‘The Ministry is a plea for long-term thinking,’ explains Van Boxel. ‘Spatial policy has become fragmented: too many different agencies are involved. We have encountered that in the large projects we’ve worked on. That’s why we’re working on a plan that we call Delta 3000 in which we plead for extreme forward thinking about the future of the Netherlands. We have to do this now so that we don’t literally get submerged by rising sea levels and soil erosion. This is not only about holding back the seawater but also about the built environment, infrastructure and agriculture.

‘For us, the appropriation strategies at the level of the user and of nationwide spatial planning are two sides of the same coin.’

ZUS believes that it is time for an organised architecture. ‘There was once an engaged architecture community that took an interest in spatial planning, for example in CIAM and Team 10, but also later during the AIR manifestations. This pooling of forces is now largely lacking. How can we create a bottom-up ministry, not as an institution but as a movement, comparable with the democratic renewal that the writer David Van Reybrouck is thinking about?’

 

And what do these appropriation strategies mean for the discipline? What does ZUS think architects and urban planners can learn from the squatters’ tactics? ‘The city is constantly changing,’ says  Koreman. ‘Urban space is being used in very different ways for various aims. If that principle becomes the starting point for the development of architecture and urban planning, in the future we will probably have to make less tight-fitting bespoke suits.’

Interview: Lotte Haagsma

Architecture of Appropriation - Het Nieuwe Instituut

René Boer (Failed Architecture), Marina Otero Verzier (Head of R&D, Het Nieuwe Instituut), Katía Truijen, Roos van Strien, Maria Duarte, Marten Kuijpers (R&D, Het Nieuwe Instituut)
ZUS [Zones Urbaines Sensibles]
Jakub Straka with Sepus Noordmans
Johannes Schwartz

This project is part of the programme track Landscape and Interior and the folder A series on the changing landscape.