WDCD Live Amsterdam 2017: Activation Session Report
What will the post-fossil neighbourhood look like?
‘Design is an act and a means of imagination and persuasion,’ sociologist Emiel Rijshouwer of Erasmus University Rotterdam in his introduction to the Post Fossil City Design Battle session at WDCD Live 2017. ‘Design can stimulate the debate,’ he said, for which this design battle was invented.
Peter Pelzer, who is connected to the Urban Futures Studio at Utrecht University, then formulated the assignment. Following the Post-Fossil City Contest the Urban Futures Studio organized earlier, Pelzer asked the participants to imagine what cities will look like in the post-fossil future. In doing so, they had specially to consider the future of neighbourhoods and aim at enhancing social inclusivity. Half of the ten teams were asked to take a low-tech approach, the other half a high-tech approach.
Improvement by criticism
The process of the design battle was grounded in the idea that an idea can improve from criticism. Therefore, teams had to draw up their plan, and then hand it over to the countering team between the other half of the teams. After explaining each other their concepts, the other teams had the task to reflect on the plans and possibly suggest improvements.
Many teams explored different sharing systems. One team on the low-tech side had the idea to build green parks with community centres on top of parking lots. The high-tech counterpart responded with the idea of using Virtual Reality for VR-community centres. Another group thought of turning redundant gas stations into social inclusion hubs. This prompted Pelzer to remark that indeed in the post-fossil city we don’t have to get rid of everything that becomes redundant, but that we might want to use the existing materiality for new uses.
Top photo by Leo Veger