Architecture of Peace

Two-day conference, 3 and 4 May 2010, auditorium Netherlands Architecture Institute, Rotterdam. With Jolyon Leslie, Kai Vöckler, Sultan Barakat, a.o. Time: 9.30 am-5 pm (Mon), 10.00 am-5 pm (Tue). Language: English. Click here for the full program of the conference. Please scroll down for details regarding reservation.

Architecture of Peace is an international long-term research and action project in which a large number of stakeholders are involved. The project will consist of local case studies, interventions, university research studios, debates, publications and exhibitions. The public kick-off of the programme will be a two-day conference in Rotterdam, The Netherlands on the 3rd and 4th of May, 2010. Participants include architects, urbanists and professionals from the fields of development studies, sociology and conflict studies.

‘Schoolyard’ (Aernout Mik, 2009)

Cities in the post-conflict rebuilding phase have recurrent, comparable problems. Political power vacuums at the national level and the absence of civil self-monitoring generate uncontrolled forces which seriously damage the cities’ chances for recovery. For this reason it is necessary to scrutinize the aid and planning strategies we have used and intensify the search for possible alternatives. We call upon all those working in the field of politics, aid, architecture, and community work and development cooperation to share their knowledge and experience and rethink how to rebuild the community by a smart reconstruction of the city. The integral approach will provide innovative insights to create new tools and methods to approach reconstruction. The outcome will be an inventory of case studies and good practices as well as an inventory of clear themes for further research and proposed partners to conduct that research. These themes are not only relevant for post-war areas, but also for conflict situations within societies in transformation.

Reconstruction is a highly political process in which every step that is seen to favour one side over another can ignite new violence. Unbalanced reconstruction can create new inequalities, which would lead to new grievances. How then can reconstruction also be an instrument of peace? This project concentrates mainly on the second phase out of the three phases of reconstruction that can be distinguished:

  • In the first phase, provisional shelter and other forms of temporary construction dominate, from make shift refugee camps to large-scale relief infrastructure. The military still plays a large role.
  • In the second phase, people try to resume everyday life. There is no real coordination yet, and the lack of control and process often leads to ethnic enclaves, gated communities, illegal settlements, and urban sprawl. It is in this phase that structures get shape which later on, when regulatory institutions start to function, constrain interventions. It is especially in this phase that rebuilding takes place in a form that, later on gives rise to new conflicts. But this phase could also offer a window of opportunity to advocate positive interaction and reduce the chance of a resumption of conflict.
  • In the third phase, institutions have been created that start a more coordinated process, in which space is allocated, property titles are acknowledged, and longer-term infrastructure development is planned. This phase resembles more closely the normal processes of city planning, in which outcomes are negotiated between different groups and authorities, and less the result of spontaneous actions of inhabitants.

The first lecture day of the conference is open to all. Click here to register.
The second workshop day is limited to a group of 50 people. If you wish to join the workshop please sent an email indicating your specific interest to before Wednesday April 23 and we’ll get back to you before Monday April 26. The conference will be free of charge.


Al Manakh Visualization 1: One Year of Research