In October 2021, artist Esmee Geerken, together with Jeugdland and Waag developed a 2-day workshop for young kids in the age of 8 - 11. During the workshop, the participants undertook a variety of field explorations, observations, drawings sessions, foraging exercises, lectures, conversations and imagination sessions where they were invited to consider what their ‘house’ of the future and the ‘Science Park’ would look like, taking inspiration from the practices of earth scientist and artist Esmee Geerken, zoo-designer Thijs de Zeeuw and a local beekeeper and beehive builder. The workshop ended up with the building of several animal/life-inspired enclosures and constructions in the outdoors of Amsterdam Science Park.
The activity demonstrated that young kids are not only able to consider the meanwhile and urban ecology as a conceptual framework, but also to think constructively about city making and urban development plans and its relevance to their future. The design thinking and imaginative exercises allowed them to consider the 'issue' of rethinking the role of public space effectively and made clear that younger generations can and should be included in city-making efforts, given that they are addressed as equal within the context of their personal future and living environment.
The activity took place at various locations at the Amsterdam Science Park. This was the first time that a prompt use was granted by the project bureau of the Amsterdam Science Park. While permission was granted, the fact that the location was so close to the inhabitants made the artist feel somehow 'an intruder' and questions were raised by passers-by about the approval of these acts. Other than that, the location was rather remote with limited traffic of 'natural' visitors, and less connection to the more science-oriented facilities on sights. A location more in the public eye would have helped with the strategic positioning of the Urban Ecology Pilot.
- Wild and cultivated spaces