The main question of this project was: who actually owns and who rents the land and the buildings, the “Real Estates”, in a city, and in particular the city of Rotterdam. And to what kind of “Fictional States” do the ownership and tenancies possibly lead. How do “Real Estates” influence the character of a city with respect to the nationality of its owners and tenants? Therefore, this project focused on the residents of a city and their nationalities.

As a first step the project analysed and investigated the “Real Estates” of a city; secondly, it classified the owners and the tenants and their respective nationalities; and thirdly, created and mapped “Fictional States” based on this information. The creation of the “Fictional States” was supposed to reveal a new perspective on the character of a city taking into account the nationalities of its inhabitants.

The city of Rotterdam was used as a case study for this research project. Since the entire city was too large to investigate, the research was concentrated on three streets in the centre of Rotterdam, namely the West Kruiskade, de Coolsingel, and the Rochussenstraat. In order to create a feeling of “Real States”, coins, flags, stamps, passports, and other items designating nationality were designed and created.

Title: Real Estates and Fictional States
Project: Study on the impact of ownership on cities
Date: September 2009
Type: Self-initiated study
Location: Rotterdam
Programme: Urban research
Status: On-going
Client: Self-initiated
Team: Bernd Upmeyer, Alice Grégoire