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22 October 2020

Cultural Brokerage

How can culture, heritage values, art interventions and the experience of art be used to conquer the new space and to connect with the existing neighborhoods?

The Design Sciences Hub conducts academic research on processes of territorial and cultural appropriation of places in transition. Culture emerges in what is and was, but continuously breeds something new. We seize the scale and duration of major construction works as opportunities to initiate processes of (cultural) appropriation, to generate local benefits and to achieve sustained consent, as opposed to being perceived as an impeding construction site. The challenges in covering the Antwerp beltway lie in approaching the ‘great connection’ not only from an infrastructural dimension, but also from a socio-cultural one. The Design Sciences Hub supports the contracting authority with a catalogue of international best practices deploying culture as a broker in places in transition. The inventory is strategic and targeted to the context of a long-term site in view of defusing potential conflicts between building and urban life, of sustainably appropriating transforming urban landscapes and of initiating novel cultural identities. Accordingly, local initiatives and actors in the Antwerp context, too, are mapped along with the affected neighbourhoods.