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Not a ghost town

2019-11-12
Scheldt River is the lifeline of Antwerp in Belgium. “All an Antwerper has to do to connect with the rest of the world is simply dip his hand into the Scheldt’s water”, a former Antwerp mayor once said.

The river’s branches of various sizes were the city’s earliest sanitary sewer system which was later transformed by the government gradually to become the sewer system crisscrossing the city. It was not until the installation of pipelines in 2001 that the old sewer service was officially ceased. The Scheldt River that flows from France and enters Belgium before reaching Netherland has bestowed Antwerp with the advantages as a port city. In the last 50 years, villages on both sides of the river banks have been transformed into container terminals along with the development of the port. And now there is only one village left – Doel.

Doel was once populated by over a thousand people, but the number has dropped to around 20 today. For years, they have been standing against the ambiguous land resumption policy on one hand while believing that conservation counts much more than the unnecessary expansion of the port on the other. Their holdout has already come to the third generation who insist on living in this ghost town surrounded by dilapidated houses vacated deliberately. They simply want to deliver a message: The last generation does not stand alone, every generation cares for this last village by the river.

Urban Exploration II

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In this programme, activities of urban pathfinders will be carried on so as to find out the history and latent rules of every city through exploring ruins, during which we will approach the murky sides of different eras and study the stories inscribed in every ruin from the perspective of humanistic care.
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