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Designers in Residence Kortrijk at WONDER

Since 2014, Designregio Kortrijk invites recently graduated designers from various creative disciplines for the Designers in Residence Kortrijk programme. The Designers in Residence 2021 are asked to redefine the relationship and meaning of City/Nature, based on an engagement with and interpretation of the city of Kortrijk and its wider region. Can we shape this relationship as a co-existence? Can it contribute to dealing with a number of urban crises and challenges? Which interventions and projects result from this interpretation?

The city and nature are very often presented as opposites. The City and Nature are, as it were, mutually exclusive. Throughout Western history we have seen how Nature only appears in the absence of the City, both in the Garden of Eden and in the dark, grim woods. In an age of far-reaching globalisation and urbanisation, this cannot but lead to the end of Nature. Various authors have already pointed to the need for a different relationship between city and nature, a need for co-existence. It is from this necessity that we, together with Designregion Kortrijk, put The Future of Urban Nature on the table as a theme for the Designers in Residence edition 2021.

Surprisingly enough, we find a high percentage of open space in the city centre of Kortrijk. Compared to typical big cities, a considerable part of the inner city appears to be undeveloped. Earlier projects such as the Secret Gardens (2009) already demonstrated that this open space is a valuable, and even unique, asset for Kortrijk. By connecting the already existing open space, a network of green spaces could be created, giving a completely different meaning to Nature in the City.