‘Migration is of central importance in all future urban development’

15On Sunday, 18 June, Crimson Architectural Historians will organize a symposium related to their research project, ‘A city of Comings and Goings’, on emerging migration and mobility to/in cities. We asked organizers Michelle Provoost and Annushka Pronkhorst four questions about their event.

What is Crimson Architectural Historians, and how may people know your organization?

Crimson Architectural Historians is a hybrid practice that takes the contemporary city as its object. Crimson designs and conducts research for the city, writes texts and books about the urban, displays it in exhibitions and through works of art, teaches about it, gives advice on it, and makes policies for it.

Our recent projects include the publication of the book ‘Hugh Maaskant: Architect of Progress’ (2013) by Michelle Provoost, as well as contributions to the Venice Biennale (2014), the Shenzhen Biennale (2015), and exhibition in the Van Abbemuseum (2016/17).

At the International Social Housing Festival, you will present the first findings of your research project, ‘A city of comings and goings’. Why have you started this project, and what is it about?

The refugee crisis and the accompanying housing and spatial challenges in many European countries were the initial trigger for starting this research project. However, rather than approaching this ‘crisis’ as a temporary situation, we think it reveals a structural problem concerning the flexibility and absorption capacity of cities. Our cities are increasingly defined by the dynamics of temporary inhabitants – be the refugees, expats, international students, or migrant workers. By understanding migration as a permanent feature of our cities, our research project responds to the need to rethink how cities can better cope with this phenomenon.

What will happen at ‘Migration and Mobility in cities in the West’, your symposium on Sunday 18 June, and why should all readers attend?

The event will start with an introductory presentation, followed by presentations on different cities (Prato, London, Vienna and Arhus), thereby discussing the place-specific migration context and current housing challenges. The event will conclude with a panel discussion in which invited professionals react to the presentations and offer their views on how we can meet these challenges in practice.

As an inherent feature of our cities, we believe that migration is of central importance in all future urban development. During the event, some very interesting urban researchers and practitioners will discuss current migration-related challenges and the spatial solutions that have been or can be offered. We would like to invite everyone to engage in this very relevant discussion that concerns all of us!

Are you planning to attend any other event at the International Social Housing Festival?

There are too many interesting events to mention, but there are a few that are particularly relevant in relation to our own research project. These include ‘Amsterdam Arrivals’ from the ISHF-research team, the ‘Best practices of inclusiveness, migration and refugee housing’ by the EurHoNet and EFL, and ‘Flexible housing in the 21st century’ by Pop-Up City and others. We are convinced that these events will provide us with much food for thought for our own project!

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