S+T+ARTS Regional Centers | Repairing the Present

Built spaces in a network(ed) society | Challenge nº15

How might we revive the built spaces with the help of digital technologies, to facilitate new sustainable and inclusive economic, social and cultural activities? 

Consortium Partner: Snowball & Gluon

The New European Bauhaus: BH1 Affordable & accessible living spaces through community engagement

Problem Statement

The region of South West Flanders is a strongly urbanized area, marked by a rich industrial history. Its territory is characterized by a series of abandoned and vacant yet inspiring built landscapes. Old industrial buildings, religious heritage and empty stores are just a few examples. In light of the European Green Deal and the New Bauhaus, how might we revive those spaces with the help of digital technologies, to facilitate new sustainable and inclusive economic, social and cultural activities?


Circularity (of materials & spaces), Space neutrality, Sustainability & CO2 neutrality, Co-creation & citizen participation, Digital technologies (IoT, AI, VR / AR, blockchain)

Challenge Context

From the second half of the 19th century onwards, the region of South West Flanders has slowly & steadily evolved from an agrarian area to a region with an important industrial character. This economic transformation has led to the intense development of multiple infrastructures and has resulted in a regional identity with a distinct entrepreneurial DNA.

In line with the European Green Deal, the region aspires to transition towards a more sustainable and inclusive future. The intermunicipal organisation Leiedal firmly draws the card of space neutrality and wants to explore how vacant & abandoned built environments can be meaningfully transformed. Artists are invited to deepen, broaden, imagine and/or accelerate this transition.

Together with the local communities, the artists are challenged to develop new imaginary and creative usages for these sites. These should question contemporary economic models that focus on growth, solely consist of carbon-neutral actions and make critical use of digital technologies such as AI, IoT, blockchain and big data. The artist can select one or more sites and will be supported by tech experts.

Fellowship Characteristics: network, opportunities, and expectations

During the fellowship, the artist will be supported by a Local Expert Group composed of local practitioners from the field of cleantech, data management, urban planning, blockchain, policy, energy management, AI, virtual & augmented reality and education.

Our fellowship partner is the intermunicipal organisation Leiedal. The dynamic and durable development of South West Flanders as an attractive area for work, life and leisure, is core to Leiedals activities. The artist will get access to a series of sites (buildings and/or open spaces) in the region. Following a thorough introduction and research visit, the artist and the Local Expert Group will select one (or a series of) site/area in line with and most suited to the implementation of the project proposal.

Through the network of the hosting institutions, the artist will get access to local experts/companies/research institutions in the field of AI, IoT, blockchain, big data and visualisation technologies such as VR and AR. Specific expertise required by the artist for the implementation of the project will be evaluated by the Local Expert Group.

This Fellowship is highly collaborative, aimed at reviving the built spaces in a networked society. It implies the involvement of local target groups (entrepreneurs, youngsters, policymakers and researchers) during the entire fellowship.

It strives to develop a project with the potential of duplicability (tools, methods & outcome) to other sites and (European) regions after the completion of the fellowship.

The artist is expected to deliver a presentable prototype or an artwork that will be included in the final exhibition at MAXXI Rome and/or at ZKM Karlsruhe.

The artist is requested to travel to the region to attend meetings and events or to conduct field research at least 4 to 6 times during the fellowship. 

Jury Day(s)

Jury day will be: in-person 
Jury day will be held on: 17th January 2022

Useful links

Local Expert Group

Challenge Video