Thursday 12 November 2020, 12h00
Sophie Leemans (KU Leuven)
Rethinking the dispersed city paradigm by exploring its networks. Insights on the way strategical nodes can shape the next urban constellation
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In the binary opposition of city and land, spatial dispersion is often considered the unwanted “spillover” effect of urbanisation. However, the dispersed spatial condition of the area stretching from Lille (France) to Rotterdam (The Netherlands), coined as All City/All Land (AC/AL), cannot be categorised as a “peri-urban”. It is an alternative condition of urbanity enabled by an underlying support system of polycentric networks. Although showing interesting relational configurations, AC/AL is reaching a tipping point. In the light of the contemporary sustainability debate, the demand for alternatives to the current approach of symptom management in AC/AL is pressing. The formulation of alternative futures requires rethinking the reciprocal relations between man and land. This doctoral research aims to valorise the inherent potential of dispersed territories by generating insights on the design potential of networks and nodes to shape the next urban constellation. To date, little is known about the architectural and urban design potential of the underlying supportive structures, i.e. the finely meshed physical networks and their nodes. Crossings or nodes serve as a link, addressing both regional logics and local realities. It is at the intermediate scale both the complexity and potential of these physical networks become tangible.