The twenty program makers and producers of Pakhuis de Zwijger realise programs and projects in seven different topics: Social, Spatial Planning, Sustainability, Technology, Economy, Democracy and Creative Industry. We focus on practicalities and improving daily life in the cities and regions in relation to the country, Europe and the entire world. Conversely, we indicate how global developments affect our urban region and country. It is our mission to expose developments in every domain, to make clear analyses, to interpret existing practices, to offer alternatives, to present innovations and to stimulate dialogue.

Amsterdam (180 nationalities, almost 900,000 inhabitants and millions of visitors annually) and other large Dutch cities are rapidly changing due to urbanisation. This also changes the relationship with the region and the rest of the country. Partly due to ongoing migration and digitisation, an increasing super-diversity is manifesting itself, but also inequality and dichotomy in the areas of work and education, health, income and housing. How do we involve everyone in arriving at new ways of living together. And how do we create a city that is inclusive, fair and home to all its residents and visitors?

From the Social topic, we make programs around all major social themes such as inequality of opportunity in education, the future of work, poverty and debt, unequal life expectancy, human rights, discrimination and racism

Spatial Planning
The Netherlands has a long history of spatial planning when it comes to our public spaces. This is necessary in a small country with many inhabitants who all need space for living, working, travelling, sports, leisure and recreation. How do we divide this increasingly scarce space? How do we arrive at smart, meaningful and innovative designs for multiple uses of space, in which the ecological footprint is as small as possible, with optimal quality of life and biodiversity? Where is building allowed and where not? Where is room for greenery, sustainable energy, water, ecological connections, new bicycle paths, pedestrians, motorways and railways?

The Spatial Planning topic focuses on making programs within the disciplines of spatial and project development, architecture, construction, planning and gentrification.

If we are good ancestors, we will leave a liveable and just world for the generations to come. The current climate, commodity and biodiversity crises show that we need to work even harder at this. Where can we improve or change the social systems? How do we arrive at an economy that guarantees a sustainable future? And how do we implement our sustainable ambitions and remove obstacles and blockages?

The Sustainability topic focuses on making programs about the circular economy, energy transition, climate adaptation, food, biodiversity and sustainable mobility. In doing so, we link the daily lives of residents of the city to the challenges at national and global level.

Governments and businesses use artificial intelligence, robots populate our production lines, our phones record every step we take and social media platforms are making it more and more difficult to distinguish fact from fiction. The rapid digitisation of our society provides opportunities, possibilities and convenience, but also brings unforeseen new obstacles, privacy problems and unwanted power shifts. How do we build a digital world that is open and accessible to everyone and in which our privacy is guaranteed?

The Technology topic focuses on making programs about new apps, AI, data use by governments and companies, the operation of algorithms, blockchain, e-economy and digital (civil) rights.

Decades of focus on economic growth have led to an increasing wealth inequality in our society. Globally, we are seeing significant disruptions due to climate change, increased migration, digitisation and the current COVID-19 pandemic. What are the alternatives, and how do we implement them? How do we ensure a resilient economy that leads to thriving communities and cities, and contributes to a liveable world and equal opportunities for all?

The topic of Economy focuses on making programs about the welfare economy, the containment of large capital, the tax system, pension funds and possibilities for a circular economy. We look at how we can make new economic systems work for us in a positive way.

Traditional democratic institutions, such as political parties and elections, are under increased pressure due to a growing mistrust in administrative and financial systems. In addition, citizens are increasingly taking responsibility for solving social issues into their own hands, through citizen initiatives and neighbourhood cooperatives. Do existing institutions need to be revived, or are they due for renewal? Where are the opportunities for citizen participation and co-creation, and what are the pitfalls? And which new (local) democratic models can we introduce to make our democracy resilient to the challenges of the 21st century?

The Democracy topic focuses on making programs about democratic renewal, alternative democratic models and citizens’ initiatives. In doing so, we share experiences from the Netherlands and abroad and promote the exchange of knowledge.

Creative Industry
All urban and social tasks are by definition design issues. The emphasis is increasingly on a humanistic, holistic and sustainable design perspective. How do we design cities in which everyone – including future generations – feels at home? What role do designers and artists play in (re)considering and (re)designing our way of producing and consuming? How does the creative industry shine a light on the shortcomings of the current systems? And how can innovative design offer a solution?

The topic of Creative Industry deals with making programs about photography, industrial design, fashion, architecture and all other forms of art and design. We use the imagination of storytelling to connect past, present and future and offer a platform to inspiring designers, artists and initiatives.

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