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Utrecht Manifest moving into suburbia

The 4th edition of the Biennale for social change continues until June and is focussed on the suburb of Rotsoord in Utrecht and its inhabitants.  This year the event was entitled The New Working Landscape and is about the need to bring the design process closer to the consumer.

By Editor /asdf 13-04-2012

Designers Studio Makkink & Bey, Sophie Krier, and Ester van de Wiel have curated and coordinated projects to examine what role social design plays in formulating solutions for social issues such as sustainability, social cohesion, education and the live/work ratio. How can design help to engage a broader audience in the planning of the (urban) environment?

To answer these questions the Utrecht Manifest coordinated research within the Rotsoord and collaborations with various local initiatives.    

In many cities industry is vanishing from the urban fabric.  Simultaneously, our employment market and the nature of our work are changing dramatically. These shifts have profound effects on society and economics and, thus, the social structures within our communities.   

But how does a city develop a framework that anticipates this new environment? How do we create an urban landscape; a landscape which is alive, knowledgeable and productive?      

The New Working Landscape focuses on social cohesion, sustainable interpretation of our mobility issues, economic sustainability and new ways of conveying knowledge and skills.      

Projects have examined how designers and consumers can form a closer bond. An inventory to visualize the capacity of skills and expertise available in Rotsoord was formed, providing a blueprint for potential hybrid production processes and cross-overs in the community.    

Can one neighbourhood produce enough food for the whole year round? How do we organise this and how can city folk themselves play a role?

Research into the potential of the new work landscape is not only significant for the field of design. It also corresponds with a broad social movement that demands new insight into our economic (production) processes and more involvement and influence on the development of our urban environment, our social and education systems and the employment market.

The Work Landscape in Context  - a parallel event of the Utrecht Manifest curated by Christel Vesters - is a public platform for holding discussions with a wider audience about the new work landscape.  

Themes up for discussion include: social design in education; economic surplus value versus social premiums, and speculative visualisation as a design strategy.  

On Saturday May 12 The Working Landscape in Context will organise the symposium WORK / LANDSCAPE.

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