- Back and forth: Planning, identity and the cultural meaning of ancient, old and new infrastructure    click here to open paper content330 kb
by    Lengkeek, Arie | a.lengkeek@gideonconsult.nl   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
How can cultural history be made part of a planning process which aims at creating meaningful places of identity in a global world? This paper examines three fundamentally different infrastructural projects and seeks how these infrastructures can be made bearers of public space and collective identity through the representations they form or generate.
The new geography of the network-society is shaped in a constant oscillation between function and the construction of meaning and identity. But as a consequence of the globalization of culture, the attitude towards a local culture based on local cultural heritage and history is ambivalent. Local culture becomes a post-modernized patchwork of cultural influences, which homogenize around the world into a collage of styles and forms. The local cultural heritage that is present is commodified, made easily accessible and interpretable for the sake of the tourist’s gaze, and as such becomes a stylized icon of itself. Identity is a concept that turns out to be static and regressive. Therefore it is more fruitful to talk of representations, as intermediaries between the part and the whole, the global and the local, the past and the present.
There can be great gains in associating new spatial developments with these representations, which are formed by the cultural dimension of spatial processes. Especially when public space is assessed on a large scale new perspectives emerge. Infrastructure can be identified as one of the bearers of public space in the network-society.
In the paper I want to examine how this is working out in three major Dutch projects on the cutting edge of culture and cultural history, spatial development and the search for a recognizable identity. Limes (1) is a project which examines the possibilities of the former north-western border of the Roman Empire, which is now invisible but structured the development of the surrounding area as an urban network avant la lettre for centuries. The Nieuwe Hollandse Waterlinie (2) is a still partly visible 85-kilometre long major defensive line of canals, sluices, fortifications and bunkers built in the 19th century to ward off potential invaders by inundating the surrounding land. It has been taken integrally as a design- and planning task, to structure new developments and fit in new functions. The HSL (3) is the already partly visible Dutch part of the European network of High Speed Trains. An added programme, AtelierHSL, should accommodate the generation of art related to the HSL. Curiously, the more fundamental choices that have been made regarding its route and physical design seem to ignore the potential cultural meaning of this new infrastructure. The Case study identifies 3 types of representation, resulting in possibilities and starting-points for the construction of identity.
'cultural history' 'new development'
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