IABR 2016 — Atelier Utrecht: The Healthy City
The Utrecht Atelier is being launched on the occasion of the 7th International Architecture Biennale in Rotterdam in 2016, whose theme will be ‘the next economy’. The IABR and Utrecht city council have appointed Architecture Workroom Brussels to head the workshop. The aim of the project workshop is, through research by design, to develop alternative lines of thinking, insights and concepts for concrete urban planning tasks through exchanges with a wide variety of groups (governmental authorities, market groupings, social organisations and citizens). The design teams MUST and De Smet Vermeulen were appointed to implement the research by design and are currently working on their contribution to the Project Workshop. The biennale itself is not the end of the process: that is the implementation of plans and projects in the city, following an exhibition and a debate.
As in other Dutch cities, in Utrecht the ‘healthy city’ or ‘healthy urbanisation’ have for decades been a top priority on national, regional and local agendas. The recent policy reforms in care and other sectors, which have completely overturned the triangular relationship between government, market and civil society, create a new sense of urgency. The major spatial issues that this swing from the welfare state to the so-called ‘participation society’ will generate in the long term still remain largely out of sight. This requires a form of local development that takes account not only of financial profit and the logic of property, but also of added social value.