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The Urbanisation of the Sea

Join us for Thursday Night Live! on The Urbanisation of the Sea at Het Nieuwe Instituut on June 10.

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After centuries of exploitation, the sea is currently demanding our attention as an environmental threat. Nancy Couling and Carola Hein claim that the sea offers a place for creative futures, opening up new fields of action for architects and designers. How can we reconceptualise the sea-land continuum within the urban debate and restore its cultural significance? Urban theorist Neil Brenner, planner and Delta specialist Han Meyer and curator Chus Martinez will join the discussion on understanding, communicating and recalibrating our relations to the sea.

Taking the recently published book The Urbanisation of the Sea as the departure point, this discussion brings together leading creative thinkers and practitioners who recognize the urgent challenges and potentials of the sea. In the case of the North Sea, the space is almost fully planned and it has been loaded with the task of increasing economic production from both new and traditional maritime sectors. At the same time, it has been emptied of cultural significance. A growing range of large-scale projects for the sea raises questions about the sea’s spatial, social and cultural values and the exploitive systems of power controlling the sea commons.

What are the implications of the concept of urbanization of the sea for academic reflection and future intervention? What design lessons do we need to draw from changing ecologies of the Delta, and in which ways are interdisciplinary creative projects generating awareness and a new mind-set?

Nancy Couling and Carola Hein call for a greater involvement for the creative industries in collaboration with complimentary experts. Drawing on the book’s different projects from academia, art, literature and practice, from analysis to design, they explore synergies for designing this new spatial realm, aiming to open up a vibrant field of interdisciplinary dialogue.