As a starting point of the program, we traveled around the Hague, the city we are located in. Guided by Peter Zuiderwijk, a graphic designer based in the Hague, we had a long but amazing, (little bit biased) trip. As the Hague is the seat of the Dutch government and Dutch Kingdom, all foreign embassies and international organizations, our trip was focused on how such invisible power structure shapes and sustains the city in a certain way. Here are some photos and brief stories from the trip.
[A tree pot or a block?]
Above is a tree pot Peter pointed out as an example of invisible control over the city: they are not only for beautifying but more for blocking certain streets and paths in case of major events like a Queen's march. A bunker for ministers in case of war can be another example, a place turned out to be next to a Korean restaurant I knew.
We also looked at some results of marketing or image-making of the city, how it doesn't correspond to the city's existing conditions and qualities, such as the visual "identity" of the Hague, or un-public empty Spuiplein. On the other hand, as in most of contemporary cities, it's not only bureaucratic decisions but also commercialization process that shape a urban landscape more detached from its inhabitants. We saw an example in Scheveningen, a district of the Hague by the sea, where you are forced to pass by shopping malls in order to get to the seaside. It doesn't end there, its beach is filled with "exotic" resort-style cafes and restaurants with many Buddas.