Progressive Research

More than ever before in history, technological development has changed our perception of the world. With mobile phones and email, we can communicate in an immediate way; there seems to be no distance, anymore. Physically one can live in isolation, while still being linked to the whole world. In this context, how will the contemporary city develop? Will there be a need for the physical city within an unreal world? How will architecture react to these developments? We have to do research; we have to analyze existing phenomena; we have to learn from new trends. On the other hand, we have to construct, hypothesize about strategies to develop a new environment that surfs on the discoveries of other disciplines. Thus, ‘Progressive Research’ could also mean to speculate on how to support new conditions–to invent a new city type on a new city-site within a new idea of ling-working-playing-shopping-relaxing-learning-communicating; to develop questions about the role architecture/urbanism should play in the future. What questions can be raised about infrastructure and its connection to our unreal world?

Will the airport be relevant in the future city or will we develop a new city-type whose scale is more related to the space shuttle, where we can no longer distinguish individual buildings. These questions have to be raised in a time when the Netherlands is still building 100,000 sing family homes each year outside its existing cities. The Berlage’s Institute’s new PhD program, entitled Progressive Research, aims to investigate the strategies necessary for development of the future living. How will the first city on the Moon operate; what program will it contain? What is the future of cites like New York, Berlin, and Milan? What will be the role of the car, one of the most exciting inventions of the twentieth century, in a new city? What will be the role of tourism? What will be the role of The Night Watch by Rembrandt or the Red Light District for Amsterdam; of shopping for Singapore; or the beach condition for Hawaii? 

Wiel Arets, Hunch No. 3, The Berlage Institute, 2001, pp. 16