Designing post-carbon Dunkirk with the students from TU Delft

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


Design matters. Historically, architects and urbanists have created the spaces of oil and the imagination that goes with it. Today, the same professionals can foster more critical thinking, dreaming and curiosity as they imagine and design the necessary new spaces, forms of urbanity, buildings, and transitions for a period ‘beyond oil’. Educational institutions have an important role to play in developing new ideas. Our built environment has been shaped by and for the flow of oil and its products, and by and for its financial flow as well. The resulting global petroleumscape (which we explored in The Beam #4) of industrial sites, transportation infrastructure, business districts, gasoline stations, cars, refineries and ports, is the manifestation of the omnipresence of oil and our dependency on it. In addition to supplying oil, the petrochemical and building industry collectively developed a huge range of new synthetic and hybrid materials and building elements: from plastic bathroom units to electric cable insulation, from insulation material to plastic windows, from furniture to domestic appliances and toys. These materials and products enthused designers and users alike and have since become standard. The (positive) feedback loop between the global petroleumscape and the way in which it has been represented has influenced the minds of citizens in their everyday life.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Beam
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • post-oil
  • education
  • architecture
  • urbanism
  • TU Delft


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