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Workshop debating how to make long-term designs for future Dutch cities, in relationship to urgent water issues, such a sea level rise, floods, draughts and soil subsidence.

Event details of Wet Urbanism (on-site)
Date 22 April 2022
Time 10:00 -16:00
Organised by Esmee Geerken

This workshop, led by ArtScience fellow Esmee Geerken, is part of the design course Wet Urbanism by the Rotterdam Academy of Architecture and Urban Design (RAVB), taught by landscape architect Freek van Riet, urbanist Mariam Ram, architect/artist Ameneh Solati and earth scientist/artist Esmee Geerken.

The central theme of the workshop is how to make long-term adaptive strategies for future Dutch cities, in relation to water issues: sealevel rise, flooding rivers, soil subsidence, droughts and storms. What can we learn from past interactions between water, changing landscapes and societies? How can landscape architects deal with complexity, model predictions and uncertainty, when thinking and ‘designing’ for the future? How to balance between being in control of our environment and co-creating in interaction with rivers, the sea, sediments, and other organisms? How can perspectives from the complexity sciences help architects and politicians to transition towards the incorporation of new building mechanism?

To discuss such questions and bridge between architecture, geomorphology and complexity sciences, Esmee has invited Maarten Kleinhans (UU), Professor in ‘Biogeomorphology of rivers and estuaries’ for a short presentation, followed by a panel discussion with Peter Sloot, Professor of Complex Adaptive Systems and Huub Dijstelbloem, Professor of Philosophy of Science, Technology and Politics and IAS-director.


10:00 - 10:30  Welcome with coffee
10:30 - 11:00  Presentation by Maarten Kleinhans
11:00 - 12:15  Panel discussion with Maarten Kleinhans, Peter Sloot and Huub Dijstelbloem
12:15 - 13:30  Network lunch
13:30 - 16:00  Students work on adaptive design strategies

About the course

During the Wet Urbanisms course, RAVB students work on a timeline exploring the relationship between Rotterdam and water. First, they will make a ‘Water Atlas’ of the past, mapping interactions between the city and water throughout the last 100 years. Based on these insights, and perspectives from the fields of geology, complexity sciences and transition thinking, they will develop adaptive ‘design’ trajectories for 100 years ahead in time, focusing on specific locations in Rotterdam (de Esch and Brieneneiland).