The City of Social Ecology


Abundance (overvloed in Dutch) may require effort, it is a correlation. A tree bursting full of cherries that are not picked, from human perspective, can be in vain, it might be different from other species’s perception. Abundance can be long or short-term. Using pesticides to stimulate abundant harvest may be short sighted and ultimately harmful for humans and other species. Depleted resources were once in abundance, assigning it’s temporality. In times of Scarcity, abundance becomes questionable.

‘A central aspect of pleasure activism is tapping into the natural abundance that exists within and between us, and between our species and this planet.’ From the book ‘pleasure activism’

Noun: abundance (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. a very large quantity of something. the state or condition of having a copious quantity of something; plentifulness. plentifulness of the good things of life; prosperity. the quantity or amount of something, e.g., an animal or plant species, present in a particular area, volume, sample, etc.

    Linked to abound (v.) "be in great plenty," early 14c., from Old French abonder "to abound, be abundant, come together in great numbers" (12c.), from Latin abundare "overflow, run over," from Latin ab "off, away from" (see ab-) + undare "rise in a wave," from unda "a wave," from PIE *unda-, nasalized form of root *wed- (1) "water; wet".


Where do we feel welcome in the city? Benches are disappearing from public space. And if they remain, I is designed so that nobody can lay, sleep or skate on the bench. In Amsterdam, accessibility for disabled persons is frequently present in the public sphere.

Physical, mental or legal capacity play a fundamental rol on our access places and spaces in the public sphere. This capacity may lead to either inclusion or exclusion.


In order to survive in extreme climate conditions all species need adaptive capacities. On harsher and hostile territories adaptation becomes a larger, communal and multi-species effort in order to survive. Climate urgency also leads to migrations. Migrant species (human and more than human) test and adapt to local climatic or nature-culture conditions, which may lead to FRICTION. Cultural adaptation is a source of debate between left and right. Adaptation of cultural behavior has local and ‘global’ layers. Adaptability is the capacity to adapt.

Intentional adaptation: a change in a plant or animal that makes it better able to live in a particular place or situation; the process of changing to fit some purpose or situation: the process of adapting intention: the thing that you plan to do or achieve: an aim or purpose. (Brown, 2017)

Noun: Adaptation ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. adjustment to environmental conditions such as:

    a: adjustment of a sense organ to the intensity or quality of stimulation

    b: modification of an organism or its parts that makes it more fit for existence under the conditions of its environment: a heritable physical or behavioral trait that serves a specific function and improves an organism's fitness or survival.


Safekeeping vacant buildings by offering them as temporary living or studio spaces. This most often applies to larger spaces: vacant offices and other buildings of ‘interest’ for the proprietor. Providing temporary opportunity, even luxury to those who otherwise can't afford it, but ultimately it is a mechanism of control for perpetuating the capital-driven growth of cities with increasing disparity in both income and quality of life.


Capacity to be able to focus on one topic, space, or species. In the fast pace of distracted urbanity, attention may become a luxury. Attention is the capacity to be nourished.

Noun: attention ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. the process whereby a person concentrates on some features of the environment to the (relative) exclusion of others
  2. the faculty or power of mental concentration
  3. a general interest that leads people to want to know more
  4. a courteous act indicating affection
  5. the work of providing treatment for or attending to someone or something
  6. late 14c., "a giving heed, active direction of the mind upon some object or topic," from Old French attencion and directly from Latin attentionem (nominative attentio) "attention, attentiveness."


Physical, mechanical, or mental disruption or collapse. A breakdown is finite. Can be used as a tool to facilitate rebuilding or refitting. Sometimes breakdown is necessary and welcomed, other times it feels catastrophic. There is no need to romanticize breakdown.

The worlds of breakdown, maintenance, and repair are rendered invisible (never recognized, nor celebrated). Always marginal in the Western imagination. Breakdown is the means by which societies learn to reproduce because the repair of broken systems always involves elements of adaptation and improvisation.  (Shannon Mattern)

The open reputation and ‘gastvrijheid’ of the city breaks down when (some) people encounter ‘others’ with suspicion and microaggressions. Does space for care and repair for this exist yet in any city? Mental breakdown frequents dense urban areas.

Noun: breakdown (, 2022)

  1. the act of disrupting an established order so it fails to continue. A cessation of normal operation.

    Linked to break (v.) Old English brecan "to divide solid matter violently into parts or fragments; to injure, violate (a promise, etc.), destroy, curtail; to break into, rush into; to burst forth, spring out; to subdue, tame"


Care is the act of tending relations with others, human and non-human. It is permanently active and involves energy and commitment. Care can be mutual, but it is not necessarily so.

Go beyond a view of humans as autonomous individuals, whose everyday actions exist outside ecological consequences, and into an emergent world based on intimate human-more-than-human relations of responsibility and care.

Joan Tronto and Berenice Fisher define care as "everything that we do to maintain, continue, and repair 'our world' so that we can live in it as well as possible. That world includes ourselves, our bodies, and our environment, all of which we seek to interweave in a complex, life sustaining web. (Held, 2006)

Noun: care (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. the provision of what is necessary for the health, welfare, maintenance, and protection of someone or something.
  2. serious attention or consideration applied to doing something correctly or to avoid damage or risk.

Verb: care

  1. feel concern or interest; attach importance to something. feel affection or liking.
  2. look after and provide for the needs of.

OriginThe ethics of care builds relations of care and concern and mutual responsiveness to need on both the personal and wider social levels. (Held, 2005)

Care is always active. Care involves work and the energy from the one doing the caring.


Climate is present beyond the scale of the individual, felt on all scales (individual, collective), characterized by mutating ecosystems and habitats, and a reduced capacity of survival across multiple species.

Mitigation of climate becomes more and more present in the public sphere. The municipality provides a list of mitigating points to follow. Some of those, like green roofs aiming to reduce heat stress, can turn into bureaucratic greenwashing, resulting in impoverished monocultures that can have a negative impact on local biodiversity. Interesting looking (non-native) trees growing on high rise balconies follow a similar trend.


Urban condition thrives from diverging positions and indirectly benefits from the energy of conflict. When conflict grows out of hand it may cause a BREAKDOWN. Conflicting or opposite is not necessarily negative. The capacity to negotiate conflict is an urban and territorial capacity.

Noun: conflict ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. competitive or opposing action of incompatibles: antagonistic state or action (as of divergent ideas, interests, or persons)
  2. mental struggle resulting from incompatible or opposing needs, drives, wishes, or external or internal demands

    Origin: late Middle English: from Latin conflict- ‘struck together, fought’, from the verb confligere, from con- ‘together’ + fligere ‘to strike’; the noun is via Latin conflictus ‘a contest’.  


To establish relations in-between spaces, and species. In urban planning, connections weave the existing and the past with the contemporary and future urban layers. Connecting communities and species with one another follows the same logic of urban planning, yet can introduce challenges.To be able to connect one requires openness, CURIOSITY, trust and the capacity to let go.

Verb: connect ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. bring together or into contact so that a real or notional link is established. join together so as to provide access and communication. form a relationship or feel an affinity.

    Linked to: connectivity (noun) the state or extent of being connected or interconnected.

    Linked to: interconnectedness (adj) mutually joined or related.

    Word functioning as an antidote to fractured or splintering. Forging and enhancing linkages and networks. Socio Ecological connectivity in cities.

Connectivity thinking rejects hierarchical binary structures that place humans outside the ecologies they inhabit. In expanded connectivity, we can move beyond considerations of a separate subordinate nature to consider living ethical engagements within a dynamic nature. (Houston, Hillier, MacCallum, Steele, & Byrne, 2018).

Connectivity thinking highlights the politics, spaces, and ethics of encounters.


Frequently visible as the sign of ‘progress’ and power of the neoliberal city. A regulated area with its own rules, fenced off from the rest of the city. Construction sites are everywhere around the hotspot areas of the city of Amsterdam like Zuidas, Centrumeiland and Amstel. The profile of cranes set against the sky. Cranes define the construction site. From a distance they are elegant structures, with a sole person's capsule in the sky. Sites projected from the imagination of the designer/builder to become a part of the city’s social ecology in the future. Pure speculation.

Children could play with the sand and bricks around the construction sites, as those are areas beyond regular jurisdiction. Urban explorers sometimes trespass to visit otherwise inaccessible urban heights. The construction site is a playground.


Cultivate territorial or cultural practice. Cultivating, tending, relates species and inhabitants to the soil and its territory. Cultivation can extend to tending habits. ‘Tending the ground’ of the city includes social relations. Cultivation requires attention, care, and commitment. Cultivation can be seen as emerging from the first food forests. Cultivation relates with culture.

Cultivate - Working the ground to create an understanding of how things can grow and flourish. A space where everyone can give form to their own identity, can contribute, or demonstrate something to an area.

Verb: Cultivate ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. to prepare or prepare and use for the raising of crops. to loosen or break up the soil.
  2. To foster the growth of. To improve by labor, care, and study.
  3. try to acquire or develop (a quality, sentiment, or skill).


The essence of life. The fun part about living.

Noun: curiosity ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. desire to know
  2. archaic : undue nicety or fastidiousness
  3. one that arouses interest especially for uncommon or exotic characteristic


Social definition of a person's financial contribution to the city. Working people pay taxes. This term challenges various kinds of unpaid labor, like domestic and precarious labor.

They say it is love. We say it is unwaged work. They call it frigidity. We call it absenteeism. Every miscarriage is a work accident. Homosexuality and heterosexuality are both working conditions. . . but homosexuality is workers’ control of production, not the end of work. Neuroses, suicides, desexualization: occupational diseases of the housewife. (Silvia Federici)

Many times the difficulties and ambiguities which women express in discussing wages for housework stem from the fact that they reduce wages for housework to a thing, a lump of money, instead of viewing it as a political perspective. (Silvia Federici)


Too much, either of matter or substance. Excessive behavior frequently creates friction and rarely connects with the territory. Excess threatens to drown out more marginal voices, actions and actors. Lacking awareness and respect for others in ways that minimize the ability to connect.

Part of the reason so few of us have a healthy relationship with pleasure is because a small minority of our species hoards the excess of resources, creating a false scarcity and then trying to sell us joy, sell us back to ourselves. Some think it belongs to them, that it is their inheritance. Some think it a sign of their worth, their superiority. On a broad level, white people and men have been the primary recipients of this delusion, the belief that they deserve to have excess, while the majority of others don’t have enough … or further, that the majority of the world exists in some way to please them. And so many of us have been trained into the delusion that we must accumulate excess, even at the cost of vast inequality, in order to view our lives as complete or successful. (From the book ‘Pleasure Activism’)

Noun: Excess ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. the state or an instance of surpassing usual, proper, or specified limits.
  2. undue indulgence of appetite, want of restraint in gratifying the desires.
  3. the amount or degree by which one thing or quantity exceeds another.


The becoming of something. Cultural habits develop and new habits emerge. Emergence can also arise from a state of emergency.

Emergence shows us that adaptation and evolution depend more upon critical, deep and authentic connections. Emergence emphasizes critical connection over critical mass.

Emergence notices the way small actions and connections create complex systems, patterns that become ecosystems and societies.

Emergent strategy plans of action, personal practices and collective organizing tools that account for constant change and rely on the strength of relationship for adaptation. (Brown, 2017)


Noun: abundance (Oxford University Press, 2022)
  1. a very large quantity of something. the state or condition of having a copious quantity of something; plentifulness. plentifulness of the good things of life; prosperity. the quantity or amount of something, e.g., a chemical element or an animal or plant species, present in a particular area, volume, sample, etc.

noun: emergence (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. the process of coming into view or becoming exposed after being concealed. the escape of an insect or other invertebrate from an egg, cocoon, or pupal case. (botany) an outgrowth from a stem or leaf composed of epidermal and subepidermal tissue, as the prickles on a thistle plant.
  2. the process of coming into being, or of becoming important or prominent.


Extraction is required to feed the energy appetite of the city. Through extraction the city connects to other spaces, lands, mines, deserts. Colonial and post colonial habits. Extraction leads to the anthropocene and directly influences climate.


Freedom is relational. Operating freely is difficult, virtually impossible. There is a difference between feeling free and actually being free. We all strive for freedom. Yet freedom is always conditioned by the world around us. Freedom is related with possible structures of emancipation that can be practiced/enacted in the City of Social Ecology.

Noun: freedom (Oxford University Press, 2022)
  1. the condition of being free; the power to act or speak or think without externally imposed restraints.

    absence of subjection to foreign domination or despotic government. the state of not being imprisoned or enslaved. the state of not being subject to or affected by (a particular undesirable thing). the power of self-determination attributed to the will; the quality of being independent of fate or necessity.


Collective areas and territories within Amsterdam’s perimeter, territories that were characteristic of the city’s free, eccentric informality. Nowadays as the city expands and space becomes more polished, (Smooth City by Rene Boer) precious and precarious, the undefined areas are shrinking and disappearing. Most freezones, once in the center, now sit at the perimeter, for example, the large ADM Noord area. Amsterdam Alternative is a media platform publishing information about free mind and spaces. Some free zones operate as social networks, Verdedig Noord, amongst others, opposes gentrification and fights for the emancipation of current inhabitants.

In an urge to hold remaining bits of Amsterdam’s spirit the municipality coined the term Vrije Ruitme. de Expeditie Vrije Ruimte 2020-2021


A city’s vibrancy is enhanced by our differences, but those differences also can be a source of friction. As we are not the same, there are differences, which in turn can create friction. Friction is a ‘natural’ condition that activates reactions. Friction occurs when more interests overlap over the same territory. The more there are  diverging interests, the more there is power at play, the more friction. When there is too much friction, negativity starts ruling the game.

Noun: friction (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. the resistance that one surface or object encounters when moving over another. the action of one surface or object rubbing against another. conflict or animosity caused by a clash of wills, temperaments, or opinions.


Fringe edges are places with character. Space of potential and flexibility. The edges are less subject to planning. They are open to improvisation and true innovation because they are less controlled and surveilled. Usually not in a straight line, a straight line is contradictory to the ‘raferand’. The term also applied to social groups.


When crops flourish one may have a good harvest. Cross-cultural understanding can flourish in ‘open’ tolerant spaces. One can flourish in secret. Blossoming in either physical, mental, or societal sense.

Advancing ‘Multispecies flourishing’ – so that the social and political constitution of the ‘good city’ does not relay on our deeply engrained boundaries between human and other species. (Houston, Hillier, MacCallum, Steele, & Byrne, 2018)

Verb: flourish (Oxford University Press, 2022)
  1. (of a person, animal, or other living organism) grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as the result of a particularly favorable environment.
  2. develop rapidly and successfully. to grow luxuriantly: thrive.
  3. to be in a state of activity or production.

Origin: c. 1300, "to blossom, grow" (intransitive), from Old French floriss-, stem of florir "to blossom, flower, bloom; prosper, flourish," from Latin florere "to bloom, blossom, flower," figuratively "to flourish, be prosperous," from flos "a flower" (from PIE root *bhel- (3) "to thrive, bloom"). Metaphoric sense of "thrive" is mid-14c.


Community garden has more than a hundred years long history in Amsterdam. Is a garden always defined by its edge or can it exist without one?

Noun: garden (Merriam-Webster, 2022)
  1. a plot of ground where herbs, fruits, flowers, or vegetables are cultivated
  2. rich well-cultivated region
  3. a container (such as a window box) planted with usually a variety of small plants
  4. a public recreation area or park usually ornamented with plants and trees
  5. an open-air eating or drinking place


Getting bigger. Mistaken for all good and prosperity, growth gets questioned as the ideal. We question the idea of getting bigger as the ideal of a prosperous society. Degrowth is an urban and social strategy towards sustainability and resilience. Technology will not save us in that respect: the solution and challenges lie in the adjustment of our habits and desires.

Noun: Growth (, 2022)

  1. (biology) the process of an individual organism growing organically; a purely biological unfolding of events involved in an organism changing gradually from a simple to a more complex level.
  2. a progression from simpler to more complex forms.
  3. a process of becoming larger or longer or more numerous or more important.


Restore where one has been wounded. Mending and healing are associated with biodiversity. We may want to heal our relationship with the soil and the territory we inhabit. Healing is more important than growth. Healing can be cultivating plants and mending physical sores. To heal = to make whole. Healing takes time.

Verb: heal ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. to make free from injury or disease: to make sound or whole.
  2. to make well again: to restore to health.
  3. Alleviate. Patch up or correct.
  4. To restore to original purity or integrity.


Large scale redevelopment of the IJ-oevers - Amsterdam’s Docklands in 1998  initiated a ceatives and squatter’s protests which prompted the Municipality to initiate Broedplaatsen or incubators for ‘creative culture’. Amsterdam’s liberal policies are diminishing the city's famous creative potential, as there is just very little affordable working space. 70-ish ‘broedplaatsen’ cater for the majority of working spaces for the people in the cultural sector.

Noun: incubator ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. an apparatus with a chamber used to provide controlled environmental conditions especially for the cultivation of microorganisms or the care and protection of premature or sick babies
  2. an organization or place that aids the development of new business ventures especially by providing low-cost commercial space, management assistance, or shared services
  3. an apparatus by which eggs are hatched artificially


We inhabit land and urban scapes in togetherness. We have to acknowledge the strong links between us and the other species. Without oxygen from the trees, we are unable to breathe. Half of our DNA is not human, the species in our digestive tract aid our digestion. bees pollinating the trees. The awareness of the complex relationship with the next of kin is there. This shall be explored further. In the city of Social ecology, we develop an understanding with our next of kin.

Decenter humans from origin stories and to recognize the importance of the more-than-human, both nonhuman critters and ‘things’, such as mountains, rivers and so on. Recognition of becoming-world could enable humans to recognize with respect the role of nonhumans as active, responsive participants, ‘making kin’ in planning related encounters, in which humans would yield their position of dominance.

Humans need to support, rather than deterred, diverse forms of more-than-human becoming in this changing world. This might involve disempowering the pest narrative, for example, ‘forcing critical endeavor (of thinking and acting) no matter how uncomfortable. (McKiernan)

Refusing to contain the emergence of wildness and the more-than-human within its own framing.

Plumwoods – ‘Resituate human in ecological terms’ and ‘resituate the nonhuman in ethical terms’

Noun: Kin (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. one's family and relations. animals or plants that are related to a particular species or kind.


Approaching others with interest, paying respect, being kind to the surroundings with us in it.

Noun: Kind ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. A group united by common traits or interests. A specific or recognized variety.
  2. Fundamental nature or quality.

Adjective: Kind (, 2022).

  1. Having or showing a tender and considerate and helpful nature; used especially of persons and their behavior. tolerant and forgiving under provocation. agreeable, conducive to comfort.


If you have excess ground from a building operation, welcome to bring it to the ‘Grondbank’.  (Wanneer u bij de realisatie van een project grond 'over' heeft, kunt u dit aanleveren bij de Grondbank. Gebruik hiervoor het Aanvraagformulier acceptatie (verontreinigde grond. (PDF, 57 kB)


Cities require maintenance. Upkeep of the physicality of streets and buildings, of the technology that optimizes inhabitation, and much more. Structures of care require maintenance too: the keeping up of relations, the fortification of our engagements with others. Physical maintenance is most often pragmatic, regulated and legalized, and can be used as an alibi for non-engagement. Sustaining life may be the future of maintenance’ in the City of Social Ecology.

noun: maintenance (, 2022)

  1. activity involved in maintaining something in good working order.
  2. the act of sustaining life by food or providing a means of subsistence.


Multispecies landscapes are heterogeneous and rich in a diversity of life and, as Tsing suggest, their existence on the margins of commodified urban spaces is not accidental. The liminality of urban wilds – like any other forms of urban marginality – makes them crucial sites for unsettling domain spatial relations of power and injustice.

Marginalized urban inhabitants, the ones outside the mainframes, have very little potential to join the urban life on an equal base with others. This displacement of thinking is already in the margins or borders of stratification. To be ‘marginal’ is to be disregarded, and squeezed out. Pejorative use of the word. Uneducated, sustentive for people living in barrios (self-build settlements), poor.

The practice of marginalization, or devaluation is an exclusion practice enforced through a variety of practices. Forgotten pieces of land are urban margins: they can be a temporary place with great potential that is accepted and seen as the designated VRIJPLAATS -  FREE-SPACE area in the city. The tradition of free-space vrijplaats and engaged squatting in Amsterdam is in danger of marginalization.

Adjective: marginal ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. relating to or situated at the edge or margin of something.
  2. not of central importance. limited in extent, significance, or stature.
  3. occupying the borderland of a relatively stable territorial or cultural area characterized by the incorporation of habits and values from two divergent cultures and by incomplete assimilation in either.
  4. excluded from or existing outside the mainstream of society, a group, or a school of thought.


Deregulated and self-organized urban practices, areas, and behaviors present challenges for the city government dealing primarily with tidying of the mess. Simultaneously admiring the spontaneity of the cities from the Global South (like Caracas). It becomes difficult to regulate the messiness. How could we accept the messiness and complexity? The example of a multi-directional traffic knot behind Amsterdam’s Central Station is embracing the messiness of that area.

Mess as an agglomeration of waste, disrespect does not need to be embraced.

Adjective: Messy ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. marked by confusion, disorder, or dirt: untidy.
  2. lacking neatness or precision: careless.
  3. extremely unpleasant or trying.

    Linked to mess (n.) c. 1300, "a supply or provision of food for one meal," from Old French mes "portion of food, course at dinner," from Late Latin missus "course at dinner," literally "a placing, a putting (on a table, etc.)," from past participle of mittere "to put, place." Meaning "a communal eating place" (especially a military one) is attested by 1530s, from the earlier sense of "a company of persons eating together at the same table" (early 15c.). The sense of "mixed food," especially "mixed food for animals" (1738), probably is what led to the contemptuous colloquial use of mess for "a jumble, a mixed mass" (1828) and the figurative sense of "state of confusion, a situation of disorder" (1834), as well as "condition of untidiness" (1851).  


Unconditional love and care, this is what one received from the mother. With care in return. On the urban scale, how can the landscape, and the city nesting in muddy territory treat the mother Earth with respect? The climate crisis is sharpening this relationship.

Noun: mother (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. a woman in relation to her child or children. a female animal in relation to its offspring.

Verb: mother (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. bring up (a child) with care and affection. look after (someone) kindly and protectively, sometimes excessively so.
  2. give birth to.


The Dutch words for Modder and Moeder (mud and the mother) are alike.

Mud is slippery. Clusters of foundation piles carry the weight of Amsterdam until the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd sand layer. As in-between are the layers of mud, which no city can rest on. The slippery territory and practices of dealing with the swampy, muddy areas have been negotiated for centuries. The brackish mud still carries species from other geological phases.

Noun: mud (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. soft, sticky matter resulting from the mixing of earth and water.

    Linked to:mother (n2) "a thick substance concreting in liquors; the lees or scum concreted" [Johnson], 1530s, probably from Middle Dutch modder "filth, dregs," from PIE *meu- (see mud).


Feeding, refreshing, and oiling, a house, a machine, streets, and landscapes. A well-nourished landscape is POROUS and provides a climatic buffer for the inhabitants. Small patches can grow into a larger network. Feeding chemicals, on the other hand, may disrupt the entire cycle.

Verb: nourish (Oxford University Press, 2022) ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. provide with the food or other substances necessary for growth, health, and good condition. Enhance the fertility of (soil). Nurture. To promote the growth of.

    Origin: from Old French norriss-, stem of norrir "raise, bring up, nurture, foster; maintain, provide for" (12c., Modern French nourrir), from Latin nutrire "to feed, nurse, foster, support, preserve," from *nutri (older form of nutrix "nurse"), literally "she who gives suck," from PIE *nu-tri-, suffixed form (with feminine agent suffix) of *(s)nau- "to swim, flow, let flow," hence "to suckle," extended form of root *sna- "to swim."

    Linked to *sna- *snā-, Proto-Indo-European root meaning "to swim," with extended form *(s)nāu- "to swim, flow; to let flow," hence "to suckle."

Inclusive, ethical relationships that can nurture possibilities for multispecies flourishing in diverse urban futures, the futures that are increasingly recognized as co-produced by non-human agents in the context of climate variability and change. (Houston, Hillier, MacCallum, Steele, & Byrne, 2018)


What is the difference between characteristic, specific, and the other? Otherness can not be read with the existing codes. Otherness is also exciting, yet possibly dangerous. Othering others may not end up in a closed circle. Therefore it may be better to establish relations with others. The PIC (Prostitution Information Center) works on the destigmatization of sex workers providing a safe space within the city. Many designated aid instances cater to the needs of ‘others’.

Noun: otherness (, 2022)

  1. the quality of being not alike; being distinct or different from that otherwise experienced or known
  2. Old English oþer "second, the second of two; additional, further" (adj.), also as a pronoun, "one of the two; a different person or thing from the one in view"


What we walk on, in the urbanized areas. Human made, hard, membrane between the soil and you. Dutch word for verharding means to harden (a surface). Old streets in Amsterdam are paved with special pavement bricks (there is also an exciting brick laying machine) and this provides a more porous membrane than, for example, asphalt.


Recently popular term for inhabitants of new urban extensions. The new urban peri-urban housing belt around the city is filled with pioneering practices. It has a heroic meaning, yet can also be just left on its own, in the sand. The word ‘pioneer’ is also a language of settler colonialism and socialist youth movement in (ex) Yugoslavia. Pioneer plants. 

Noun: Pioneer ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. a person or group that originates or helps open up a new line of thought or activity or a new method or technical development.
  2. a plant or animal capable of establishing itself in a bare, barren, or open area and initiating an ecological cycle.

Verb: Pioneer

  1. to act as a pioneer. to open or prepare for others to follow.
  2. to originate or take part in the development of.


Swimming in the city waters brings pleasure in the summer heat. Sitting on the bench sheltered from the rain by thick treetops, and smelling oxygen in the rain.  The city provides pleasure. One person’s pleasure may be another’s unpleasantness.

When we are engaged in acts of love, we humans are at our best and most resilient. Pleasure evokes change. Pleasure invites us to move, to open, to grow. Finding collective desire. Finding the beauty, magic, miracles and patterns that induce wonder.

Pleasure is a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment. Activism consists of efforts to promote, impede, or direct social, political, economic, or environmental reform or stasis with the desire to make improvements in society. Pleasure activism is the work we do to reclaim our whole, happy, and satisfiable selves from the impacts, delusions, and limitations of oppression and/or supremacy. Pleasure activism asserts that we all need and deserve pleasure and that our social structures must reflect this. (From Adrienne Maree Brown’s book)

Noun: pleasure (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. a feeling of happy satisfaction and enjoyment. enjoyment and entertainment, contrasted with things done out of necessity. an event or activity from which one derives enjoyment. sensual gratification. a fundamental feeling that is hard to define but that people desire to experience.

Origin: late 14c., plesire, "source of enjoyment, pleasing quality or thing, that which pleases or gratifies the senses or the mind," from Old French plesir, also plaisir "enjoyment, delight, desire, will"


Being able to connect or diffuse. Porous tissue is aerated. And aerated urban tissue can breathe. Porosity is an essential and wonderful asset for the city.

Noun: porous ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. Having minute spaces or holes through which liquid or air may pass. Possessing or full of pores. Containing vessels.
  2. Permeable to fluids. Permeable to outside influences. not retentive or secure.
  3. Capable of being penetrated.


Amsterdam municipality introduced the Puccini Method as a framework for the optimal design of public spaces. Creating a ‘blueprint’ set of tools and materials for the design of all its streets, public spaces and gardens. This standard aims for cleanliness, practicality and beauty therefore regulates the urban ingredients to achieve a more unified streetscape (for what is this right and wrong).

One of the best chocolatiers in town is also called Puccini. Dark chocolate with orange liqueur is in the realm of PLEASURE.


Repair is neverending. Mending the broken. Repairing relations, networks and spaces. Repair and maintenance are closely related. Filling in the cracks, replacing the tiles (on Schiphol). Digging the streets open, mending the infrastructure in the sand, and covering them with the carpet of bricks. Repair of Amsterdam’s infrastructure is a continuous process.

Repair ecologies:The collectivity of repair is a kind of social infrastructure; in fixing a phone, one also creates the context for a temporary public.

verb: repair. (, 2022)

  1. restore by replacing a part or putting together what is torn or broken.
  2. set straight or right.
  3. make amends for; pay compensation for.
  4. give new life or energy to.


Food and water from the roots get up from the bark and of the trees in early spring, while later in the summer, the sugars get stored in the root ‘basement’. Stemming from the roots, rhizomes grow horizontally underground creating an entangled mass  food storage. 

The root is not only a structural and mental base, it is feeding the territory. Some roots pull up the brick pavement. Roots are strong and can pull the houses up. They need to be taken care of as they are not only the base for plants, they may be the base of our civilization. Rhizomes stem from the roots and are storing sugars.

Noun: Root (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. the part of a plant which attaches it to the ground or to a support, typically underground, conveying water and nourishment to the rest of the plant via numerous branches and fibers.
  2. the basic cause, source, or origin of something. family, ethnic, or cultural origins, especially as the reasons for one's long-standing emotional attachment to a place or community. denoting or relating to something from a particular ethnic or cultural origin, especially a non-Western one.

Verb: Root (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. cause (a plant or cutting) to grow roots.
  2. establish deeply and firmly.


Initially safety is perceived/understood as an act of caring for all city’s inhabitants. Providing a “safe space”. However safety can be used as justification for restrictions. Allowing access, defining inclusion and exclusion. Safety rules are defining the landscape of public spaces and elements. Fences, nets, regulatory spatial elements of all kinds. Because of safety many things become impossible. This kind of safety blocks citizens.


Listening. To be sensitive is the capacity to listen to stories other than your own. Then one can start imagining and potentially act, when necessary. Sensing the environment, human and other species, buildings and weather.

Delicate. Aware. At times someone can be labeled as ‘too sensitive’ that next to the compliment may also allude to being ‘fussy’.

Adjetive: sensitive ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. Receptive to sense impressions. Capable of being stimulated or excited by external agents (such as light, gravity, or contact).
  2. Highly responsive or susceptible. Quick to detect or respond to slight changes, signals, or influences.


Where everything grows from. So many traits, species. Soil needs to breathe, which can be a challenge in dense urban conditions.

Large parts of Amsterdam sit on the sand. When a street gets repaired, bricks are removed, revealing the layers of sand-soil underneath. In architectural section drawings this is often just a line, landscape drawings hopefully include the roots, while a biologist would show a multitude of species that the soil is host to…

On all the large development sites within the city there are large sandbeds. Some serve as temporary beaches (the example of centrum eiland IJburg),or sometimes  informal playgrounds. This islands - eiland was ‘opgespoten’ sprayed sand (from the deep pits in the adjacent Markermeer)


Stories from other cities

Amid a growing humanitarian crisis, Alimenta La Solidaridad operates more than 60 community kitchens in some of the poorest neighborhoods of Caracas, embracing broken world thinking, looking through the cracks to find emerging acts of care. In this context, dwellings become the heart of an operation feeding between 50 and 100 children daily. A family kitchen grows into a space where women get together to cook. This act spills to the dining and living area. When it is time to eat, the operation extends beyond the house's limits and out to streets, stairs, and passages. The community kitchens operate by expanding the notion of home, transforming the public realm into a domestic scenario and vice versa, practicing adaptability and interdependence – nurturing solidarity.

Joyful structures, attending basic needs, introducing caring practices like, washing hands, looking after each other, consolidating a space for kids to enjoy the wait. Dignifying structures provide moms spaces to cook together, eat together, and provide for their kids, engaging in collective acts of love and pleasure. Amplifying structures allow organized women to expand the notions of what they can achieve as women, together. Inviting them to engage in new forms of leadership and activism in their neighborhoods.

noun: solidarity (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. unity or agreement of feeling or action, especially among individuals with a common interest; mutual support within a group.

Origin mid 19th century: from French solidarité, from solidaire "interdependent, complete, entire," from solide (see solid (adj.)). (Harper D. , 2022)

Linked: solid (adj.) late 14c., "not empty or hollow," from Latin solidus "firm, whole, undivided, entire," from PIE *sol-ido-, suffixed form of root *sol- "whole."


Amsterdam became famous for squatting. And yet the 2010 law criminalizes this practice, and squatting is not legal in the Netherlands anymore. Mokum kraakt is the newest generation of squatters, with two other seniors - mother and grandmother generations beforehand. The grand Silos were squatted by the ‘grandma generation’ of squatters.. There are very few squats that are collectively owned, as ownership contradicts the squatting morale. Vrankrijk in the Spui straat is one of the collectively owned squats (creating a rupture in the movement at the time) which makes it possible to still remain in its place. A monument to a gone era? Kraakspreekuur (squatting consultations)

Etymology of squat (v.)

mid-14c., "to crush;" early 15c., "crouch on the heels," from Old French esquatir, escatir "compress, press down, lay flat, crush," from es- "out" (see ex-) + Old French quatir "press down, flatten," from Vulgar Latin *coactire "press together, force," from Latin coactus, past participle of cogere "to compel, curdle, collect" (see cogent). Meaning "to settle on land without any title or right" is from 1800. Related: Squatted; squatting.


Classic Amsterdam’s manner of playing with the rules. Sexworkers are tolerated, and prostitution is forbidden. ‘Others’ are accepted, but they are marginalized. ‘We tolerate you being here, but that doesn’t mean we like that you are here.’ Our question, why are some rules, places, species and habits tolerated?


Fragile. Easily demolished. Grasses in the city parks need a special script for mowing. Longer grasses shelter more biodiversity yet are fragile under the mower's large machines. Homeless in the winter. The chain is as strong as the weakest link.

Adjective: vulnerable ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. capable of being physically or emotionally wounded
  2. open to attack or damage



Creating space in which people might be able to step into another's reality. Allowing for things to emerge. Not producing a surplus of actions, objects and ideas. Reassembling ourselves in relation to others.

Verb: Withhold (Oxford University Press, 2022)

  1. refuse to give (something that is due to or is desired by another).
suppress or hold back (an emotion or reaction).


Amsterdam, a city built on marshes encompasses wetness in many ways: the wet soil and pile foundations, and sagging canal edges giving in the territory. Cycling through the drizzle-rain (‘mot-regen’) is the ultimate moisturizing experience. This unifies many species, human and non-human. During (increasing) summer draughts the soil and people yearn for this.

Adjective: wet ( Merriam-Webster, 2022)

  1. consisting of, containing, covered with, or soaked with liquid (such as water)
  2. Rainy
  3. still moist enough to smudge or smear
  4. preserved in liquid
  5. overly sentimental
  6. British - lacking strength of character