Ostend, Belgium

This urban design studio concentrates on the redevelopment of the port area of Ostend which is situated on the last bank of the inland canal, opposite the densely built-up town of fifty-thousand inhabitants on the north sea in Belgium. The area is barely used: residual and port activities, a large fish market, some small industrial and incidental dwellings only occupy a small part of it. The overall aspect is one of emptiness. Informality prevails while seagulls and dunes mark a distance and a sphere of isolation that contrasts with the existing city on the other shore.Future expansion of the city, however, will most probably take place on the east bank. Such redevelopment requires a revision of the different barriers (harbor, railroad, road system) that now separate the counterparts. The studio addresses a number of strategic questions connected to maintaining specificity and difference, while seeking for adequate connections and integration of the water surfaces as a central item of the city form.Pedagogic Objectives: Close analysis of existing site in relation to global city form. Design of a development strategy relying on subsequent self-sufficient (and potentially final) stages. Study and design of new potential connections. Urban design as a global strategy of investigation: defining the programmatic issues on the basis of what the site can sustain.Prerequisites:At least one studio experience on the analysis/design of a larger urban redevelopment area.