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Friday Forum: Urban Tides

  • Fenimore 5798 New York 80 Cooperstown, NY, 13326 United States (map)
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Post-screening discussion

with filmmaker Simone Eleveld

The city of Amsterdam in Holland is famous for urban experimentation and one of its more successful recent projects has been the reclaiming of a polluted ex-shipyard known as De Ceuvel. A group of mostly young people from different walks of life took the initiative—with little financing—to turn this empty and contaminated piece of land into a living work and meeting place. Demonstrating that a DIY approach is often the best option, they constructed (with homegrown building skills) office spaces and simple units out of a very common Dutch waste product—scrapped houseboats. Despite the heavy pollution from old canal sludge (dumped there as far back as the 19th century), the neighborhood now thrives and the ground underfoot is toxic no more. Solar panels were set in place and clean running water was installed in the houseboats—and the area is mostly self-contained, with no need for city sewers. People are now living, working, and having fun in the cafes and restaurants of a land that was seemingly uninhabitable. Urban Tides documents the process of realizing the dream of a motley collection of visionary urbanites. (Simone Eleveld, 2016, Netherlands, 40 minutes)