On Tuesday the 10th of April 2018 students of Architecture at the TU Delft organised a masterclass at Veldacademie. Prior to the debate with all the participants, Visiting Professor Tiit Tammaru gave an introductory lecture on his insights of social inequality, segregation and social mobility in European cities. Among the participants were students of various disciplines who are dealing with similar themes and hence could share their insights and experiences. In this way useful information was gained for both the participants and for the initiators of the masterclass.
Watch de lecture by Tiit Tammaru here and the aftermovie here!
To the three architecture students the masterclass offered a great possibility to interdisciplinary discuss the findings of their own research, on meeting places in the Rotterdam neighbourhoods of Bloemhof and Reyeroord. In this research they look at the spatial aspects of meeting places and how these can facilitate social interaction. In the workshop they asked for the help of 12 other Veldacademie students of Sociology, Pedagogical Sciences, Real Estate and other disciplines. Visiting Professor Tiit Tammaru and Maarten van Ham (OTB) were present as professionals sharing their expertise and experience. Tiit is professor of Urban and Population Geography at the Universiteit of Tartu (Estonia).
Lecture Tiit Tammaru
After having lunch together at Veldacademie the masterclass kicked off with a short lecture by Tiit on the vicious circle of social inequality, social mobility and segregation. Subsequently the architecture students explained the way in which they are dealing with these themes in their research. To break out of the vicious circle it is supposedly important to improve the social cohesion in the neighbourhood, which can be done using meeting places.
Preparing for the workshop the architecture students had chosen three types of meeting places in Bloemhof to further investigate in the workshop: a community centre, a square in front of a supermarket and an outdoor playing area. The students observed the meetings that took place there and they analysed the spatial aspects of the places. These observations and analyses were then used as the input for three discussion groups, each with one of the places as the topic of conversation. With the use of position statements the discussion groups spoke about the ‘conditions’ that are needed in order for meetings to take place. They discussed among others the importance of organised activities, the influence of spatial aspects and the way in which meeting places should be focussed on certain target groups. The workshop finished by bringing together the different discussion groups and exchanging the content that had been discussed within the groups.
During the discussions the expertise of the various disciplines of the students studying at Veldacademie really was brought to light. This provided the architecture students great input for continuing their research, among others through the theories and statements contributed by the other students regarding the research topic. Additionally the other students gained an interesting new experience by looking at sociological issues from a spatial point of view.