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Short summary of the Spontaneous City Seminar - Worldwide Examples

One day Seminar on Spontaneous City Worldwide Examples

On the 14th of October, more than 100 people attended the seminar of the IFHP Working Group Spontaneous City in Oostenburg, Amsterdam, organized together with Urhahn Urban Design and sponsored by Stadgenoot. The topic attracted people of different backgrounds and different ages, all eager for a constructive discussion on the conditions of the Spontaneous City in Holland as compared to international examples.

The floor was opened by Derek Martin (IFHP), and immediately after Gert Urhahn (Urhahn Urban Design) gave an introduction to the Spontaneous City concept.

Bart Cosijn (Urban Dialogue) moderated the day and introduced three key speakers who reflected on the theme of the Spontaneous City. Joost Beunderman (00:/architects and Urhahn Urban Design) introduced the ‘Compendium for Civic Economy’, a reflection in how civic economy is an important emerging phenomenon entailing new urban practices and new roles for individuals, collectives, private parties and the government. Kunlé Adeyemi (NLÉ) gave us an analysis on Lagos, Nigeria and Luuk Boelens (Urban Unlimited) pointed out how critical it should be to rethink institutions for the next future of our civic society.

Eight international case studies were then presented: Business Improvement Districts in the UK (Beitske Boonstra),  Cyprus (Gert Breugem), ‘Contrats de Quartier’  in Brussels (Stefan Bendiks), Villages in the City in China (Tsaijer Cheng & Pu Hao), Berlin Tempelhof (Jan Martijn Eekhof), Seoul (Bart Reuser) and Collectives in Sao Paulo (Jaap Klarenbeek).

During the lunch break, Albert Ravestein (Stadgenoot) and Tess Broekmans (Urhahn Urban Design) provided a tour for the participants around Oostenburg. They explained how this unique area in Amsterdam is undergoing a new development strategy according to the Spontaneous City principles.

Many of the participants took an active part in the debate during the whole seminar.  At the end of the day it was clear that everybody had learned and gave something, and besides satisfaction from a fruitful day of discussion, there was a common feeling of enthusiasm to go further. It was eventually clear - more than ever - that each case is local and intrinsically apart. The Spontaneous City is a work in progress to create specific conditions for a different urban practice, define different roles for all stakeholders and move the end user from a passive position towards an active one - there is much more to contribute!

Image by Urhahn Urban Design