Vacant City

Experiments on inclusive urban transformation from the Netherlands and Hungary 

The economic crisis brought about a new paradigm in archi- tecture and planning. Instead of serving large-scale invest- ments and targeting fictional customers, the new develop- ment logic gives preference to the reuse of existing buildings and spaces by helping them to gradually adapt to new functi- ons and accommodate new users. Dutch practitioners were at the forefront of experimenting with new approaches to va- cant properties and community-led urban regeneration. By pioneering innovation in design, policy and management to address the problem of vacancy, they established models that inspired like-minded initiatives across the world.

Between 2012 and 2015, the kék – Hungarian Contemporary Architecture Centre invited to Budapest a dozen Dutch prac- titioners, whose work is organized around the reuse of vacant buildings and areas. By presenting these practices, connecting them to their Budapest counterparts and creating situations of formal and informal exchange, kék opened new spaces for thought in the Hungarian architecture, planning and deve- lopment culture and in civil society. Vacant City is the result of these encounters, assembling the key thoughts and experi- ences of the program’s 3 years.