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Cosmopolis Lunch Seminar with Griet Juwet (PhD Researcher Cosmopolis)

11 May 2017 , 16 March 2017, Department of Geography, room F4.66, 12.00 -13.00

The spatially structuring potential of new energy infrastructures in the Flemish nebular city – an exploration of ‘obduracy’ and a typology of energy projects

The Flemish energy system is embedded in a condition of dispersed urbanization, that is increasingly considered to be fundamentally unsustainable. This research develops an urban design approach for the energy transition, taking as a hypothesis that it is an opportunity to rethink the spatial structure of the nebular city. It explores the relation between the spatial logics of new energy systems and their impact on territorial structures, urban morphologies or public spaces. This approach ties in with the recent interest of design disciplines in ‘urban metabolism’ and ‘designing with flows’, and also draws from transition theory. It builds upon design history and theory about the structuring role of networks in the development of the dispersed Flemish territory, and engages with local energy and transition practices often developed without spatial designers’ involvement.

The more theoretical part of the presentation will zoom in on different conceptualizations of ‘obduracy’ in STS, transition studies and urban design theory. A more empirical part will look at a typology of energy projects in Flanders, developed as a first method of understanding the spatial logics and questions emerging in ongoing projects dealing with diverse aspects of the energy system.


Griet graduated as a Master in engineering - architecture at UGent in 2012 and obtained a Masters in Urbanism and Strategic Planning at KULeuven in 2014. In her thesis she explored a spatial vision for the post-goldmining landscape of Johannesburg during an international exchange with WITS University. After practicing for 2 years in an office for urban and territorial strategies, she is now conducting a PhD research at Cosmopolis with Michael Ryckewaert and Fabio Vanin. As an urban designer, she is interested in the role of spatial professionals in the transition towards more sustainable spatial and societal systems.