Urban design (tentative) manifesto

We live in a defined and regularly re-defined urban landscape.

 

It’s definition comes from a few people’s interpretation of space and their understanding of a greater population’s constantly evolving needs and desires, and, their ability to translate those very desires into functional structures willing to cohabit. The structures are introduced into the urban fabric using blueprints that address how they work as “organisms” within the existing ecosystem of pre-existing buildings, what they should look like and what they are meant to enable, in other words how they should be used.

This process leaves little room for appropriation, interpretation and multiplicity.

Since these structures are most of the times our housing situations, our modes of transportation, our workplaces and the third place: cinemas, coffee shops, playgrounds, barber shops, it does, in many ways, make sense to standardise the way such structures should function and often privatise the real-estate dedicated to them, saddly it often seems to alienate the people that live and work in them.

Through the mis-use of standardisation and privatisation of spaces, a relatively feudal mindset of a lord’s kingdom, his rule and his singular vision are revived.

Of course, the streamlining of a structure’s purpose and its implementation can benefit the optimization of the service provided there, however, when blown out out scale it merely kills the life and livelihood of that area. The livelyhood of a given area can be defined as the pleasure one might find in living/being in a given spot.

It is that notion of scale that lives in a peoples’ relationship to an existing system of rules that can be easily re-assesed through simple, anodine, playful interventions as they too offer new rules that come and complement the existing ones.

Hence the crucialness of becoming aware of those rules, how they influence our everyday and how to best adapt them concsiously or inconcsiously to our needs using more maliable rules that directly reflect our quotidian activities, much like throwing that space into a sandbox and seeing how it might be transformed.

 

1// CASUAL ENCOUNTERS This game provides a mean of indicating that its users (self-proclaimed players) are will to speak and meet others aware of the code. This can take place in the metro, in the street, anywhere usually crowded as this activity re-emphasises a notion of individuality for those interested in playing and surpassing the cammouflage of the crowd.

2// FLUXUS-ING THE STATE This game would call for a a re-enactment of codes of duty: how would others (citizens) interpret the codes of conduct and mission statements of government officials and infrastructures. This will shed light on the varrying levels of interpretations and implementations of government infrastructures.

 

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