From the wide array of urban imaginaries presented at the IABR–2016, Failed Architecture has gathered some of the biennale’s central ideas for the future of cities
A core mantra of IABR–2016 is the need for an urban economy in which value is added on the local level instead of simply being extracted from it. This means that ideally, economic activity generates value for people and business in the locality, rather than for the shareholders of large corporations who are generally located elsewhere and have no local interests. The Afrikaanderwijk Cooperative (which just as IABR–2016 is located in Rotterdam South) is an example of a project that re-localises cash flows, connecting local manufacturers, spaces, businesses, skilled residents, and the local market. The project encourages people and businesses to spend locally, consequently strengthening the area’s weak economy. The cooperative also provides services for this year’s IABR, for instance by cleaning the venue. Another way to create an economy that channels capital into a certain locality is to induce large market players to invest in local projects.
Atelier Utrecht, one of IABR’s multiple-years research-by-design projects, focuses on the relationship between health and urban development. In addition to providing advice for sound urban environments, it asks a simple but crucial question: why don’t health insurance companies, if they invest so much in real estate projects (generic housing for the most part) invest more in building projects that actually contribute to healthier environments, something which directly influences their core business? Or take the Dashilar Hutong regeneration project, which by coupling the local population to planners and designers aims to have current residents benefit from urban renewal, instead of being pushed out by gentrification.
The People Stepping In
From elderly care and social housing to neighbourhood centers and libraries, many local services are rapidly losing their government funding. While some may survive on a more limited budget, many of the facilities once provided by the state will be forced to close down. In some cases the market can step in to fill the gap with privatized facilities, but it will not do so when there is no prospect of making a profit. […]