The Next Economy

The Next Economy. Foto: Hans Tak
The Next Economy. Foto: Hans Tak
    • from April 23 to July 10, 2016
    • Fenixloods II, Katendrecht
    • Veerlaan 21B, Rotterdam

In the main exhibition of IABR 2016: Next Economy more than 60 projects were on show, some the result of research by design in IABR–Ateliers, some gathered through an international Open Call, and some produced especially for the Biennale in collaboration with national and international partners.

Projects from all over the world explored new combinations of living and working, alternative production chains and a smarter balance between the formal and informal city, harnessing ‘smart’ technology for a socially inclusive agenda. From radical scenarios for the energy transition to examples of experimental, collaborative area development, and from mega-projects on the North Sea and in Africa to local initiatives in South America, China, and Rotterdam.

    • Credits

The exhibition Next Economy consisted of a wide range of projects that came about in different ways. One part comprised the results of three IABR–Ateliers in the Netherlands – in Groningen, Utrecht, and Rotterdam – and two abroad – in Brussels and Albania. They identified three major urban challenges: the energy transition, and the creation of healthy, inclusive, and productive cities. These themes were also the focus of the international Call for Projects. From nearly 300 submissions, the curatorial team selected 23 best practices that offer possible and realistic solutions and practices that explore the path to the Next Economy.

Photo: Nina Felius
Photo: Nina Felius
Photo: Hans Tak
Installation 2050 - An Energetic Odyssey. Photo: Hans Tak

Chief curator Maarten Hajer and IABR-2014 curator Dirk Sijmons co-directed a short-term Atelier that explored the possibilities for and implications of large-scale wind energy production in the North Sea. This research was also presented in the exhibition.

South Africans Edgar Pieterse, Mark Swilling, and Tau Tavengwa were asked to select a range of projects that offered perspectives on the urbanization process in Africa and the challenges facing the African city in terms of the energy transition and the creation of healthy, inclusive, and productive cities. Yang Lei of the China Building Centre selected projects demonstrating the commitment of Chinese designers notwithstanding the harsh real estate economy of the Chinese city.

Photo: Dorine Baars

The city of São Paulo, the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment, the Port of Rotterdam, and the Board of Government Advisors also developed projects especially for the 7th edition of the IABR.

The 2016 Biennale was not only an exhibition, but also a workshop. For more than ten weeks, the exhibition space functioned as a platform for What's Next?, an ongoing program of debates and exchanges, conferences, lectures, and workshops and an open space with room for reflection, exploration, and imagination. The 7th edition of the IABR was an invitation to everyone to actively participate in thinking and talking about, and working on, the future of the city.