3 oktober Leeuwarden: Two tales of the city

During the Week of Infrastructure in Leeuwarden, the 2018 Cultural Capital of Europe, Next Generation Infrastructures is organizing a workshop to explore the relationships between infrastructure and culture in the city. The city is a complex system that manifests itself in many dimensions, including the techno-physical, economic, social, and cultural dimensions. Whereas infrastructure practitioners are familiar with the techno-economic characteristics of infrastructure in the city, citizens and their municipal governments may be more concerned about the socio-cultural impacts of infrastructure in the city. Cities and their environment were to a large extent shaped by historic infrastructure investment decisions, culminating in a lot of cultural heritage that we cherish today. There are many more examples of how infrastructure and culture interact in the city. Identifying these interactions will enrich our view of infrastructure and help infrastructure practitioners and local policy makers to shape the future of the city for the wellbeing of its citizens.

Workshop programme
The workshop is meant to trigger a joint explorative process of academic researchers, infrastructure practitioners and municipal policy makers into the relationships between infrastructure and culture in the city. The workshop will be opened with presentations by invited experts, who will share their challenging views on how infrastructure contributes to the identity of the city, how it creates a sense of place for its citizens, how it influences the experience and the use of urban space, and how it shapes collective structures. Each expert will provide a proposition on the relationship between infrastructure and culture in the city, to be verified or falsified by the workshop participants during the ‘infrastructure walk’ through Leeuwarden after the lunch break, and to be discussed in the closing debate of the workshop. The infrastructure walk is designed as an empirical research challenge to explore infrastructure in the city, to reflect on how it interacts with culture, how it creates cultural value, and how culture shapes infrastructure. All participants are invited to share their findings as ad hoc researchers through photos, videos and blogs, which will provide fresh input for the closing debate of the workshop. From the closing debate we hope to distill policy recommendations as well as inspiring avenues for future research.

Workshop venue
The workshop will take place in the historical building of the provincial government of Fryslân in the centre of Leeuwarden, the north of the Netherlands. It has been the provincial government centre  since 1580. Throughout the centuries the building has been renovated and expanded. Now the building is a smart mixture of historical and modern architecture.

Adress: Provinciehuis, Tweebaksmarkt 52, 8911 KZ Leeuwarden

Programme (a timetable will follow asap):

09.15 – 09.50 Registration and coffee

09.50 – 10.00 Opening address by Prof. Margot Weijnen, workshop chair; followed by

Infrastructure and culture: two tales of the city in a spatial perspective, Prof. Jochen Monstadt, University of Utrecht

Cities around the world: exploring the cultural dimension of urban infrastructure, Dr. Eswaran Subrahmanian, Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh PA

The identity of cities: caught between heritage and social change, Prof. Jens-Ivo Engels, Technical University of Darmstadt

Down to earth: an anthropologist perspective on the interactions between infrastructure and culture in the city, Dr. Ralitsa Hiteva, Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex

Language as the true infrastructure, Dr. Georges Amar, former head of innovation, Metro Paris


After lunch:

Infrastructure walk, closing debate and workshop wrap up and drinks

18.00 Time to go home