This is the website of Tracy Metz, journalist and author about urban issues. She writes for NRC, De Groene Amsterdammer and Architectural Record. Tracy is director of the John Adams Institute, the center of American culture in the Netherlands and has her own monthly live talkshow Stadsleven, about living in cities.
Bustling metropolises of Martin Roemers

Bustling metropolises of Martin Roemers

The movement of trains or a group of cars becomes a colored whoosh and people who sit or stand still for a few seconds longer then become the main characters of the story.

I interviewed the Dutch photographer Martin Roemers about his project which he started in 2007 and finished in 2015. He made a photoserie about street life in bustling metropolises that is now on display in Huis Marseille. This interview was for the blog of the Loeb Fellowship at the Graduate School of Design at Harvard.

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The Spoon Man

The Spoon Man

 For his entire adult life, the Brazilian engineer Alvaro Abreu smoked. By the time he was 46 he was smoking three packs a day. In 1995 he had a heart attack and his doctor said: no more cigarettes. Alvaro – nickname Zau Zau – heeded his advice, but was going crazy fidgeting, trying to find something to do with his hands.

Then he had an idea. He lives in the state of Espirito Santo in southeastern Brazil, north of Rio, where bamboo is plentiful. And he has always loved making things, so he had tools. With simple tools he made an equally simple utensil out of bamboo – a spoon.

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HEYU! Urbans talkshow series: 6 cities, 6 thinkers

HEYU! Urbans talkshow series: 6 cities, 6 thinkers

The Netherlands will hold the Presidency of the European Union in the first half of 2016. HEYU! Urbans is part of a talkshow series of the Public Library of Amsterdam (OBA). The OBA asked me to invite and discuss the urban challenges of today with six prominent thinkers, one a month from six cities in and around the EU in the live talkshow HEYU! Urbans. Literature critic Margot Dijkgraaf invites 12 of the best European writers for HEYU! Writers. Guests include David Madden (London), Stavros Stavrides (Athens), Marten Kaevats (Tallinn), Francesc Muñoz Ramírez (Barcelona), Tuna Kuyucu (Istanbul) and the mayor of Amsterdam, Eberhard van der Laan.

More information and tickets: www.oba.amsterdam. For members of We Are Public tickets are free of charge. 
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Tackle floods? Singapore update on water

Tackle floods? Singapore update on water

The Straits Times of Singapore wrote an article about my lecture with the title ‘Tackle floods? Create more space for water’. I gave this lecture, called ‘Water – Holland’s ‘Frenemy’, on February 18th for the Centre for Liveable Cities in Singapore. 

The Netherlands is known for its control over water. But now that the climate is changing, the Dutch are also changing their approach towards water management. In cities more space is being created for water, the landscape is being redesigned to let water in and sometimes the dikes are even being lowered. Water is becoming a friend instead of an enemy – or better said, frenemy.
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