Academic Workshop Soil

An experimental, interdisciplinary space and series of events to explore innovative approaches to urban soil.

The field of urban planning and the design of public space is fundamentally changing. The transition challenges relating to climate, energy, water, materials, mobility and digitization have far-reaching spatial consequences in the public space, especially in the soil. New cables and pipelines must be laid on a large scale for the energy transition, among other things, while existing networks (from sewerage to electricity) are due for large-scale maintenance.

At the same time, a 'green infrastructure' of trees, plants and wadis is becoming increasingly important for climate adaptation and biodiversity. The (hidden) soil life forms the basis for all flora, fauna and funga, and also has a major influence on the water buffering capacity. The soil also connects us to our food, ecosystems and the earth itself. Everything comes together in the bottom! Yet too little thought is given to the soil in urban design. The lack of both physical space in the subsoil and knowledge about soil and soil life threatens to become a major bottleneck in the transition of our city.

Due to the success of the Integral Design Method for Public Space and the publication BiodiverCITY_A matter of vital soil! the BiodiverCITY team (municipality of Amsterdam, in collaboration with Naturalis and NIOO-KNAW) continues: At the invitation of the Chief Science Office, the Academic Workplace Soil (AWB) is set up as an interdisciplinary lab and workshop for professionals to gain new insights and research questions about soil to come.

The AWB is looking for an innovative approach to the soil in which integrality, interdisciplinarity and future-proofing are central. The unknown and the invisible must come on the table to broaden and enrich the soil approach. As a first activity, the AWB is organizing a lecture series with the overarching question: How does it all come together in the soil of the public spaces, now and in the future? To avoid limiting the conversation to sectoral discussions, four themes have been chosen that cross professional, official and spatial boundaries: Time, Scale, Depth and Interaction.

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