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The Maaskant Dialogues
Forty years 
Rotterdam-Maaskant Foundation:


2018 marked forty years since the first Rotterdam-Maaskant Prize was awarded. In this anniversary year, the Rotterdam-Maaskant Foundation started a series of Maaskant Dialogues to explore new social challenges with major consequences for the future. The four dialogues on current themes such as climate adaptation, circular economy, health, new poverty, social division and the changing relationship between citizens and government were conducted by former winners of the Maaskant Prize and visionary thinkers.

Vision of future society

The Earth is full and connected, and the complexity of planning has increased enormously. Previously unshakable values and roles have been turned upside down and the role of designers has therefore fundamentally changed and become more diverse. However, the call for social involvement of designers is still strongly audible, both with regard to a fair division of society, a sustainable food supply, a public space without exclusions, climate resilience or energy transition, to name just a few of those urgent current tasks. to appoint. Because when it comes to a vision of a future society, it is logical that designers take the lead and set a good example. And therefore do not try to continue building from the back with fossil resources, literally and figuratively.

Four Maaskant Dialogues

The board of the Rotterdam-Maaskant Foundation, together with Thijs Barendse of De Dépendance and moderator Saskia van Stein, organized four public dialogues between June 2018 and June 2019. Each evening was introduced by Michelle Provoost, who discussed the theme from the perspective and era of Hugh Maaskant. Two of the dialogues were also organized in buildings designed by Maaskant.

Maaskant dialogue #1 Urban marginality

The division in society was the theme of a lecture by the Canadian Loïc Wacquant. His research focus is on stigmatization of neighborhoods and the role of governments in this. Maaskant Prize winner Arnold Reijndorp, spatial and social scientist, gave him an answer from the Dutch context. In the struggle to attract the middle class, there is at the same time a social obligation not to abandon the precariat. A clear message to designers to increase their social involvement.

Maaskant dialogue #2 Self-organization

The second dialogue was about the changing role of citizens in the thinking and making process of the spatial environment and real estate. Beitske Boonstra obtained her PhD on contemporary participation
and co-evolution processes in spatial planning, where Maaskant Prize winner Adri Duivesteijn sketched the historical perspective as an administrative actor. Combating fossil power strongholds and supporting innovative initiatives is desperately needed to renew Dutch spatial planning democratically and sustainably.

Maaskant dialogue #3 Agriculture

The tasks in rural areas and agriculture were explained by Louise Fresco, as a knowledge provider of global agricultural transitions. Maaskant Prize winner Rem Koolhaas, architect and creator of a new exhibition about the rural area, was her discussion partner. They discussed the cultural position that people take regarding their food and natural environment. A distant and abstract position splits society. The designer of today and the future will continuously evolve

and need to connect practically to food sources and the natural environment.

Maaskant dialogue #4 Energy and space

The energy transition was viewed positively by Diederik Samsom, expert in the energy transition and former campaigner at Greenpeace, while Dirk Sijmons, multiple Maaskant Prize winner, took a skeptical view. The energy transition is not a task like an urban renewal plan or natural gas network, if only because there is no money or central steering power for it. Where is the visionary who dares to design not exclusively from human economic growth, but from a survival plan for the entire earth?

The dialogues were made possible by the Creative Industries Fund NL.

The Maaskant Dialogues #1

Arnold Reijndorp and Loïc Wacquant

Urban marginality
The Maaskant Dialogues #2

Adri Duivesteijn and Beitske Boonstra

Democratization of Architecture
The Maaskant Dialogues #3

Rem Koolhaas and Louise Fresco

The Maaskant Dialogues #4

Dirk Sijmons and Diederik Samsom

Energy and Space
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