Al Jazeera ~ Riaan Hendricks ~ Working On Water

LagosJazeeraNigerian architect Kunle Adeyemi is pioneering floating buildings to solve the issues of flooding and land occupation that affect hundreds of thousands in African coastal cities, including the 85,000 residents of the Makoko slum in Nigeria’s capital Lagos.

Adeyemi envisages a city of floating buildings that, safe from rising tides, would allow the slum’s residents to remain within their community, while at the same time improving the quality of their lives.
His studio has come up with an easy-to-build, low-cost sustainable prototype for a floating building, one of which is already being coveted by an overcrowded local school.

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Meet Alfredo Brillembourg Of Urban-Think Tank

Alfredo Brillembourg

Alfredo Brillembourg

Meet Alfredo Brillembourg, a Venezuelan architect  and founder of Urban-Think Tank (U-TT) , a company described as “.. an interdisciplinary design practice dedicated to high-level research and design on a variety of subjects, concerned with contemporary architecture and urbanism.”.  The U-TT operates with offices in Caracas, São Paulo, New York, and Zürich – its positioned to serve clients and work on projects all over the world.

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John Jansen van Galen ~ Afscheid van de koloniën. Het Nederlandse dekolonisatiebeleid 1942-2010

JansenvanGalenDekolonisatie is het tegenovergestelde van kolonisatie. Kolonisatie is de vestiging van mensen en/of kapitaal op vreemd, buitenlands grondgebied. Wanneer daar uitoefening van macht over dat gebied en zijn bevolking op volgt, is er sprake van kolonialisme. Dit is volgens Rupert Emerson ‘het vestigen en voor langere tijd handhaven van heerschappij over een vreemd volk dat gescheiden is van en ondergeschikt aan de overheersende macht’. (1) Of, in de omschrijving van Maarten Kuitenbrouwer, ‘het doelgerichte en daadwerkelijke streven naar de vestiging van formele of informele heerschappij over een andere samenleving’. (2) Heerschappij, het uitoefenen van macht, over een ander volk maakt in deze definities het wezen van kolonialisme uit. Paul Kennedy beschrijft het begrip aan de hand van een aantal andere kenmerken, maar de meeste daarvan zijn niet onderscheidend omdat ze ook buiten koloniale situaties voorkomen: het bestaan van een kleurbarrière, economische afhankelijkheid, geringe sociale zorg voor het volk, gebrek aan sociaal contact tussen overheersers en overheersten. (3) Een raciaal verschil tussen de betrokken volkeren, dat ook wel als kenmerk genoemd wordt, is evenmin wezenlijk voor kolonialisme: zo waren Canada, Australië en IJsland wel koloniën van respectievelijk Engeland en Denemarken, maar in hoofdzaak door blanken bevolkt. Alleen politieke ondergeschiktheid van een gebied en zijn bevolking aan een buitenlandse, overzeese mogendheid onderscheidt het kolonialisme van andere politieke systemen.

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Dutch Involvement In The Transatlantic Slave Trade And Abolition

the_dutch_in_the_atlantci_slave_trade_1600-1815On 1 July 1863, slavery was abolished in the former Dutch colonies of Suriname and the Dutch Antilles. This ended  a period of around 200 years of slavery in these colonies. To mark the 150th anniversary of Dutch abolition in 2013, various activities have been organized, including exhibitions in the National Library of the Netherlands, the History Museum of The Hague, and the University of Amsterdam.

To coincide with these commemorations and provide background information, the Library, Documentation and Information Department of the African Studies Centre Leiden has compiled the present web dossier on  Dutch involvement in the slave trade. It contains titles published in the past ten years, all of which are available in the ASC Library. Each title links directly to the corresponding record in the library’s online catalogue, which provides further bibliographic details and abstracts, loan information, and links to full text if available. The dossier concludes with links to a number of relevant web sites.

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Richard Florida ~ What A Creative Neighborhood Looks Like

NeighbourhoodInnovation and creativity are the basic engines of economic development in cities, regions and nations. But what makes some places more innovative than others? How do certain neighborhoods come to specialize in different types of creativity?

A new study published in the journal Regional Studies by my Martin Prosperity Institute (MPI) and University of Toronto colleague Greg Spencer takes a detailed look at the kinds of neighborhoods that are home to high-tech industries versus those that foster vibrant arts, cultural and music scenes. He focuses on Canada’s big three city-regions: Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal. Spencer defines high-tech or “science-based” industries as spanning computer, software, pharmaceuticals and medicine, as well as research and development, while “creative” industries include film and video, music, radio and television, and design, as well as independent artists, writers and performers.

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African Cities Reader

African_Cities_Reader_2In many senses African cities are amongst the most generative and vibrant places on the planet. Yet, we know next to nothing about what goes on in the places. Not that there is any shortage of caricature, hyperbole or opinion about what makes African cities such quintessential spaces of dystopia and atrophy. We believe that a range of interventions that seek to engage the shape-shifting essence of African cities are long overdue and present this modest initiative as one contribution to a larger movement of imagination to redefine the practical workings of the African city.

For us it is self-evident that one has to take the youthful demographic, informality and a non-conventional insertion in global circuits by African urbanites as a starting point for a sustained engagement and retelling of the city in contemporary Africa. The cultural, livelihood, religious, stylistic, commercial, familial, knowledge producing and navigational capacities of African urbanites are typically overlooked, unappreciated and undervalued. We want to bring their stories and practices to the fore in the African Cities Reader. In other words, the African Cities Reader seeks to become a forum where Africans will tell their own stories, draw their own maps and represent their own spatial topographies as it continuous to evolve and adapt at the interstice of difference, complexity, opportunism, and irony.

In terms of focus, tone and sensibility, the Reader will be vibrant, unapologetic, free, accessible and open, provocative, fresh, not take itself too seriously, but also be rigorous and premised on the assumption that it will grow and evolve over time.

The launch issue (2008/9) is organised around the theme: “Pan-African Practices”. The back story to this theme is the recognition that all African cities are the product of multiple trajectories and origins, which implies that that the living, breathing, pulsating fact of African cities adds up to a form of ‘pan-Africanism’ that is more interesting than the tired tropes of pan-African Nationalism that remains the stock and trade of many official discourses about transnational and trans-local practices on the continent. We believe that ‘pan-Africanism as a practice’ despite the repeated deaths of pan-Africanism as a nationalist discourse opens up multiple explorations into the spatial specificity of cities crafted in the border zones between informal/formal, licit/illicit, chaotic/ordered, etc. Furthermore, in terms of over-arching knowledge projects, we perceive a productive space between: on the one hand, the imperative to respond to and engage with the dismissal of blackness/blackhood by a stream of postcolonial philosophy – a move we suspect may be too soon and too definitive – and, on the other, the insistence of dominant discourses and institutions that some essentialist African exceptionalism and solidarity is possible. However, the idea is not to dwell here but simply to use the idea of materially and symbolically grounded practices to explore the public and popular cultural dimensions of pan-African cityness. Throughout, the critical focus will invariably fall on practices, phenomenologies and spatialities and their intersections.

Naturally, flowing from this exploratory vantage point, the African Cities Reader will be open to multiple genres (literature, philosophy, faction, reportage, ethnographic narrative, etc), forms of representation (text, image, sound and possibly performance), and points of view. The African Cities Reader will seek to embody and reflect the rich pluralism, cosmopolitanism and diversity of emergent urbanisms across Africa. Thus, the Reader invites and undertake to commission writing and art by practitioners, academics, activists and artists from diverse fields across Africa in all of her expansiveness.


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