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Symposium: River Tactics

As part of the opening festivities surrounding the exhibition “Swim City” (25 May – 29 September), the S AM Swiss Architecture Museum hosted the free daytime symposium “River Tactics”.Urban river swimming in Switzerland takes its place within a global constellation of different cities, projects and actors attempting to reclaim urban waterways as spaces for people. With the increasing migration of heavy industry from city centres in recent decades, urban rivers, canals, lakes and harbours have once again emerged as contested spaces in many cities across the (post-)industrial world. Who has access to these spaces? Who is allowed to profit from them? What can be done to ensure that these spaces remain democratic and inclusive? Urban swimming, as a tactic for appropriating these spaces for human use, takes on a new urgency in this context – revealing how this activity has been a political one all along.“Swim City” features six international initiatives that have been engaged in transforming the waterways in their respective cities into spaces for swimming and recreation. Some propose alternative visions through design interventions; others lobby for a political paradigm shift through research and direct action in public space. Common to them all is an approach to urban design that departs from purely built solutions, instead developing a multifaceted practice at the intersection of politics, design and science.The participation of these six projects in the exhibition was made possible with the support of the Future Architecture Platform.