Hong Kong: that is the world’s most densely populated city, an island of glistening skyscrapers, fashion and fast money, the most expensive real estate in the world against a backdrop of rugged mountains. Right? But the city also has a hidden life, on high and down below. Two fascinating books – as well as the ‘Homes for All’ video that Max Hirsh and Xiaoxuan Lu made for the digital magazine of my talkshow Stadsleven – shine a stark light on Hong Kong’s housing dilemma’s.
Citydwellers are reclaiming the streets! See the ‘leefstraten’, the ‘living streets’, like the Kersstraat in Utrecht, where for a few weeks the neighborhood uses the space normally reserved for cars. And in the New Institute, curator René Boer reflects on how decades of squatting have impacted the city of today. And meanwhile there is music on the canals of Amsterdam, thanks to the Canal Festival! Read the article…
For Harvard Graduate School of Design I wrote a blog about the cycling mayor in Amsterdam.
Urban cycling is all the rage in cities nowadays. For tourists it’s a fun way of seeing the city, for locals in cities that are not used to bikes it is a form of transport activism. In Amsterdam, it’s utilitarian; biking is simply the cheapest and quickest way to get around. Not in lycra, but in high heels or a business suit, or with groceries in front and a child in back.
New trend: souvenirs are the new outlet for designers. It dawned on me when I attended a talk by Scottish curator Stacey Hunter at the exhibition design Language during the Milan Designweek about her project Local Heroes in Edinburgh last year. She invited nine designers to create souvenirs that went beyond the heritage clichés. It reminded me of a Dutch project by designer Elmo Vermijs, 100% Terschelling, which is in the running for one of this year’s Dutch Design Awards.
For the newspaper NRC I visited China and Hong Kong and wrote about the two enormous new design museums being built there: Design Society in Shenzen and M+ in Hong Kong.
The relationship between the Netherlands and water is fascinating for foreigners – even for a foreigner like me who has been living in the Netherlands for more than thirty years. Watch and listen to my multimedia tour ‘Water’ in which I discuss the role of water in the Netherlands with water envoy Henk Ovink, farmer Nol Hooijmaijers and Florian Boer of De Urbanisten.
All three multimedia tours that I created on the occasion of being awarded the Maaskant Prize 2016 can be seen on www.tracyinnederland.nl