Re-industrialisation and Progressive Urbanism Conference… Update
Yesterday, the school hosted a conference entitled ‘Re-industrialisation and Progressive Urbanism’ with a number of invited academics and practitioners each offering invaluable insight from differing disciplinary perspectives on what urban re-industrialisation might be, how it might work, who is it for and why do we believe it is a viable way of making our cities work better. The conference was the next step on from the symposium that we hosted in London in February – two events and an ongoing discussion that we hope will continue to grow – informed by and informing the M.Arch design studio agenda, as well as hopefully prompting further research and live projects both in the school and beyond.
An initial output from the conference will be a book, published in both English and Polish, which will contain the papers presented at the conference, as well as the final year projects of 2nd year M.Arch students who have been working on a live re-industrialisation project in Ursus, Warsaw. Visiting speakers had an opportunity to view the M.Arch exhibition and feedback was very positive regarding the extent and complexity of issues that were engaged with, and the quality of our proposals that aimed to offer a more inclusive and integrated architectural and urban environment.
Here are some photos* from yesterday with a very sketchy description of the presentations and discussion. The book will, of course, offer a much more comprehensive review of the work.
*Apologies for the quality of the images – it seems my phone camera is not so good in bad light!
Michael Edwards & Myfanwy Taylor, UCL. Re-industrialisation as Progressive Urbanism. Why and How?
Discussed: definition issues of the word, ‘industry’ and the perception of what ‘industry’ means; why would re-industrialisation happen – 4 strands: a rejection of capitalism? reconfiguration of social, economic or ecological values?
recent neoliberal priority of ‘creative class’ increases inequality – and what about the hidden economy – unpaid workers (parents, volunteers, carers, moonlighters, black market etc)
Michelle Adams, Dalhousie University, Canada: “The Gestalt of Sustainable Cities. Re-industrialise and Thrive.” Discussed: Reindustrialisation cannot be compared to industrial revolution – where both people and resources were abundant – today people are abundant but resources are scarce – we need to do more, with less – but its not just about sustaining an existance – we also need to flourish.
Also considered definitions – rather than industry – how about ‘industrius’.
Introduced concept of Ehrenfeld’s Industrial Ecology – which considers flow of materials, knowledge, energy like an ecological system – a metabolism. Today, the flow of resources through a city is a linear structure – this needs to change to more circular structure, such as that of an eco system. Industrial Symbiosis is a concept of connecting actors through material, energy and knowledge flows that attempts to emulate ecological networks and systems.
Kate Royston, Robbee Smole
“Working with the Neighbours”
From a business perspective, presented projects involving a large number of companies in both Netherlands and UK, particularly in port contexts to find alternative ways of working together to reduce waste, share skills and build an infrastructure that businesses can plug into with the aim of creating a sustainable community network. The outcomes so far have been cost savings, reduced waste and improved practices.
Karl Baker, LSE: Conspicuous production: valuing the visibility of industry in urban reindustrialisation strategies.
Discussion: Moving from a paradigm of conspicuous consumption to one of conspicuous production. Small urban moves that can make industry – the process of making and producing more tangible, more visible, more accessible, more transparent. Could the process of production be performative (although could this impact productivity) – and could visible production act as a means of a sort of public quality and ethical assurance
Jeremy Hernalesteen (Urban Design Group, UK)
Urban design for a city integrated re-industrialization
Discussed: a document which the UDG are developing with sets out a framework for an urbanism that is inclusive and incorporates more integrated land use. The concept of re-industrialisation envisages a place of good neighbours, communication potential, acceptance and opportunity for a cascade effect – and with a number of architectural and urban moves that can make manifest this integration within the built environment.
Christina Norton, Fluid, “Industri[us]: Re/Use, Re/Work, Re/Value”
Discussed: As a practice, involved in projects that are fundamentally rethinking the way we make cities. Discussed in particular, the the 2012 project: Industri(us) which re-occupied under-utilised space, as well finding ways to re-use
waste, share skills and bring communities together. Fluid sees the project as an experiment – a small scale intervention which could have the potential for wider application. A full, and more comprehensive description can be found here.
Tatjana Schneider (Sheffield University, UK)
Brave New World?!
Discussed: There are many positive examples of small scale interventions which have elements of the reindustrialisation agenda but are these enough? The present neo-liberal/capitalist mode of production is not suited for democratic development. Design, often fails to go beyond local issues – is there a place for locally situated global perspectives?
Malcolm Miles (Plymouth University, UK)
Whose re-industrialisation? From greening the pit to taking over the means of production.
Discussed: A historical perspective on industry and industrialisation reminding us that industry did not begin in cities, but rather in rural settings (near resources) and how this context influence the literature of the times. And, the perception of industry as ‘bad’, countryside as ‘good’, and city as ‘good’ (although only if you have enough money) is simplified. Yes, ‘industry’ has had a terrible track record of pollution, exploitation etc but then there are the positives, eg, solidarity. Looked at contemporary responses to deindustrialization – eg. Liberate Tate – and the phenomena of the worker appropriating industrial space for themselves (Detroit). Perhaps we need to rethink ‘the right to the city’ more as a right to urban production.
Jonathan Vickery (University of Warwick, UK)
The Cultural Politics of Reindustrialisation: Cultural strategy and urban economic policy in the European Union.
Discussed: The emerging awareness amongst EU policy makers of the fact that neoliberalism as the paradigm underpinning all EU Planning Policy does not work. There are a growing number of documents, and projects which are encouraging creative, industrial entrepreneurship back into cities (eg. CreArt; Urbact) however walking a fine line between a radical alternative and conservative, neoliberal state governments for whom private ownership and gain is a key driver of socio-economic policy.
Doreen Jakob (Exeter University, UK | UNC Chapel Hill, USA)
Crowdsourced urbanism? The “maker revolution” and the “creative city” 2.0
Discussed: In particular, Long Island City and its transformation from a void in the east river of New York City to a space of ‘new’ industry. The Creative City was about aestheticisation, eventification and consumption of place. These failed aspirations have evolved to the Maker movement – Creative City 2.0? However, if everyone is to be a maker will this place in an urban context? Or will it be in peoples bedrooms, kitchens, home offices? Also discussion of ‘kickstarter’ and ‘fundrise’, crowd funding initiatives which have raised funds to support various tech and arts projects, however the projects which are advertised are curated – eg, the coolest and most visual projects get online space – is this democratic?
Jeffrey T. Kruth (Kent State University’s Cleveland Urban Design Collaborative, USA) The Political Agency of Geography and the Shrinking City
Discussed: Impact of both de-industrialisation and foreclosure on American Cities – focusing on Cleveland, Ohio which is undergoing a de-urbanisation – in so far as there are plans to de-commision much of the services infrastructure in these abandoned spaces. However a growing number of shared ownership co-operatives are putting to the test a new model of making city.
Krzysztof Nawratek (Plymouth University, UK)
‘Der Arbeiter’: (Re) industrialisation as universalism
Discussed: Using Ernst Junger’s Der Arbeiter (The Worker) as a lens through which to consider the impact of re-industrialisation. The return of industry to the city is not crucial in itself, rather what is important is the empowerment and the embedding of industry in the socio-economic structure of the city. Re-industrialisation is based on overcoming selfishness.