Organised by DIVERCITIES researchers Tuna Tasan-Kok and Sara Ozogul, the Creating Meaningful Encounters in Cities of Diversity lab took place at Pakhuis de Zwijger in Amsterdam this week. The key question asked was how do we create meaningful encounters in the city?
Following an introduction by Tuna and Sara, the floor was given over to five speakers who participated in an organised walk in Amsterdam East a week earlier, where they discussed the factors that contribute to encounters which bring diverse people together and provide them with new ways of relating beyond presumptions and stereotypes. In their presentations, the participants shared their personal views and experiences on the topic. First up was Mellouki Cadat, an active citizen working at Movisie, who discussed community engagement in the Indische Buurt in Amsterdam’s east. Ron van Wonderen of the Verwey-Jonker Instituut was next and he spoke about the do’s and don’ts of neighbourhood planning. Anna Dekker of Placemakers followed who spoke about bringing community together though an inclusive camping in the city initiative. Jasper Boesveldt, who works at the Municipality of Amsterdam, got everyone up off their seats encouraging us to interact with neighbour and to find out about each others’ recent meaningful encounters. The final presentation came from Nanke Verloo from the University of Amsterdam who shared a street-level tale from Utrecht.
All five speakers provided food for thought, and judging by the questions that followed from the audience, struck a nerve which saw the session go overtime. A sure sign of success.
Tuna provided short summary of proceedings hinting at the future aims of the project, which is to bring together a diverse range of disciplines and viewpoints, from local initiatives through to government and police, and designers, artists and architects, in an effort to explore new ways to create more cohesive cities.