Joëlle Payet

The Little Spaces Left Between Canal Houses

1m wide, 10m deep, 12m high… These are the dimensions of an alley between two houses, at Herengracht 127/129, in the canal area of Amsterdam. This alley has been forgotten for years. Closed off for safety reasons. Hidden behind a metallic door. A metal junk yard ignored in favour of the surrounding narrow buildings classified as monuments.

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  • CARTopia: Portland’s Food Cart Revolution

    When boyfriend and I told our relatives we would go to Oregon, USA, for our long-awaited holidays, they were all surprised. What’s happening there? Why not a sunny place after an imaginary Summer in Amsterdam? When we came back from our 3-week trip with a tan and told my father-in-law, a French chef, that we found our Food Mecca in Portland, Oregon, he did not believe us, and thought our palates are far too young to seize the difference between street food and gastronomy. Europeans might not be aware of Portland’s food scene, but many US Cities are trying to figure out how to replicate its model. Over the past decade, media and food critics have all acknowledged Portland as a destination for food lovers. ‘Top Places to Eat in Portland’ by Guardian or New York Times do not only highlight brick-and-mortar restaurants but also gourmet food carts. To find our way amongst the 500 (600?) food carts spread throughout the city, we bought CARTopia by Kelly Rodgers and Kelley Roy. This small book is much more than a guide, it is also a fine introduction to the food carts phenomenon. CARTopia helped me to understand the history of food carts in Portland and their unique role in the local economy and the urban landscape.

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    Review: Pop-Up City Movie Night

    Last weekend, some fifty people joined our team for a special and intimate Pop Up City Movie Night at Filmhuis Cavia in Amsterdam. The evening started with the screening of Amsterdam Make-Over 2040, a Tegenlicht documentary by William de Bruijn that reminds us of Amsterdam’s pivotal position in a multi-polar world. Featuring economic geographer Richard…

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  • Urban Agriculture, Part 2: Vertical Farms

    According to the UN, the world’s population is expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050, and around 70% of us will be living in dense urban areas. With more mouths to feed and high demand for land, vertical farming is presented as a legitimate solution to maximise food production with minimum urban space. Reknown vertical…

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    Underground City By EVOL

    Berlin-based street artist EVOL uses stencils and spray paint to transform urban walls and furniture into realistic and stunningly detailed buildings. For the upcoming MS Dockville Festival, he transplanted the city in a rural landscape in Hamburg, Germany. Visitors can walk through a miniature underground intersection. They can play like kids and just “pretend there…

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