Still City

The Still City Project investigates how we can move beyond the driving forces of our modern industrialized world; infinite economic growth, urban growth, technologic progress and population growth. The project is a search for the ‘Still City’: an urban culture that is not based on growth but on dynamics that are inclusive and sustainable. The ambition of the project is to find and make the images and stories we need to construct a post-growth urban society.

Read our essay: New Horizons and Still Cities

Tokyo Totem, A Guide to Tokyo

Tokyo Totem, A Guide to Tokyo

6:30 PM, 30 October 2015 the release of a unique book on Tokyo will be celebrated with a party and exhibition at the UltraSuperNew Gallery in Harajuku, Tokyo. This publication is the result of a collaboration between international and Japanese authors and makers from various disciplines, ranging from art to social science and from urban studies to design. What they have in common is their interest and fascination with cities, and in particular Tokyo’s urban culture. This eclectic group grew from an international urban research and exploration workshop on Tokyo organised by Amsterdam-based studio Monnik and hosted by Tokyo’s SHIBAURA HOUSE exactly 3 years ago, on 30 October 2012. Everybody’s efforts resulted in the essay’s, maps, photo essay’s, collage’s, poem’s, manga’s, illustrations and observation’s that have been collected in this book that is hard to categorize. It is called a guide, not because it helps you to find places to […]

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The Romantic City – A Reading

The Romantic City – A Reading

Yesterday, I read this text as part of a duo presentation I did with my fellow monnik Edwin Gardner for a group of architectural students from Belgrade. Also attending the meeting at NDSM were Eva de Klerk, Sascha Glassl, Roel Van Herpt and Michiel van Iersel.     The Romantic City On Dreams It is a beautiful dream: A modern craftsmen, intensely focused and creative, negotiating between materials and imagination, aided in his skills by both high-tech and low-tech, and governed by peer-to-peer guilds, creative commons and contemporary master apprentice systems. But when one wakes up, one realizes, that in our current understanding of economic behavior it is just a dream – unattainable and perhaps even a bit silly. I’m now thinking of a skilled carpenter, a master manipulator of wood, far past his ten thousand hours of required practice. His ambition is to make diner tables of locally produced urban wood. But, […]

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Luchtsingel

Hack de Stad!

Hoe hackers en een nieuwe generatie architecten ons een maakbaarheidsideaal aanreiken voor de uitgebouwde stad. Lees het essay Het essay werd ‘Hack de stad!’ werd geschreven in het kader van het project de Vuurlinie en het onderzoeksproject Het Werklokaal dat Monnik onderneemt in samenwerking met Bureau Europa. Hier mee is dit essay een vervolg op het Engelstalige essay “Tea, Earl Grey, Hot“. In Het Werklokaal onderzoekt Monnik hoe we de wereld begrijpen door ons werk en hoe werk ons in staat stelt ons thuis te voelen in de wereld.

A Romantic Idol

A Romantic Idol

This weekend we explored Lelystad (Netherlands) in advance of a comparative study to new towns Marl (Germany), Lelystad (Holland) and Louvain-la-Neuve (Belgian). (Before I put the next idea on paper I must say that I had a great time exploring Lelystad! These feelings and ideas come from a good place.) After four days of suburban garden city exploration I wanted to create a destroyer – an installation that will work as a Idol for gut-feeling, subjectivity and humility in the face of nature. An idol that will remind the inhabitants of Marl, Lelystad and Louvain la Neuve that they are not defined by those who build the city, and who’s ideas loom over the city like a black moon in a clear sky. In my mind this installation, this idol, will stamp their earth, burn their minds and flood their homes. And they will love it! A young city will need a young heart in the […]

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Master – Apprentice

Master – Apprentice

In an interesting move Dutch minister Bussemaker recently announced the expansion of the master-apprentice system in MBO (middle level professional education) education. This system, which according to her, resembles the old guild system, is now in place for o.a. goldsmiths, pastry chefs andchimney sweeps and will be extended to include many contemporary professions. Because it still remains middle level education the title of master will not be an equivalent to the university titles of master of science or master of arts, which is a shame and a missed change. It would make more sense if these two types of master titles will be equalized, giving manual skills the same social status as abstract skills. Perhaps this will also boost the self-esteem of students enrolled in low and middle level professional schools, which are significantly lower compared to their peers who are prepared to enter university.

Scenario Machine Report

Scenario Machine Report

Afgelopen 4 Februari organiseerde we samen met Bureau Europa de Still City Scenario Machine Expert Meeting. Op de agenda stond een gezamenlijk verkenning van hoe het Groei paradigma zich in onze maatschappij manifesteert. Hoe aan deze groei vandaag een drie-tal grenzen zijn te definiëren. Namelijk: Milieu, Limits to Growth – Club of Rome; Demografie, de Demographic-Economic Paradox; en Technologie, zoals omschreven in het recente boek The Second Machine Age. Geconfronteerd met deze intrinsieke en externe grenzen aan de groei werden er vier scenario elementen voor de Still City, een stedelijk cultuur niet gebaseerd op groei, gepresenteerd. 1) Het Basisinkomen 2) een Master of Craft 3) het Netwerk en 4) de Gift economie. Een korte bondig uiteenzetting van de analyse, de drie grenzen en de vier scenario’s zijn hier kort uiteengezet. In de Open Coöp te Amsterdam Noord ontvingen we onze gasten met expertises geworteld in verschillende disciplines. Aanwezig waren: Anoek Nuyens, […]

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Still City Scenario Machine Expert Meeting

Still City Scenario Machine Expert Meeting

4 Februari organiseert Monnik ondersteund door Bureau Europa en de Open Coöp een besloten expertmeeting waarin we samen met een aantal experts een reeks Still City scenario’s gaan onderzoeken. Deze scenario machine volgt drie stappen van nu, de status quo van het groei paradigma. Stap twee, het aanstaande, de begrenzingen van groei die steeds meer evident worden. En tot slot stap 3, perspectieven, een aantal Still City scenario’s.  NU HET GROEI PARADIGMA De abstraherende en fragmenterende kwaliteiten van groei. Het groei paradigma bracht ons veel goeds. Gezondere en langere levens, langere perioden van vrede en stabiliteit, sociale vangnetten, toegang tot onderwijs, wetenschap en technologische vooruitgang. Het groei paradigma is de gevoelde noodzaak tot, en de verwevenheid van, stedelijke verdichting, demografische groei, technologische en wetenschappelijke innovatie, en economische groei. Om te groeien moeten sociale en ruimtelijke processen zo efficiënt mogelijk worden gemaakt, zodat almaar meer met steeds minder wordt gemaakt. Deze logica […]

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Growth = War

Growth = War

  The growth economy is really a war economy. This is what I recently learnt when reading Rutger Bregman‘s piece (NL) on de Correspondent “Leugens, grove leugens en het bbp“. Bregman writes that: “According to some historians the invention of the GDP has been more important than the invention of the atom bomb. The GDP turned out to be an amazing measure of the strength of a war economy” Bregman goes on to explain that during WWII it was of strategic importance to the war effort to have good statistics about how productive the economy was, since the country which could send more tanks, planes and bombs into battle would win the war. Also when the future of a nation and millions of lives are at stake one needs to do everything one possibly can to win. It is fine to borrow from the future, to plunge into debt, to […]

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Stillness Matrix

Stillness Matrix

Thinking about the idea of the Still City, I came upon an idea for a matrix that might help in asking the question; what is Stillness? How does Stillness for instance relate to notions such as progress, regress, shrinkage, or growth? I wondered if these notions could be ordered on certain axes, inside a certain matrix. I draw the above matrix with three distinct axes: Growth-Shrink, Complex-Simple and Progress-Regress. Then I wondered if Stillness could be found somewhere in the center of this matrix. While making it, it struck me how hard it is to find the words for ‘in the middle’, or somewhere else on the axis that is not the end. It is off course well know that we have a tendency to think binary: good-bad, light-dark. And that we never talk much about the everyday, the normal, the middle, but only about what deviates. We can though talk […]

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Power to the People

Power to the People

As part of our research for the Still City Project we are diving into the cooperative economy in collaboration with Amsterdam Energie, and the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (Hogeschool van Amsterdam, HVA). Power to the People is a joint ‘action = analysis’ research project that investigates the cooperative business model. A model that might be more crisis-resilient, more invested in the local community, and could provides a viable alternative to the corporation. The duration of the project is from March till July 2013. (The title is a reference to the excellent and hopeful TV reportage on VPRO Backlight by Sabine Lubbe Bakker.)   During the project four students (BA) Culturele Maatschappelijke Vorming (CMV) will become involved with Amsterdam Energie to learn more about their current practices and possible future ones. Their challenge is threefold: 1. Increase our knowledge on the recent trend in cooperative enterpreneurship and community empowerment. What are the ideas, ideologies, incentives and motives of the initiators, […]

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