African Public Spaces?

What is public space in African? Does it exist as we may presume? At the current, we are analysing and comparing urban life and presumed public spaces in selected segments of four African cities to map what we know about these cities. It is a first step in deepening cross-cultural understanding: An exiting start of a new exiting scientific journey along Dakar in Senegal, Dar es Salaam in Tanzania, Maputo in Mozambique, and Lusaka in Zambia.


Image by Vaggy Georgali
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Places of Being and Eternal Paths

Magic Lanes in Hong Kong displays an inspiring community-design project that aims at turning a street into a place for stimulating vibrant urban life, which is rewoven with the present contemporary social fabric. By mapping current use and envisioning potential use of urban space by local residents, the project has set a base for real-life experiments. These experiments highlight the spatial assets people own by nature. In responding to the rapid urbanisation of this early-developed neighbourhood, the project it encourages their participation in the street. Located at Sheung Fung Lane (常豐里), the space used to be an empty concrete urban space characterised by outdoor stairs and blind facades of the neighbouring parking garages, and foremost no people actually staying there. With this project, people have entered a process of place re-making. It seems the essence of what is a ‘li’ (里), because next to its contemporary connotation of ‘lane’, this notion is used more accurate as ‘place’. Yet, also, it is ironically strong because it works with the street name. The notions of ‘sheung’ (常) and ‘fung’ (常) refer resp. to eternal/unchanging and to plenty. As if, magically, a flower pot is always full of living flowers. The project incorporates the ideas of its community members and it facilitates physical changes in this space. If people are present it will be a place again.

一刻 社區設計館,西營盤常豐里2號怡豐閣7號舖
First Community Design Museum;
Shop 7, Yi Fung Court, 2 Sheung Fung Lane, Sai Ying Pun

At the same day earlier, I have also noticed that many streets in Hong Kong are known as ‘toa’ (道). Tao, which has a much longer history, means ‘way’, ‘path’ or ‘route’, and thus is translated simply as ‘road’ today. Philosophically, again de-contextualised, this notion represents the intuitive knowing that life cannot be grasped full-heartedly as just a concept. It relates to the path human beings are on. This path is known nonetheless through the actual living experience of one’s everyday being. This may make the presence of people in space, part of the same endless path we are on, wherever we are.

古之善為士者,微妙玄通,深不可識。
The ancient scholar is virtuous, subtly mysterious, deeply unknown.

or, as we may say at the present:
Once upon a time, those who knew the Way, were a mysterious and subtle people, transient yet profound, tranquil yet utterly unfathomable.
Chapter 15 (第十五章), Dao De Jing (道德經), attributed to Lao Zi (老子)

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’s 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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Public Space for all Nations

Good public spaces enhance community cohesion and promote health, happiness, and wellbeing for all citizens.

It has been with this quote that UN Habitat launched the Global Public Space Programme in an aim to improve the quality of public spaces worldwide. Of course, without doubt, the programme stands for a crucial challenge to make our urbanised world better, but what to do? The ideas on this have been matured and agreements seem to saturate the scope at the recent Habitat III conference held last week in Quito. A list of final set criteria is emerging, but this cannot mean that we’re done… By no means this listing will work if stakeholders do not accept that people gather on a variety of places around the globe, in a variety of cultures, hence not just in those urban spaces which are created by Western idealists’ minds: publicly-owned outdoor space.
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Beijing Design Week 2016

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The Netherlands continues strong partnership
with Beijing Design Week in 2016

The key goal of these various initiatives is to explore a more holistic approach to design, connecting important issues such as quality of life and human needs. The Netherlands attaches great importance to creativity and innovation in general and to the creative industries in particular. It is therefore also our goal to foster more collaboration with China in this field by means of solid partnerships.

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Netherlands Embassy in Beijing

通过2016北京国际设计周,
中荷继续加强伙伴关系

设计师希望通过这些创意作品探索一种更为全面的设计理念,提高人们的生活质量,满足人类需要。荷兰非常重视开发与创新能力,尤其是创意产业的发展。因此,我们希望在稳固的伙伴关系基础上,加强与中国在创意产业方面的合作。

荷兰驻华大使馆

Human Cities and Activity Data

What may happen if we track people? Since Human released their first app version in September last year, they’ve collected over 55 million activities. This set of valuable activity data is growing crazy fast. Human Cities is their first attempt to translate data into useful insights. Interesting example bringing tech into life science!
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Public Space and Domesticity

Interior architecture needs urgently new approaches to research, notate and analyse interiors, explicitly interconnecting the complex and layered world of the city.

The KU Leuven and interior architecture students have been exploring the boundaries between public and private spaces, and between architecture and social sciences. Their experiments pay much attention to human action in the public space in order to decipher its meaning. What is the interior in a globalised, complex and layered world? How do private worlds manifest in the public space and vice versa how does the world echo into the interior?

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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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Constructing the Commons

Conference
Constructing the Commons at
Delft University of Technology

3rd – 4th March 2016

Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment
Julianalaan 134
2628 BL Delft

Investigating ‘the commons’ at the intersection of philosophy, sociology and architecture, keynote speakers Atelier Bow-Wow, Richard Sennett, Margaret Crawford, Paola Viganò and George Baird, discuss the city, public space and social practices during this conference.
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Expo goes Guangzhou

Design Exhibition
Reclaiming the Human Space at
South China University of Technology

on invitation of
SCUT-TU Delft Joint Research Center on
Urban Systems & Environment

8th – 15th November 2015

School of Architecture
381 Wushan Road
Tianhe, Guangzhou

设计展区
重塑人性空间
华南理工大学

邀请方
中荷城市系统与环境
联合研究中心

2015年11月8日至11月15日

建筑学院
五山路381号
天河区, 广州市

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