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Generous Gestures

generous

Tutors: Bram Aerts, Matteo Paracchini
Engagement: Craftsmanship

WHAT’S AT STAKE?
Let’s start with a very well known fact: 6 ha of landscape is disapearing every day in Flanders. This is a confusing fact knowing that a lot of effort has been spent the last two decades to promote the city.
The reconversion of the historic city and 19th century belt can indeed be called a succes. It undoubtedly fostered a return to the city.
But the city does not seem to offer enough alternatives for the nebulous way of living. Although we know that the consequenses for society, the environment and our health are as impactful as they are numerous, we seem to have good reasons to avoid the city. What could be these reasons?
Let’s start with the economy.
The capacity of the historic city and it’s 19th century belt to absorb the increasing demand for housing, facilities etc. is limited. Almost all industrial sites and vacant plots have been developped. Scarecity is raising prices. The city has become unaffordable. The result of that is a poorer city: only high-end residential developments – often financed by distant investors – can be realized. There is no room for programmatic and social variety. Instead generic and wel marketed ‘products’ are homogenizing large neighbourhoods.
So the question at hand is: how can we still make a city today? This is closely related to the question: how can we make the city affordable? Not by making it cheap but by making it generous.
The hypothesis this studio puts forward is that by radically imagining an affordable city, we will rediscover essential qualities the city has to offer.

WHAT WILL WE DESIGN?
– public space (with radical shifts in mind)
– housing (in a different way: quality driven)
– a parking (that can be turned into housing)
– a school (open air!)
– a water tower (for the new neighbourhood)
– a reconversion (where we can for what we can’t built anymore)