Spring School
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Organizers: CANactions School (UA / NL), The Independent School for the City (NL)

Dates: March 18—25, 2019

Location: The Independent School for the City Delftsestraat 33, 3rd Floor 3013 AE
Rotterdam, NL

Course Directors: Mirjam Niemeyer (CANactions School), Vladyslav Tyminskyi (CANactions School), Michelle Provoost (Independent School for the City), Mike Emmerik (Independent School for the City)
Participants: Up to 30 Master-students and graduates from the fields of Architecture, Urban Design and Planning, Architecture History, Sociology, Anthropology, Political and Cultural Studies, Arts and Media, and other related fields. Minimum of 15 participants required.

Language: English

Fee: € 500

Application deadline: February 4th, 2019 (23:59 CET)
The Transformation Area Nieuw Mathenesse in Rotterdam Harbour (photo: Erik Prins)

'Uit Je Eigen Stad', Urban farm and restaurant on a former railway yard in Nieuw Mathenesse, Rotterdam (photo: Jan Sluijter)
The Spring School 'Borders are for Crossing' is an 8-day program organized by the Independent School for the City and CANactions School, exploring how the intra-european transfer of people, ideas, goods and finances effects spatial, social, economic and political conditions in a western city. Together with an international group of participants and a multidisciplinary team of tutors and lecturers, you will research manifestations of migration and develop stories, strategies and actions for an urban renewal area in the City of Rotterdam: Oud and Nieuw Mathenesse — former workers and harbour areas between Rotterdam and Schiedam. The Spring School takes place from 18 to 25 of March at the Independent School for the City in Rotterdam.
Come to Rotterdam for the annual Independent School/CANactions Spring School! This year we will look at how a city, which is fragmented into disconnected zones and communities, can be connected with the entire world. Planning's biggest challenge in the 21st century will be to radically address this falling apart. Not with master planning or new system theories, but by using the immense wealth of what is already there and to recompose it into a new whole: a city both here and 'there', both big and small, rich and poor, northern and southern, western and eastern: a City of Comings and Goings.

A century old harbour area and a workers neighbourhood, tragically separated from each other but deeply connected to the rest of the world are your subjects. Our challenge to you is to stitch them together after having immersed yourselves in their visible and invisible realities, using all the tools you can find in disciplines ranging from film making to infrastructure design. What we are looking for is giving back meaning to the term 'Radical Urbanism', i.e.: to explicitly go against conventional wisdom and dominant trends in urban design and policy making, to hack at the roots (radices) of contemporary urban development that is fragmenting our cities and to make them whole again, whole in themselves and whole with the world.
Migration in Rotterdam

As the largest harbour in the world, Rotterdam in the 20th Century was a prototypical City of Comings and Goings. This resulted not only in a present population with over 170 nationalities, but also shaped the morphology of the city with harbour areas, quays and docks, railways and dikes as characteristic features. Nowadays many of these industrial terrains are being or will be transformed as the harbour moves to the West. In their temporary state, many of these terrains are an exciting and experimental proto-urban environment. In the centre of the city, Rotterdam wants to profile itself more and more as a city for expats and aims to compete with The Hague and Amsterdam. The city is investing to attract international start-ups and technological companies. However, amenities that would make the city attractive for expats such as suitable housing and international education are lagging behind.
Prewar workers-housing Oud Mathenesse
Simultaneously the city has seen an increase of people from new member states that have joined the European Union between 2004 and 2007. Over the last decade approximately 37.500 people from Central and Eastern European countries have come to work and live temporarily or permanently in or around the city of Rotterdam, mostly from Poland, Romania or Bulgaria. Naturally, their presence has had a considerable impact on the city scape, most visible by the appearance of grocery stores and restaurants specialized in products and dishes from Central and Eastern Europe. There are, however, countless realities related to the eastern European presence in Rotterdam which are less obvious and often unnoticed by policy makers, urban planners or designers.

During this Spring School you will explore the invisible realities related to the migration from the East and try to uncover their traces within Rotterdam — a city which is increasingly becoming more popular, but at the same time faces challenges such as gentrification and displacement. Subject of study are the harbour terrains of Nieuw-Mathenesse which lie adjacent to the workers' neighbourhood of Oud-Mathenesse in between Rotterdam and Schiedam, where many migrants from the East have settled. Considering the popularity of the city it is to be expected that both areas will transform within the near future. To this end, new ideas and strategies are needed. By revealing the underlying dynamics of the city we aim to gain a better understanding of the city of Rotterdam and develop integrated urban strategies that are more inclusive and sustainable.

Integrated Approach to Urban Development Strategies

To be transformative and sustainable, but at the same time, sensitive to the context, urban development strategies should be interdisciplinary, integrated and rooted in research. In addition, the universal "know-how" and globally traveling "best practices" should be critically approached and carefully localized by urban professionals today.

Therefore, in the frame of the Spring School, its participants will challenge and link Architecture, Urbanism, Sociology, History and Policy-making, learn and practice the principles of the integrated approach to elaborate strategies based on the key findings of the interdisciplinary and multiscale empirical research.

The proposed methodology will advance the holistic thinking skills of the participants, and the ability to apply strategic design tools to shape the inclusive and livable cities and urban areas.

What will you learn?

This Spring School builds upon the expertise of various institutions and practices in both Ukraine and the Netherlands. The Independent School for the City, which is based in the Rotterdam and rooted in the practices of Crimson Historians & Urbanists and ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles), combines a critical, activist approach to the city with effecting real change through architectural and planning projects. CANactions School runs interdisciplinary research-and-design programs investigating and reflecting on the western (EU) and eastern (CEE) urban planning and architecture practice in the context of local and global challenges the cities are facing nowadays.

By participating in the Spring School, you will be introduced the methodology of both institutions by gaining a better understanding of the city's invisible realities and underlying dynamics. You learn how to reveal them and to interact with them in order to develop inclusive and sustainable urban strategies. This is done by looking at the impact of migration from East to West on the selected urban area of Oud-Mathenesse. Moreover, working in mixed groups will facilitate professional and cultural exchange between the Spring School participants from all over the world.

Application and costs

The Spring School is open for (post-) graduate students from all over the world with a background in urban studies such as design, planning, sociology, history, architecture etc. You can apply by submitting the application form below including your full name, email address, phone number, CV, a motivation letter (max 1xA4 / 400 words) and examples of your previous work (max 4xA4). The application deadline is on 4 February 2019. Selection will take place based on the provided documents and your motivation while considering a professional and cultural diversity within the group. The selected participants are announced on the 11th of February 2019.

The registration fee is € 500 (including VAT) and includes field trips, lectures, study materials and bike rental. Travel to the Netherlands, accommodation and cost of living are not included.
Sunday (17 March 2019) — Rotterdam City Tour
In recent years Rotterdam has changed from a grim workers city into the place to be. On Sunday we will show you the classic as well as recent architectural highlights while connecting them to the themes of the Spring School such as migration and the visible and invisible borders in the city. We will take you a.o. to the Kunsthal (OMA), the Markthal (MVRDV), Rotterdam Central Station (Benthem Crouwel, MVSA and West8), Groothandelsgebouw (Maaskant) and the Luchtsingel (ZUS).
Monday (18 March 2019) — Introduction to the Spring School and first expedition
The first day of the Spring School starts at the Independent School for the City (Delftsestraat 33) with an introduction to the methodology of two curatorial institutions — the Independent School for the City and CANactions School. With your team, you will visit the project area and we will discuss the first findings. Jeroen de Bok, Senior Urbanist at the Rotterdam Municipality, will join us to discuss the current planning situation and relevant city development issues. In the evening, we will go back to the area to explore it from a different perspective.
Tuesday (19 March 2019) — Field Research Part 1: Exploring Borders
On the second day you will explore the area 'through different eyes' during a team expedition with specialists form various disciplines. You will be introduced to diverse perspectives, explore the complexity of the area, and gain new insights to come up with a compelling strategy, story or action to reach your goal.
Wednesday (20 March 2019) – Field Research Part 2: Critical Mapping
This day of the Spring School will be dedicated to the exploration of socio-spatial nature of the area by means of critical cartography. In contrast to the traditional mapping, applying the methodology of critical cartography will shift the focus of participants towards understanding and visualizing socio-political relations reflected in the case study area and their specific spatial representation. Led by Miodrag Kuč, an interdisciplinary artist and urban theorist with a vast experience of working in both Western and Eastern Europe, the participants will elaborate critical maps – as basis for their urban strategies.
Thursday (21 March 2019) – Development of Urban Strategy: Part I
During this day you will turn your observations into the first outlines of an urban strategy. To inspire you, we will organize a lecture by CANactions School on 'Integrated Approach to Strategic Design Proposals'. Starting from the formulation of an overall vision, the rest of the day you will work in your team on shaping the urban strategies, tutored by the Course Directors.
Friday (22 March 2019) – Development of Urban Strategy: Part II
On Friday, we start with a discussion led by de Dependance – a platform for city culture and public debate, Theo Hauben (CANactions School), and the Course Directors. Here your first strategic ideas are challenged and sharpened. During the rest of the day, you will continue developing your strategies, being focused on identifying strategic objectives, tactical measures/interventions in accordance with the overall implementation roadmap. At night, we will explore Rotterdam's nightlife: Hofbogen by night, Bird, Bar, Biergarten.
Saturday (23 March 2019) – Communication Strategy
On Saturday, we will start a bit later. You will continue to develop your strategic advices within your team, concentrating the effort on identifying the most efficient tools to communicate your proposals. Various experts will be there to support your work.
Sunday (24 March 2019) — Preparation for the Final Presentation
On Sunday, you will prepare for the final event – a public presentation of your research findings, stories, and strategies. The Course Directors and other invited experts will assist you to finalize a comprehensive and exciting story and to successfully communicate it on Monday.
Monday (25 March 2019) – Final Presentation
On Monday afternoon we will organize a public event around the outcome of the Spring School 'Borders are for Crossing'. Time to show your work to the world!
Mike Emmerik

is school coordinator at the Independent School for the City and partner at Crimson Historians and Urbanists. He is educated as an Urban Designer at Delft University of Technology and subsequently worked there for 5 years as a teacher and researcher at the chair of Design as Politics. He has been involved in various research and design projects at the intersection of urbanism and policy making, and advises national and municipal governments on issues related to urbanisation and mobility. In addition, he has been involved in various international teaching and design projects in Lebanon, Ghana and Cuba.
Mirjam Niemeyer

is an architect, urban designer and founding partner at Helsinki Zürich Office. She is CANactions School Advisory Board member and has curated, and mentored CANactions School educational programs since 2016. Mirjam has been a visiting professor at the PBSA Düsseldorf and assistant professor at the Institute of Urban Design at ETH Zurich. She has tutored several workshops and published internationally. In praxis, she works as a designer, researcher & consultant in the fields of architecture, urban design and planning in an international context.
Michelle Provoost

is head of the Independent School for the City, co-founder of Crimson Historians and Urbanist, and director of the International New Town Institute. She is an architectural historian specialised in urban planning history, postwar architecture and contemporary urban development. Michelle teaches at various universities in the Netherlands and abroad and continues to be in great demand as a public speaker. She lectures regularly throughout Europe, Asia, Africa and the United States, and has been involved in many municipal, national and private committees and juries.
Vladyslav Tyminskyi

is an architect, researcher, and consultant on strategic urban design and spatial planning. Since 2018, he is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Stuttgart, Faculty of Architecture and Urban Planning. Starting from 2015, Vladyslav has been a Program Director and Co-curator of Education at CANactions School and a guest tutor in the framework of various educational programs in Eastern and Western Europe. In 2016–2017, he worked for two projects of GIZ in Ukraine as a Chief Urban Researcher and External Consultant on Urban Development