Category Archives: Articles

TU Delft Planning and Designing with Water for Sustainability 2019 | Summer School by Roberto Rocco

This article is based on author’s participation at the 2019 edition of the workshop and outlines her personal viewpoint. Visit the workshop website for detailed information.

The unprecedented initiative by Roberto Rocco, Associate Professor at Department of Urbanism TU Delft, has ignited the quest for sustainable development in the hearts of many students and professionals across the globe. His personal vision for the Summer School, which was first conducted in 2014, encompasses spreading the bountiful Dutch knowledge of water management in delta regions and pooling of new urban ideas at the hub of sustainability. Keeping The New Urban Agenda and UN Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs) in the forefront, each year workshop invites over 100 participants, whose own careers are aligned to school’s objectives.

The 100 hours summer school is smartly packed with array of activities, keeping the young minds on their toes. The series of lectures by the department’s professors and HOD Vincent Nardin,  establishes an insight into the evolution of Delta Works in keeping Netherlands safe and sustainable. Apart from stupendous techniques of mitigation engineering, the participants are also made to think about planning related aspects like stakeholders, heritage, public safety, mobility, governance and public participation.

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Warrior of a Resilient Community | Ar. Diébédo Francis Kéré

With no electricity, sparse drinking water, and a life that took a pause with every sundown, the village of Gando had not foreseen the incoming change. Remotely located in Burkina Faso, a landlocked country of extensive plateaus in eastern Africa, the village has gained global attention through the remarkable works of one of its own community member, architect Diébédo Francis Kéré.

As a boy of young age, attending a lecture in a poorly ventilated classroom during the hottest days of the year, Kéré had an inkling that reality could be much better. This slowly turned into a vision of uplifting the Gando community, which he believed needed an external perspective. For those who seek, there are always means and that is how a scholarship knocked at his door for studying architecture at the Berlin Institute of Technology, which he believes was brought to him by luck.

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Green School | Fostering this generation for ground zero Sustainability

Young minds are untarnished and malleable, they follow wherever we lead them. They are our biggest hope and potential risk as well. If they are taught in the same manner as we were, the results will be morally, socially, economically and environmentally worse. For we grew up in a society that settled itself away from nature, whereas every answer to sustainable living lies within it.

Hence it isn’t difficult to arrive at a common solution to our global problems, which is to take these young minds back to nature. While many are still contemplating on its cons, John and Cythia Hardy have already setup a remarkable model – Green School.

“We owe it to our children to give them the skills to adapt. Now more than ever.”

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Urban Resilience | Rebuilding of Urban Mindset

When giants like Rockefeller Foundation, whom we all look up to for when it comes to funding urban projects, interpret resilience of a city as an alien venture for the vulnerable halves of the urban community, we are made to reevaluate our disposition. Recent demise of 100 Resilient Cities project, has raised doubts on external philanthropic supports for mitigating urban risks. The organisation’s president exclaims, “It’s a shift in the foundation’s focus to delivering measurable results for vulnerable people, with a budget framework that works.” This unexpected withdrawal has awakened many urbanists, who are now beginning to redefine the way urban resilience is perceived.

Urban resilience depends on urban mindset, understood as the manner in which societal roles are perceived by individuals in an urban community. People respond to city level risks based on the urban mindset they adopt. This imparts value to various planning variables and becomes the guiding source for policy making. Hence while building resilient cities, political parties and planners focus on strengthening the city for public use but fail to reform the urban mindset.

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Dachau narrates architecture of RACISM

This narrative is inspired by writer’s own visit to the site and entails her personal viewpoints, not aimed at a community or beliefs of others.

We have learnt to provide effective spatial orders for the living, but it remains evident that we are still unaware of accommodating our societal differences in the spaces we inhabit. Racism is an evidence of our societies moving away from social sustainability and this needs to be addressed frequently for its upheaval. Dachau lets us look back and observe the faults of an orthodox system with its severe infliction on our architectural perseverance.

An absolute bareness with its arms stretched wide open coldly welcomes the visitor, a chilling experience for lighthearted. It is only the bareness which engulfs the sight as far as it goes, as if declaring the reign of death. With sparse poplar tress at distance, tall enough and far enough to be of no use for rescue from the beating sun, again evidently striking on the harshness of the ground. On right, withstands the restored quarters of prisoners, furnishing hardly a ground coverage of 8 country houses, which inhabited 6,000 prisoners at once during last few months of its functioning.

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