DIVIDING BRIDGES & BRIDGING DIVIDES. A studio on infrastructures and their consequences

Cities fail their citizens if they adapt too slowly. The pace of adaptation is, in part, dependent on the capacity of spatial practitioners to reimagine the city and its urbanisation processes. The consequence of such a failure of imagination is either paralysis or perpetuation of outmoded forms of city production. A failure to adapt to new social needs and the perpetuation of the status quo can support the efforts of people who are protecting entrenched privileges. Where inequity and systemic racism are endemic to a society, the city becomes an instrument for the protection and production of privilege.

The studio will focus on the role that infrastructure can play in urbanisation. In the context of limited resources, it is crucial to consider where public funds should be spent and which parts of the urbanisation process cannot be achieved by citizens building the city for themselves. We will study the operation of various infrastructures, from highways to natural systems, from grazing land to legal rights, to understand how these devices can be used to expand the freedoms of citizens.

The site will be two adjacent golf courses in Cape Town. We will explore the appeal by activists that the land can be put to better use; instead of recreation for an elite minority, it could provide better access to the city’s marginalised people. 

Assignments will explore:
– rapid urbanisation and how design professionals can contribute positively to the process
– visualising urban inequities and the infrastructure that supports them
– design interventions for various champions; from a strong government to revolutionary forces

Heinrich Wolff will lead the studio discussions and will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Hours of availability will be negotiated with students depending on their global locations.

Students will be working individually and collaborate on some of the assignments. Students in Architecture, Urban Design, Landscape Architecture and planning are all welcome to participate. The qualities of students’ work will be evaluated by the insights that they bring to the conversations and the strategic consequences of proposed interventions.

GSD students may view additional information on option studios:
Option Studio Presentations
Schedule for Zoom Q&A sessions