Commoning Merwede


Architect Merve Bedir has been commissioned by Gemene Grond for an arts project in Merwede, Utrecht. It’s not a solo project, as her aspiration is for the inhabitants of the district to play the main role.

Gemene Grond has been in conversation with Utrecht Municipality since 2022 on the role art can play in a new housing development in Merwede district. The project goal is to foster interconnectedness among the different neighbourhoods.

To this end Merve Bedir has been commissioned to undertake research into the district that includes several neighbourhoods, such as Kanaleneiland, Transwijk, Merwede, Rivierenwijk, Dichterswijk. Merve aims: “to facilitate inhabitants and agencies invested in these neighbourhoods to be the co-owners and caretakers of the resulting commission for an artwork. Therefore, from the beginning, the research is on what is of commons, and the possibilities of commoning (in) Merwede.”

Who is Merve Bedir?

Merve Bedir has worked in developing and fast changing cities with complex contexts. Her practice deals with the infrastructures of hospitality and mobility. She attaches great importance to social and more than human design, the cooperation and participation of different inhabitants in architecture and urbanism, and pays attention to the rights to hospitality, to listen to whose voices/sounds are not (sufficiently) heard.

About the locality

Merwede is a district of Utrecht, where new housing is designed to be compact, sustainable, inclusive and a lively addition to the city. Carlijn Diesfeldt, curator at Gemene Grond:

“Developing a new quarter within an existing city demands careful attention to the interconnectedness with surrounding neighbourhoods. It’s important to focus not only on the new area but also to look carefully at how we can link up with the residents in adjoining districts. It’s important that residents in neighbouring districts aren’t just linked via cycle paths and walkways, but that they can really meet. That way we’ll create a social, engaged city. We think that art can make a positive contribution to achieving that.”

Read more below
The artistic commission

Working throughout Summer 2023, Merve presented a proposal to the working group concerned with the artwork. The proposal outlines how she plans to interpret her brief over the coming months and what the neighbourhood can expect. Merve wants to listen to as many people as possible. This way she aims to get a feeling for the issues in play in the new district and to do justice to the plurality of voices. Together with different communities in and around Merwede, Merve will conceptualise how the project is to be structured and which art forms will be implemented. She will work in Merwede for an extended period before presenting the outcome. The final choice of what is to be made lies within the common: the inhabitants, producers, and interested agencies from other districts, the Utrecht Municipality and others who want to take part in the commissioning process.

Merve Bedir will complete the research commission somewhere in 2025.

Read more below
Made possible with a contribution from

Ondernemerscollectief MerwedeTranswijk & Co

Stimuleringsfonds Creatieve Industrie

Gemeente Utrecht