Harriet Bulkeley: The Power of Experiments
To even the most casual urban observer, experiments are everywhere. From living laboratories designed to test out new forms of habitation and lighthouse projects seeking to enlighten European smart cities, to test bed hubs for technical innovation and communities of practice seeking to try out new ways of growing food and generating energy. The experimental city is staking a claim for its place in the Next Economy. The ordered city, planned for long-term collective social outcomes, and its publics seem to recede into the distance. In their ambivalence, urban experiments both invigorate and disquiet. They bring new change agents into the city, offer signs of hope for a much needed transition to an economy we want, arousing our curiosity about the possibilities of the future and opening up the city to making our new histories in relation to the pressing problems of climate change and sustainability. Yet they make us feel uneasy. Islands of curiosity behind invisible walls, are such experiments merely a museum of our future yet to come? Tantalising in what they promise but containing little of the potential for real change. Are experiments too powerful or not powerful enough?
In this Next Talk, Harriet Bulkeley will ask, what are experiments doing in our cities – how and why has experimentation come to be the way in which the transition to an economy we want, seems to be born? And she will examine what are experiments doing in our cities – what are their intentions, impacts and politics? Investigating how and for whom cities are being made experimental, this talk will help us think about the transition to an economy we want, how it might be made and where it might come undone.
Respondent Bas van der Pol studied architecture at the Technical University Eindhoven, worked for the architecture center of his hometown Tilburg and has been program leader for AIR Rotterdam for some years.
Harriet Bulkeley is a Professor in the Department of Geography, Durham University. Her research is concerned with the processes, practices and politics of environmental governance. She has particular expertise in the areas of climate change, energy and urban sustainability. In 2014, she was awarded the King Carl XVI Gustaf’s Professorship in Environmental Science and a Visiting Professorship at Lund University, Sweden.
FRIDAY 10 JUNE
Time: 5.30 - 7 p.m.
Location: Fenixloods II, Paul Nijghkade 19, Rotterdam
Admission fee: none, provided you can produce a valid exhibition ticket.
A reservation in advance is highly recommendable and can be made here.
Every Friday afternoon, a Next Talk will take place in the auditorium of THE NEXT ECONOMY-exhibition. Radical and provocative ideas for the future of the city are given a platform. International speakers stimulate and intensify the debate about the Next Economy.
Quick bite after a Next Talk? Tasty vegetarian soups are served with bread, beer, wine and water until 10 p.m. at Gallery Robert van Oosterom. Gallery Robert van Oosterom is situated at the ground floor of the Fenixloods II, next to the IABR–2016.