Bik Van der Pol
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Model City
The BP area, called 'la cite des ingenieurs' is located in the harbor area of Dunkerque, just 100 meters away from the oil refineries. This housing area, within easy reach of this heavy industry, reflects the ideas of the modernist architecture of the garden village, with its lay out of green, space, and spacious houses.
This housing area also reflects ideals - and their ambiguity - of the 20th century western thinking in urban and industrial planning: people live near their work, and in such a way engage with it and are available all the time.
The lay out of the area aims to generate a sense of 'neighbourhoodness' which can also be seen as paternalistic: communal playground, communal tennis court, communal spaces, and of course the company as a social working area.
The social positions the inhabitants were taking inside the BP company correspond with the size of the house they used to inhabit. In this scale model of the 'cite des ingenieurs' the hierarchy becomes apparent in the different size of the buildings.
The area is a city of dreams, imbued with optimism and a strong belief in the increasing development of mankind, endless economical
Model City
growth and welfare for everybody, with the production of oil as the motor behind this.

Since 4-5 years this area has been deserted: pollution appeared to be at such an intolerable level that it was considered irresponsible to
allow people to live there any longer. During the past years, the area has been maintained in a representable state: the houses are well kept, the grass of the lawn cut, and the children's playground looks like the children will return any minute.