Waterfront as Environmental Infrastructure

The waterfront is a fragile and thin marginal area where multiple interactions occur between the city and the water. It is not a border or a limit. On the contrary, it is a meeting space, an interchange area, a transition – and tension – between different biological communities. Like all environmental frontiers, the waterfront is an ecosystem with a dynamic and precarious balance. Water-related challenges such as protection from wave motion, and adaptation to multiple conditions (e.g. hydrogeological, health, and environmental risks), albeit relevant, are often addressed in a sectorial way through confusing and ineffective procedures and plans. The centrality that the environment assumes in the transformation processes of the land-water interfaces requires the preparation of a design approach that aims to operate as a device capable of providing a response to social and ecological rebalancing, in terms of resilience as well as energy efficiency, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and environmental safety. Urban design solutions need to consider the availability of resources; social-environmental changes are confronted with the long time of ecological-environmental processes and adaptations. At the same time, targeted interventions correlate with the many ongoing and planned activities in the specific territories.
According to this approach, the concept of a waterfront becomes an environmental infrastructure, overcoming obsolete ideas of waterfronts as purely related to commercial development. The design of a waterfront is incremental and inter-scalar and it considers the risks and socio-ecological environmental fragility of coastal territories as priority themes to trigger urban, and territorial, regeneration.

Faculty of Architecture, TU Delft

September 8, 2022
15:00-17:00h

Matteo Di Venosa (speaker)
Carola Hein (discussants)
Paolo De Martino
Elise van Dooren
Maurice Harteveld

Designs for Boston and Amsterdam

Propositions under Continuously Changing Urban Conditions

Massive urbanisation puts pressure on public space and demands new programmes along with alternative gathering places such as public interior spaces and a variety of forms of collective spaces. Moreover, in the rapidly changing city, infrastructure and mobility remain of vital importance. A co-evolving diversity of programme cannot be planned, but interventions in the city need constantly to be grounded on sharp design approaches to respond adequately to the necessities of the time: While being environmentally sustainable, given the available resources.

In general, infrastructure, mobility, and public life manifest themselves in various forms as carriers of such urban development. Design experiments, as put forward in our new book, show how to work with continuously changing urban conditions, with mobility transforming cities whilst with public spaces taking various forms, with programmes which hybridise, and with new technologies to keep up with the urban dynamics. Given these themes, designs should carry awareness of the inclusiveness and accessibility of various systems and places, facilities, and technologies. Spatially this means questioning how to keep the city open and connected, attractive, and liveable?
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Conversations in the Anthropocene

Introducing the Anthropocene
Colin Waters is Secretary of the Anthropocene Working Group of the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy, the body investigating the Anthropocene as a potential geological time unit. His working group is putting forward a proposal towards the recognition of the proposed new epoch. They started in 2009 and up until last year, they were pulling together all information that was available. “For example the biological changes that have happened are irreversible. Once species are transferred across the planet, you can’t put them in a box and put them back in their indigenous state”, he has explained while being our guest in Delft: “Even things like carbon dioxide, this will last as a signal for thousands of years. Even if we are reducing our carbon emission immediately, we are still looking at emissions which are going to be elevated above natural levels for thousands of years. At the present, there is no indication that we are changing that trend.” The human impact may be like a meteorite impact. At the end of the Cretaceous Period when the dinosaurs became extinct, a spike of iridium (an extra-terrestrial element) changed the conditions on Earth. “You still find a layer of a few millimeters thick which is high in iridium, and we can use that as the basis of the start of the new Paleogene Period following the Cretaceous.” It has been “a state change, a game-changer, to a state which now is very different from what it was before and is not recreatable to a large extent either.” What is our share, as designers?

Architecture is perhaps one that we have not mined sufficiently in the past that can provide information that is new to us and help build the story that we are developing. – Colin Waters

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Mastering the Metropolis

As the majority of the world population is living in cities today, urban environments have become a place for many people. We are obliged to aim at sustainability and safeguard people‚Äôs quality of life, and human wellbeing. These challenges are motivating science and society to approach metropolises differently. Advanced metropolitan solutions to overcome problems are being made possible by today’s revolution of new technologies, theories and methods. But no actor or stakeholder can make metropoles move in one certain direction. Metropolitan solutions require cooperation between knowledge institutes, companies, governments, between cities, citizens and civil society.

The new MSc programme Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering (MADE) integrates analysis, design and engineering in the sphere of the flows in the city; the physical, digital and social environments; and the city and its citizens. As full master programme, the MSc MADE prepares students to be specialised on one hand and an integrator on the other. A MADE graduate will be able to create synergy between specialists from other disciplinary backgrounds. You can make a cross-over too!

MSc MADE

The new trans- and interdisciplinary programme will be offered as a joint degree programme by Delft University of Technology and Wageningen University. It is built on their joint research activities, and consolidated in their participation together with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the Amsterdam Institute for Advanced Metropolitan Solutions (AMS).
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Entering a Living Lab

In a fast urbanising world, cities and metropolitan regions increasingly face challenges of sustainability and quality of life challenges that put at risk issues of mobility and logistics, water and waste management, energy and food security, health and wellbeing. A new two-year master programme Metropolitan Analysis, Design and Engineering (MSc MADE) integrates analysis, design and engineering; the physical, digital and social environments; and the city and its citizens. These challenges are motivating science and society to approach metropoles differently. Advanced metropolitan solutions are being made possible by today’s revolution of new technologies, theories and methods. But no actor or stakeholder can make metropoles move in one certain direction. Metropolitan solutions require cooperation between knowledge institutes, companies, governments, between cities, citizens and civil society.

2016 0414 AMS Institute LivingLab Amsterdam
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