On 5 November, at the Innovation for the Environment Series titled “Smart Designs for Environmental Sustainability and Liveability”, organised by the Singapore Environment Institute in partnership with the Singapore-ETH Centre, FCL Programme Leader Prof. Kees Christiaanse gave a talk titled “Tending Diversity”.
“Urbanity is when some groups dominate without excluding others”
According to many researchers and designers, diversity constitutes an essential ingredient of vital urban neighbourhoods in which cultural activity, creative industry, innovation and micro-economic growth can flourish. In order to work with it as urbanists, we first have to define what diversity in this context means, how it evolves and subsequently how it translates into spatial and material terms. In addition, the change in diversity under the dynamics of urban transformation processes is of great importance. We then can identify the elements, resources and potentials both in general as well as in specific urban quarters, that drive, stimulate or are receptive to diversification. In a next step, we can try to develop instruments to activate these potentials, with which we can influence the character and speed of transformation in order to sketch possible development scenarios and policy guidelines. In essence, well-structured, vibrant neighborhoods lead to socially sustainable behaviour, which in turn reduces waste of energy and resources. Finally we should test and validate our assumptions in concrete situations. In the Future Cities Laboratory, we are investigating 4 case-study neighbourhoods in Asia – in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Bangkok and Singapore and two in Europe – in Zurich and Rotterdam.
About the Speaker
Professor Kees Christiaanse, studied architecture and urban planning at the TU Delft. From 1980 until 1989 he worked for the Office of
Metropolitan Architecture (OMA) in Rotterdam, becoming a partner in 1983. In 1989 Kees Christiaanse founded his own office ir. Kees Christiaanse Architects & Planners in Rotterdam, KCAP since 2002, which expanded to Shanghai and Zurich. From 1996 until 2003 he taught
architecture and urban planning at TU Berlin (DE). Since 2003 he is professor at the ETH in Zurich (CH). In 2009 Kees Christiaanse was curator of the International Architecture Biennale Rotterdam (IABR) with the title “Open City. Designing Coexistence”. Since 2011 Kees
Christiaanse is Programme Leader of the Future Cities Laboratory in Singapore and Principal Investigator as well as Module Leader for Module IV ‘Urban Design Strategies and Resources’.
Next to his work as an architect, Kees focuses on urban assignments in complex situations and on guiding of urban processes. He is a consultant to several airports and expert in the development of university campuses and in the revitalisation of former industrial, railway and harbour areas, which is illustrated by KCAP’s work in the docklands of Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Hamburg and London.