The Independent School for the City is a platform for urban professionals to explore the complexity and contradictions of the global city. Social Sciences, Economy, Planning, Design, History and other "urban studies" are brought together in a trans-disciplinary community of learning. The school has deep roots and a strong presence in the city of Rotterdam and is part of a wide and diverse international network of practices and institutions. It is rooted in the practice of Crimson Historians & Urbanists and Z.U.S 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.
The Independent School for the City builds on the belief that strategies for the city should be based on real, first hand, empirical research. Today’s cities demand a new kind of urbanism, both as a practice and as a field of research. Urgent challenges such as climate change, migration and inequality will be at the heart of the School’s programme. These topics have not only intensified in recent years but have also become inextricably linked. To withstand the onslaught of reality, our cities do not just need to be redesigned but also re-thought. We can no longer afford to separate the conceptual from the practical, the political from the technical, the form and the content when dealing with today’s cities. Cultural identity and physical resilience, technological innovation and new narratives are different dimensions of our approach.