Master in City & Technology 2020/21 – Term II
Workshop Name: Urban Ecology – The New Old: Envisioning the future of our past
Total Hours: 36 hours
Faculty: Winy Maas (Professor)Javier Arpa (Coordinator)Adrien Ravon (Teacher), Lex te Loo (Teacher Assistant)


During the New Old seminar, the MaCT students will research what constitutes heritage and how to deal with it.

Heritage is meant to embody the values and collective memory of a whole society. However, buildings, museums, or monuments, conceived as manifestations of national pride and glory increasingly confront us with a problematic past. These symbols tell stories of conquest, victory, and heroism, while simultaneously representing narratives of repression, racism or even genocide… Should we keep erecting monuments? Or can they adapt to new circumstances as social relations evolve? What makes a monument ‘a monument’ in different parts of the World?

But there is a lot more to heritage than the immovable cultural heritage, and, as time goes by, it will keep growing endlessly: from the movable heritage (paintings, sculptures, coins, manuscripts, data…), to the intangible heritage (oral traditions, performing arts, rituals) and the natural heritage (natural sites, cultural landscapes, physical or geological formations, biological hotspots…), etc.

How will we deal in the future with the past that has yet to come? What will be the new monuments?

In the meantime, cities strive to have entire districts included in the UNESCO World Heritage List with the hope of boosting income from the thriving tourist industry. To what extent do preservation regulations “freeze” the urban environment? How do heritage-hungry tourists impact the daily lives of local populations? Should we copy heritage and paste it in a new location so as to control mass tourism?

During this seminar we will respond to these and many more questions about ‘the old’ by means of analyzing heritage from a multitude of points of view, so as to be able to calculate and visualize what the future past will be.

The Why Factory

The Why Factory (T?F) is a global think-tank and research institute, run by MVRDV and Delft University of Technology and led by professor Winy Maas. It explores possibilities for the development of our cities by focusing on the production of models and visualizations for cities of the future.

Education and research of The Why Factory are combined in a research lab and platform that aims to analyze, theorize and construct future cities. The Why Factory investigates within the given world and produces future scenarios beyond it; from universal to specific and global to local. It proposes, constructs and envisions hypothetical societies and cities; from science to fiction and vice versa. The Why Factory thus acts as a future world scenario making machinery.

We want to engage in a public debate on architecture and urbanism. The Why Factory’s findings are therefore communicated to a broad public in a variety of ways, including exhibitions, publications, workshops, and panel discussions.

The work of The Why Factory has been exhibited at various events, such as the Business of Design Week, 2009, Hong Kong; Foodprint Manifestation, 2009, Den Haag; Imaginarium, 2010, Berlin; and Vertical Village, which has been shown in the Museum of Tomorrow, Taipei, 2011, at The Total Museum of Contemporary Art, Seoul, 2012 and Hamburg Museum, Hamburg, 2013, COAM Madrid, Madrid, 2016, Munich Architecture Gallery, Munich, 2017, Dutch Design Week, Eindhoven, 2017, Centre Pompidou, Paris 2018, Manifesta Biennale, Marseille 2018.

At the core of The Why Factory’s campaign is a series of books —the ‘Future Cities Series’—, which is being published in association with nai010 publishers in Rotterdam. In the ‘Future Cities Series’ the following books have been published: Visionary Cities (2009), Green Dream (2010), The Why Factor(y) (2010), The Vertical Village (2011), Hong Kong Fantasies (2011), City Shock (2012), World Wonders (2014) and Barba (2015), Absolute Leisure (2016), Copy Paste (2017), PoroCity (2018), Tower of Choice (2019). Upcoming publications are, (w)ego, Green Dip, BiodiverCity, 4 Minute City, and Planet Maker.