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URBAN DYNAMICS DUTCH INFLUENCE Conference summary picture reference: ZUS - LUCHTSINGEL

URBAN DYNAMICS - DUTCH INFLUENCE organizers NEXT Institute nextinstitute.eu Embassy of the Netherlands in Prague partners IPR - Prague Institute of Planning and Development www.iprpraha.cz City of Brno www.brno.cz guest speaker Tim Peeters - ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles), NL zus.cc photo Dominik Šmuhař 2



Urban Dynamics - Dutch Influence


NEXT Institute


NEXT Institute - Urban Dynamics

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Tim Peeters - ZUS Projects by ZUS Discussion Conference Summary


Conference UDDI - Marta Vojtovรก, Embassy of the Kingdom of The Netherlands

4 Conference UDDI - public lecture at CAMP, Prague


CONFERENCE The conference took place in Prague 1st November and following day in Brno. The events were organized by NEXT Institute and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands with the support of IPR (Institute of planning and development) Prague and City of Brno. The main theme of the conference was pedestrification, also known as an activation of inoperative urban areas through the design of pedestrian infrastructure. The main guest speaker was Tim Peeters, the dutch architect from the studio ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) from Rotterdam. STRUCTURE The conference was focused on effective experience exchange and discussion between experts and other stakeholders. There were 4 events held in total. Praha Working lunch for invited guests at the residence of the ambassador of the Netherlands Public lecture at CAMP (Center for Architecture and Metropolitan Planning) Brno Discussion for invited guests at Old Town Hall. Public lecture at Dům Pánů z Kunštátu. SPEAKERS Vojtěch Lekeš, NEXT Institute Vojtěch introduced research work of the NEXT Institute, specifically Urban Dynamics laboratory which formed the framework for the conference. Tim Peeters, ZUS Tim presented the projects which studio ZUS has been elaborating, mainly the Luchtsingel project in Rotterdam. Marta Vojtová, Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Prague Marta introduced the activities of the embassy in exchange of experts and knowledge between both states. Václav Novotný, IPR Václav showed IPR’s projects focused on sustainable mobility and urban planning. Iva Machalová, City of Brno - Transport department Iva presented the strategies of the city of Brno for pedestrian mobility development. DISCUSSION All presentations were followed by an intense discussion which helped the audience to learn about the insides of the presented projects and foreign experiences on the topic of pedestrification.




AGENDA The NEXT Institute is an independent platform for applied research in Architecture and Urbanism. Our activities emerge as a reaction to current socio-urban phenomena. STRUCTURE We aim to set up a broad network of collaborators through an open dialogue in order to expand the Czech community horizon to an international scope. Our research work consequently leads to the development of functional prototypes which generate innovative projects. Co-operating institutions: Czech Globe - Global Change Research Institute -Czech Academy of Sciences AdMaS - Research institute of TU Brno RESEARCH Is currently divided into 4 labs: 1. Adaptive Re-Use The research is dedicated to finding new development models for hibernating buildings and structures with unique values. The aim is to interlink economical and architectural concepts into well-functioning complex schemes. 2. Climate Architecture This track examines the impacts of climate change in Urban areas. The aim is to use modern measures and climate predictions to identify future threats and vulnerability of specified urban areas. 3. Urban Dynamics Urban Dynamics aims to explore the mechanisms and strategies of Urban Mobility. The research is focused on the interdisciplinary co-operation on various levels. 4. Timbertecture The lab introduces a new wooden-based composite material into Czech building system. More about our research : nextinstitute.eu issuu.com/nextinstitute


8 Konference UDDI - NEXT Institute - BIKING 2.0


LABORATORY Urban Dynamics aims to explore the mechanisms and strategies of Urban Mobility. The research is focused on the interdisciplinary co-operation on various levels. This track is designated to open a discussion between city officials, Academics, NGOs and the private sector. The goal is to introduce and apply new mechanisms of the mobility design which will reflect both the city structure and legislation. CONFERENCES Several conferences hosting eminent local and foreign guests were planned in 2017. All of them were focused on different types of mobility. May 2017 URBAN DYNAMICS - Scandinavian Influence Sustainable urban planning and cycling mobility. September 2017 URBAN DYNAMICS - Digital Automobility Automobility and ways of its effectiveness using digital tools. November 2017 URBAN DYNAMICS - Dutch Influence Pedestrian mobility, pedestrification as a tool of reactivating inoperative urban locations. PROJECTS Currently, there are 2 active projects: Cycling 2.0 The main goal of this project is a definition of mechanisms which could help to recreate current hobby cycling trend in cities to a regular commuting use of a bike. We believe the speed of this transformation is crucial for use of current trends in society. That is the reason why we mentioned some of the specific urban interventions and ways of recycling existing infrastructure through this project. Pedestrification of Old Town Brno This project evolves final works of students from the urban atelier of Faculty of Architecture BUT. Pedestrian infrastructure is basically used as a transformational tool of existing parts of brownfield in Old Town Brno. WORKSHOPS Urban Dynamics covered a couple of workshops as well. One of them included an outcome based on the physical prototype which allows to easily cross a railroad on a bike and generally affects dynamics of cycling in the vicinity. (Cycling 2.0 project). EXHIBITION Cycling 2.0 project was part of the Urban interventions exhibition at Dům pánů z Kunštátu in Brno from September to October 2017. For more information go to: nextinstitute.eu


10 Conference UDDI - Tim Peeters, ZUS


ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles] researches and intervenes in the contemporary urban landscape with productions ranging from urban plans and architecture to installations and fashion. Within this complex field we find ourselves constantly in between two positions: as co-author and as critic. ZUS works with a belief that every place has the potential to become unique and thrilling. A spatial intervention should therefore always be inspired by the specific qualities of the situation and driven by an optimistic attitude. We have to deal with rapid changing conditions and adapt our tactics to give shape to our constantly modernizing society. With designs for urban districts, parcs, public spaces, buildings and installations we try to contribute to a collective and sustainable future. Architecture has become marginalized in the last two decades by responding mainly to the demands of the market. ZUS reclaims the public role of the architect by making social challenges explicit by means of unsolicited architecture and architectural activism. With proposals, exhibitions and publications we not only contribute but also question and criticize the field we work in. more about ZUS: www.zus.cc TIM PEETERS Tim Peeters joined ZUS early 2013. He has been involved in a variety of projects, among which the New Meadowlands proposal and a number of research and design projects around the themes of migration and gentrification. During the conference, Tim has showcased the designs of temporary measures and their impact on the city structure as well as the different citizen participation models and crowdfunding of public infrastructure.


12 Conference UDDI - Luchtsingel, ZUS


Following projects had been presented by Tim Peeters during the conference: CASE STUDY - ROTTERDAM Due to a development of new office buildings in other parts of the city, Rotterdam’s central district has become abandoned and dysfunctional area. In 2007 the municipality has launched the plan for a revitalization of this area through new large project proposing high-end offices. The plan was stopped by the global economic crisis which stroke Rotterdam very hard. OFFICE ZUS’s office building is located in the middle of the central district. It was one of the vacant buildings in the area and the studio moved in 2001. Since then the designers started to initiate unsolicited projects in order to activate and improve the area, such as connecting the building to the nearby public space. One of the steps was recreating the basement to a public platform for debating future of the city. ARCHITECTURAL BIENNALE The area was part of the Architectural Biennale in Rotterdam in 2012. With the theme City Makers, the organizers aimed to change the current directions for city development. For this occasion, ZUS created so-called ‘5 strategies plan’ that was supposed to identify the possible future development of the area. It was based on routing (making the city more accessible to pedestrians), place-making (creating places where people want to go to and stay), transformation (facing the problem of vacancy), densification (reactivating hybernating buildings), and strengthening the local economy. LUCHTSINGEL One of the main topics, which Tim Peeters covered, was the Luchtsingel in Rotterdam. It is the 350-meter-long pedestrian bridge that has reconnected three districts in the heart of Rotterdam. It was completely initiated and designed by the studio and is the world’s first piece of public infrastructure to be accomplished partly through crowdfunding. CROWDFUNDING Due to an ongoing financial crisis, the city refused to fund the project. Therefore ZUS initiated crowdfunding campaign in order to raise the money needed for the construction of the bridge. It was done by creating a website where people could buy a plank for 25 euro, as a way of participating in this project. In exchange, they were able to sign each plank with a personal message. The idea was simple: “Plank for plank we were going to build the whole bridge”. 24HOUR BUILDING ZUS studio organized an exhibition in 2013 which aimed to activate abandoned high-rise building in the area through more than twenty activities, such as yoga classes, fashion shows or pop-up restaurants. Each activity was given one floor and the building was turned into a vertical city of various events for next 24-hours. Over 6000 people visited the building during that day and in next couple of months, more than half of it has been fully rented.


Conference UDDI - panel discussion at CAMP, Prague

14 Conference UDDI - CAMP, Prague


What do you think about citizen-based proposals, such as city initiatives? Tim (ZUS): Not sure about this campaign though it helped the Luchtsingel project. Because as a city you are obliged to realize projects which benefit certain people or certain parts of the city. In Rotterdam, it started a long discussion and a bit of frustration on how to spend public money. People who were not affected or not using the project were asking why should their city pay for it. I’m a bit conflicted on this issue, but I think there are better ways of proposing projects. This might lead to a so-called planning populism. Is there some interest in larger scale pedestrian projects from the studio’s side? Let’s say version 2.0 of Luchtsingel but in the scale of a city? Tim (ZUS): Basically no. Even though the topic of this event is pedestrification, I guess for us is more important the issue of activating local economy. Our immediate surroundings are the main focus point because it might work as an epicentre, which is going to influence all the other surroundings. How does your studio work? You mentioned a lot of unsolicited projects. Tim (ZUS): At the moment we have more commissioned projects, so you might say we work more as a normal studio. But when ZUS was formed 5 years ago, it was rather a workshop than a studio. But ZUS evolved since then, got recognized on the market and receiving more solicited projects. We still want to do BUA (unsolicited) but currently, we develop them as a part of a research. How can Prague take an inspiration from Rotterdam in such projects? Václav (IPR): I hope we can. Our cities don’t have enough experience in realizing temporary projects. So generally there are worries about temporary solutions becoming permanent. But I think in the future will see more of these initiatives in the Czech Republic as well. Tim (ZUS): I don’t think the municipality should initiate such projects, but they can definitely make them happen. So the city should coordinate and mediate the whole process rather than starting it. The surrounding area of your office seems to be vibrant at the moment. But how do you deal with possible decline? Tim (ZUS): Preventing this decrease of people’s interest in this area could be done for example through a housing because I think people truly care and sort of revive their surroundings when they live there. What might also help is diversifying some parts of the area to really specialized objects what people would like to visit. The biggest struggle municipalities have to face is handling temporarily used areas, especially when it comes to the potential of it becoming permanent. What advice, as an architect, would you give them? Tim (ZUS): It is fascinating that the municipality is basically scared of the future success of these temporary projects, but it is definitely understandable. One way of looking at them is as if it was already part of a long-term development. And the key is gaining an insight into the whole process which means flawless communication from both sides.


Conference UDDI - Iva Machalovรก, Traffic Department, Brno

16 Conference UDDI - lecture for invited guests, Brno


SUMMARY The conference brought together Czech and Dutch city development techniques and led to a mutual discussion. We believe that these events are crucial in order to learn from best practices and evolve the public discussion of the discourse of the Czech cities. Several issues were addressed during the discussions, which we would like to continue to develop as a part of the NEXT Institute research works. AFFECTING LOCAL ECONOMY THROUGH ARCHITECTURE The case study Rotterdam demonstrated the possibilities of developing and strengthening local economy through well-designed architecture and organized urban interventions with high involvement of various stakeholders. It is important to discuss the city development through unsolicited projects and show alternatives to usual development often empowered by global economic schemes. LEARNING FROM THE PROCESS It is important to track the entire process and evaluate its impacts on the local surrounding. Projects such as temporary interventions showcased the possibilities of future development which need to be embedded into city strategy documents. The outcomes and data from these projects should be reflected in forms of city development policies. REFLECTION ON CROWDFUNDING The process of crowdfunding was unable to fund the entire construction, nevertheless, it raised a lot of attention to the project and showed a new precedent in city planning process. Public involvement and support are crucial to rebuilding the communities and social structures in previously dysfunctional areas.

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Urban Dynamics - Dutch Influence  

Summary of the conference covering the topic of the urban mobility and reactivating dysfunctional city districts through a pedestrian infras...

Urban Dynamics - Dutch Influence  

Summary of the conference covering the topic of the urban mobility and reactivating dysfunctional city districts through a pedestrian infras...