rows of Pinus sylvestris acts as a roofed nave inside the forest and resumes the journey, slowly revealing the architectonic layer. However, as one reaches the open oculus in the journey, there still does not seem to be a direct entry to the building, rather a good look back at the quarry. The oculus here is characterized by the interwoven nature of the hedges made of Fagus sylvatica, slopes and architecture layer. The gateway upfront characterised by two monumental Quercus robur trees invite one to continue the journey on an acutely curved path, reminiscent of the motocross tracks, allowing them to move through two different sequences, one between a wall of the canopy formed by a row of Salix sepulcralis ‘Chrysocoma’ and a thick limestone wall and the other between this limestone wall and the existing bare slope, allowing them to experience the past and present materialization of the site.

linear nature of the bare slope, making it more evident. The subtle entry to the visitor center is the last space of experience. As one finds the subtle entry to it and looks through the glass portal enclosed between the wood and stone parametric facade of the visitor center that evoked curiosity and drove them forward, the view they gets is of their starting point, all the pauses, and the quarry itself as a whole, which itself, in reality, is the hidden treasure they were in search of. Fig. 1.  Spatial Sequences. Source: Author. Fig. 2.  Routing map. Source: Author.

Fig. 3.  Design Layout. Source: Author.


The final point is the plane and open volume of land enclosed by hedges, forest, bare slope, water, and the concave forester’s cabin which settles well and exposes the linearity of the bare slope on which it rests. Visitors can relax and spend their time here. The three-layered radial grid of Betula pendula forms a curtain behind the Forester’s house and adds contrast to the

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The Montage Story The city story about Research, Reconstruction and Narrative

The project is based on four main theories, Landscape Urbanism, Typo-morphology Analysis, the Open City and Complex City. I choose the Dutch city of Velsen as the base of my research and design. The question before the start is how these elements or theories influence the form of the city.

What is the past, the present and the future of Velsen? How to describle it with a video? I try to combine the theories with the method of movie-making. At last, I make two portraits of the Velsen. A model and a short movie. The model is the result of reconstruction. The movie is a series of montages. They show my feelings towards the city and have a relationship with each other, from space to narrative. Before the City Story

Q1 student projects | Msc1 Urbanism | TU Delft 2019

Usually, we use the layers to analyze the city. However, in this project, I thought about using other ways. So, I made a short movie to represent the whole story of Velsen and made three metaphors to explain this concept. With this method, I could represent the city, which was divided into different pieces with different stories, in an attractive way. In the story, I compared three different movie elements with three theories from the course lectures: metaphorizing the landscape as a transition between different typologies, using the depths and networks of the city to juxtapose these metaphors and organize the montagestory of the whole city of Velsen.


Jie Chu

MSc Architecture & Engineering AUTh MSc Urbanism TU Delft

point out that the city landscape should not be regarded as dividing boundaries, but also as the connection of the overall shape. Similarly, as the switch in movie making, the landscape should be regarded as the structure of the narrative. The landscape elements of Velsen structure the city into several pieces and could be classified into two types: natural landscape and the artificial landscape. I calculated the distribution of landscape into several axes and scaled their picture proportionally (Fig. 1). The different axes show changed openness levels of the view. Along the canal, the axes are strong, which mean the views are open, even if the canal can be regarded as the dividing structure of the city. On the other hand, the axis which contains forests and dunes reflects a feeling of being surrounded. The narrative structure comes from the analysis of the landscape structure (Fig. 2). For the metaphor "BETWEEN", the camera should be set in different positions to record different characters of the landscape, how they divide and connect the city. In this way, the landscape is used as the structure of the narrative instead of the boundary of city zones.

SHOTS, the Typo-Morphologies

BETWEEN, the City Landscape

In the second part, I read the city from the neighborhood scale, selecting specific neighborhood typologies in the city and researching their texture, structure, street section and the building type. The different zones that can be categorized into different typologies are going to construct the story of Velsen, using their different characters including structures, textures and degree of openness. I regard them as the shots in the story of Velsen, these shots narrates the city in different ways, as a continuum or like fragments.

The first part aims to explain the metaphor BETWEEN, which relates to the theory of Landscape Urbanism by Charles Waldheim. I selected the distribution of various dynamic landscape and infrastructures to

The result of the typo-morphological research provides me how people in different periods use the land. It is obvious that with the development of the city, the street system is becoming more 58

clear, organized, and logic. Moreover, the neighborhoods are becoming more organized and land-efficient. However, at the same time, the designers started to notice the roles of the public space. The form of the neighborhood changed three times during the history of the city. Through the distribution and the characters of the typologies, one main chronological narrative route and four chapters about the history come out (Fig. 3). Starting from the oldest part of the Velsen -Velsen Zuid - the whole narrative route includes nonlinear montage shots, constructing the different development stages of Velsen.In another word, these are “shots� of typo-morphology analysis form the story of Velsen.

JUXTAPOSITION, the Open and Complex City In this chapter, I combine the elements as the result of the two previous parts, landscape urbanism and typo-morphologies analysis, using the logic of the depth of the city. By analyzing the space syntax of Velsen, I reconstructed the entire region in a new 3D-model and created a spatial narrative route to complete the processing from 2D to 3D and represent in the 3D space. I used different layers to separate different researched objects to make it easier to be understood. The final 3D model, which defined the feeling of the montages in the short movie, is constructed by four parts (Fig. 4), including Volumes (reconstructed by typomorphology elements to form the system), Platforms (combined with a narrative route on different city depth-levels), Structures (the reconstruction of the city landscape, show the boundary, connection, and different relationship between different part of the city), and the basic networks (a 500*500m division grids to show the scale). The Final Portraits The first portrait of Velsen, a reconstruction model (Fig. 5), is the result

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of the juxtaposition. The model showed the deconstruction of the elements of the city and the reconstruction based on the narrative of the story. Besides, the model presents the feeling of people in different parts of the city, and these fragments forms the movie montages. The second portrait of Velsen, a short movie (Fig. 6), is the collage of the montages. The narrative follows the results given by historic chapters, and shows the result of the sense of place caused by landscape and building forms. The pieces of collages in the movie record my feelings about this divided, natural, industrial and historical city.



From this work, I realized that the forming of the city is a continuous and dynamic process. Working on urbanism, we need to jump across multiple scales: between the whole city to the specific neighborhood.

Data /4.6265/-17.6/47 References Yvonne van Mil, and Bram Bouwens (2018). Driven By Steel, From Hoogovens To Tata Steel 1918-2018 Kayvan Karimi(2012). A configurational approach to analytical urban design: ‘Space syntax’ methodology

Fig. 1.  Open and close landscape. Source: Author.

Fig. 2.  Movable cameras and views. Source: Author. Fig. 3.  Design of the narrative clues. Source: Author.

Fig. 4.  Juxtaposition. Source: Author.

Fig. 5.  Portrait 1: The reconstruction. Source: Author.

Fig. 6.  Portrait 2: Shots of the short montage movie. Source: Author.




Portrait of Velsen


Elzbieta Zdebel MSc Urbanism TU Delft

Connections and disconnections

Does Velsen see t h e s e a ? It’s a matter of scale. The project tackles the definition of city of Velsen in the province of North Holland - a place experienced by war and brave water developments that left scars on the city's integrity.

The theme "connections and disconnections" describes how operating between different scales may change one's perception of supposedly negative features, which if zoomed-in could be seen as a strenght, or the opposite. This way of narration is supposed to show the paradox of a place that is clearly not just black and white. Therefore is also operating with these exact colors to maximise the intentions of the drawings, supported later with paintings

of empirical sections. Velsen, in the project, is depicted as a place with ambitions to be a city by the sea, questioning, whether the canal should not be its real character. A lot of question marks about the sense of belonging appear in the story line. How is identity defined? Are there administrative boundaries shaping it or rather spatial integration with surrounding cities? Should the city be ever integrated? Does Velsen see the sea? Did it ever see the sea, when it was still too small, not significant to figure out its nature. How can one city have so many bonds with waters and so different, changing throughout the time? When Velsen became a settlement, big waters were still penetrating North Holland. Wijkermeer was the only water Velsen knew. Not yet the sea, neither the river. The wide, meandering funnel had its tip where Velsen lays. When the construction of the North Sea Canal started, Velsen grew towards the sea. But did it ever reach the sea or was it a dream of the people who observed big ships coming to the city, yet only still seeing the canal? Everything that Velsen dreamt about was never there. It has always been distanced from what seemed bigger. Industry, port, the sea were to play the first fiddle. Majestic, terrifying and powerful, gaining all the dynamics, they stood in front of the city. But Velsen was always there, hidden behind the dunes.

Q1 student projects | Msc1 Urbanism | TU Delft 2019

What would change if it was a broken vase; vulnerable, split into three, and the sea or the canal would not matter. Is it about the sea or the canal? The city will not move anymore to chase another great water. It will remain where it is, between the sea and the canal, and one day maybe it will know what it does not know now.

Fig. 1.  (left) Portrait of Velsen. Source: Author.

Fig. 2.  (rightWater and Velsen. Source: Author.

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ATLANTIS Magazine by Polis | Platform for Urbanism and Landscape Architecture Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft Volume 30, Issue 2, March 2020


Kavya Kalyan, Stefano Agliati

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