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Lunch Talk: Tomorrow's people

Amsterdam is booming and it seems as if in just a handful of years our society has grown tenfold. When I look up from my work as a specialist in heritage and urban development and look around me I wonder: what happened? How is it possible that I suddenly find myself an activist instead of an open-minded curious person with a special interest in arts, science, architecture and urban planning? 

The current debate about the city of Amsterdam has taken a radical turn and I am sincerely worried about its direction. Politicians and policy makers are striving for a population of two million people. That’s more than double of today’s population. Everything has to make way for this to happen. In a way that does not take into consideration lessons learned in the past. 

For the first time since the Golden Age discussions about realising well functioning urban spaces, quality housing and liveable living conditions for its inhabitants are being pitifully disregarded. Values we have developed over hundreds of years are suddenly discarded as part of a nostalgic conservatism. It’s claimed that tomorrow’s people hardly need (green) space to relax or play, don’t need to interact with nature and won’t want or need a house with daylight and fresh air. Tomorrow’s people won’t need anything other than constant interaction and people around them - 24/7. 

Tomorrow’s people will aspire to live their lives beginning to end in a tiny flat packed into the niche of a giant tower block. Families with children will want this too. If not, they can clear off to the suburbs or provinces. The term that has been coined for this new human being is The Enterprising Creative. According to policy makers, urban planners and developers this means you, the Spring House members. You are the ideal prototype. 

But is this really true? Do you recognize yourself in this description? Are we really on the verge of becoming a new human being with different biological needs? And to what extent are we in fact a part of the mechanisms that relishes this worldview? Come to exchange ideas during this Lunch Talk initiated by urban heritage advisor and curator arts-science projects Hester Aardse.


Date: Thursday April 5
Time: 12.00 - 13.30
Members Only
Spring House, De Ruyterkade 128, Amsterdam


More about Hester Aardse
Aardse has worked as an urban heritage advisor to the city of Amsterdam since 1998. She is specialised in the transformation of old port and industrial sites into new urban landscapes, the revitalisation of social housing and the city’s sophisticated green fabric.
Aardse is also the founder and artistic director of PARS, an arts and sciences initiative that explores human curiosity, research and innovation, and beauty and knowledge.