VENICE.- The Ambition of the Territory is a call for a radical overhaul of the practices of architecture, planning and politics in Flanders and Europe. Our current prosperity and welfare systems are founded on the consumption of finite resources and the wasteful use of land. Instead The Ambition of the Territory proposes regional and transnational systems of land use, production and dwelling that are both integrated and complementary. Shifting the focus from consumption to the organisational potential of this urbanised territory of Europe itself, the project explores how the various uses of space can become part of a spatial metabolism. The future of Europe will be imagined on the basis of its shared territory, founded on its Common Ground. Based on a close reading of the history of our productive landscape, The Ambition of the Territory explores the conditions for a resilient society based on principles of self-reliance and responsibility.
A radically new vision on the development of Europe needs to be based on a productive relationship between an urban society and its territory: a territorial metabolism and shift from consumption to metabolisms, i.e. integrated systems of land use, production and dwelling. Similar to many European regions, Flanders is characterised by a history of horizontal occupation, in which urban cores and hinterland are mixed.
Decentralised urbanised territories such as Flanders, the Veneto region, the English midlands or the northern Rhineland show a form of metropolitan organisation hat simultaneously produces enormous wealth and problems of mobility and overdevelopment. The Ambition of the Territory proposes to imagine the future of these urban regions by departing from their existing territory and exploring a horizontal, metabolic principle to develop these territories as metropolitan systems. Given its geographic location and historical settlement pattern, Flanders is put forward as an ideal laboratory for an integrated approach to organising the production and distribution of energy, food and water.
The exhibition in the Belgian pavilion presents a series of research projects and work that examine the possibility for a metabolism in a metropolitan territory: food production in a densely developed region, sustainable systems of distribution and logistics, or integrating new forms of industrial production in our living environment. Showing maps, models, images and stories depicting a polycentric metropolis, The Ambition of the Territory presents us both with a fresh view on an existing landscape, and future perspectives for Flanders and Europe.