About the Programme
Follow the Money is a two week research and design studio on city development and the roles of architecture, property and capital.
Since the start of de-regulation policies in the 1990 and the following rise of Neo-liberalism, architecture and urban planning have been increasingly influenced and dictated by capital markets, investors and private equity. If the financial crash of 2007 showed anything, it was that real-estate - and therefore architecture and urban development - had become fully intertwined with capital markets and the global economy.
Over-fed on sub-prime real estate mortgages, the financial markets nearly collapsed. In the Netherlands, this crisis led to the unemployment of 50% of the Dutch architects and to 8 years of a near complete building freeze. During this period, the Dutch government (but also more governments in Europe) retreated even further from the role of initiator and client for architecture and urban development, leaving the initiative in real estate and the build environment to ‘the market’ and taking on the role as facilitator.
Now, with the real estate market back in full swing, it is becoming clear what these gradual changes have done to the way the city is being shaped. Market forces are indeed taking the initiative. The omnipresence of capital as a driving force seems to be a given. In many instances the role of the architect and urban planners has been reduced to that of concept designer of the development, often leaving out the classical roles of technical detailing and building site supervision.
In this two-week studio, organized in collaboration with the Powerhouse Company, we will critically explore and uncover the role of capital in the way our cities and buildings are being shaped. We will look at the city through the lens of global capital in order to understand how we could use that view in order to shape our vision of a better city.
We will do that by using the classical economic analyses of the city by researching the roles of Property (land and real estate), Labour (in this case, architecture and design) and Capital (finance). During this studio we will focus on Rotterdam, which, due to its partial destruction during World War II, has become a rich testing ground for real estate development experiments over the last 70 years.
The program starts on Monday 21 October and will finish on Thursday 31 October. It consists out of five full days (10:00 - 18:30) and 4 evenings (19:00 - 22:00), during which participants will take part in a range of activities, including lectures, conversations with professionals, field trips, collective work, and presentations.
The Independent School for the City is a brand new one-year international education program for post-graduate students in the field of design, planning, sociology, history etc. It has its epicenter in the heart of Rotterdam, in the development area Central District. The school is rooted in the practice of Crimson Architectural Historians and ZUS (Zones Urbaines Sensibles) of combining a critical, activist approach to the city with effecting real change through architectural and planning projects. Blurring the line between critique and practice, research and policy and a strong belief in an incremental instead of a tabula rasa approach to city planning.