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robertogreco : placemaking   18

Making the Ordinary Visible: Interview with Yasar Adanali : Making Futures
"Yaşar Adanalı defines his work over the past decade as being that of a “part time academic researcher and part time activist”. He is one of the founders of the Center for Spatial Justice in Istanbul, an urban institute that focuses on issues of spatial justice in Istanbul and beyond. In this interview, he reflects upon “continuance” as a tool of engagement, the power of attending to the ordinary within the production of space, and the different types of public that this works seeks to address.

What led to the founding of the Center for Spatial for Justice and how does its work relate to the worlds of academia, activism and urbanism?

I’m interested in questions regarding spatial production in general and more specifically justice – the injustices that derive from spatial processes or the spatial aspect of social injustices. The Center for Spatial Justice takes the acronym MAD in Turkish – a MAD organisation against mad projects, that’s our founding moto. We bring together people from different disciplines such as architects, urban planners, artists, journalists, filmmakers, lawyers and geographers to produce work in relation to what’s going here: grassroots struggles in the city and in the countryside. The Center for Spatial Justice believes in the interconnectedness of urban and rural processes.

As educator and an activist, you work both within and outside an institutional setting. Have you been able to take the latter experience back into the academy and if so, what in particular? How do these two roles inform each other?

Since 2014 I have been teaching a masters design studio at TU Darmstadt. It’s a participatory planning course that both follows and supports a cooperative housing project in Düzce, Turkey, produced for and by the tenants who were badly affected by the 1999 earthquake. Over the course of the past five years, the master students have been developing a 4000 sq m housing project from scratch. The students from Darmstadt come to Istanbul as interns, working partly on the project. The result is a long-lasting relationship with the neighbourhoods in question and with the organisations we have been working with.

Apart from that, through MAD and Beyond Istanbul we develop summer and winter schools – non-academic experiences that similarly bridge the gap between the alternative universe and the mainstream universe. When you start to put critical questions into the minds of the students, these linger and they then take them back to the university, so their friends and professors also become exposed to that. We prefer to develop this approach outside of the university so that we are freed from bureaucracy and rigid structures but we keep it open to enrolled students and professors.

What are some particular strategies and methodologies that you adopt to engender this approach to urban practice? How do you involve local residents, for example?

That building of long-term relationships with communities is why we do a lot of walking. Our research questions are informed by the community and the site we arrive at – we do not predetermine hypotheses in advance. We remain in direct contact with different groups in the city and walk through these territories – with the neighbourhood association – not just once but every week. We listen to a lot of stories and record them. Oral histories are an important part of the ethnographic enquiry.

We also use mapping, a tool commonly used to exert power but that nature can be reversed. Through mapping we reclaim territories that have perhaps been “erased” – that is, transformed by injustice. We also map informal areas and then give those maps to the communities there because the way they appear on official plans often doesn’t reflect how things look on the ground. What looks like a carpark in the plan might be someone’s house; what’s represented as a commercial development might currently be a neighbourhood park or some other form of already existing social infrastructure.

In addition, we try to embed journalistic means within our academic interests, which is why we work with documentary journalists and photographers on each of our projects. We broadcast spatial justice news videos, in depth films that offer 8-10 minutes of reporting on a particular issue, giving it context and also pointing towards possible solutions. Solution journalism, which doesn’t just focus on crisis, is very important in the work we do.

As part of its work making spatial injustices visible, MAD publishes a wide range of materials. Which are the publics you try to communicate with through this?

Research has to be coupled with a conscious effort to communicate because you want to make change. We don’t want to make research for the sake of research or produce publications for the sake of publishing. We want to create those publics you allude to – and to influence them. We are addressing people involved in the discipline in its broadest sense: planners, architects, sociologists, activists, but perhaps most especially students who are interested in spatial issues, urban questions and environmental concerns. They are our main target. We want them to understand that their discipline has much more potential than what they are learning at university. I’m not saying the entire education system is wrong but there is much larger perspective beyond it and great potential for collaboration with other disciplines and engagement with different publics as well.

Another important public is the one directly involved with our work, i.e. the community that is being threatened by renewal projects. These groups are not only our public but also our patrons – we are obliged to be at their service and offer technical support, whether that’s recording a meeting with the mayor or analysing a plan together. Then there is the larger audience of broader society, who we hope to encourage to think of and engage with these issues of inequality and spatial justice.

I found an interesting quote on your webpage that says that the founding of MAD “is an invitation to understand the ordinary in an extraordinary global city context”. Can you talk a little about the urban context of Istanbul, Turkey and why the focus on the ordinary?

Everything about Istanbul is extraordinary: transformation, speed, scale. We are interested in making the ordinary visible because when we focus so much on the mega-projects, on the idea of the global city, then the rest of the city is made invisible. We look beyond the city centre – the façade – and beyond the mainstream, dominant discourse. This “ordinary” is the neighbourhood, nature and that which lies beyond the spectacle – other Turkish cities, for example. This approach can entail initiatives that range from historical urban gardening practices, working with informal neighbourhoods subject to eviction and relocation processes, or rural communities on the very eastern border currently threatened by new mine projects.

More specifically, today we live in an extraordinary state. The public arena is in a deep crisis and the democratic institutions and their processes do not really deserve our direct involvement right now. Having said that, there are different pockets within these systems, municipal authorities that operate differently, for example, and when we find these we work with them, but we remain realistic with regards to our limits. The “now” in Turkey has been lost in the sense that its relevance is not linked to the future beyond or to the next generation. That is a deep loss. But if you have the vision and the production means, if you set up a strong system, build the capacity first of yourself and then of the groups your work with, then when the right moment comes, all of these elements will flourish."
urban  urbanism  urbanplanning  cities  maps  mapping  neighborhoods  unschooling  deschooling  education  independence  lcproject  openstudioproject  justice  visibility  istanbul  turkey  ethnography  inquiry  erasure  injustice  infrastructure  socialinfrastructure  2018  rosariotalevi  speed  scale  transformation  walking  community  yasaradanali  space  placemaking  interconnectedness  interconnected  geography  interdisciplinary  crossdisciplinary  socialjustice  architecture  design  film  law  legal  filmmaking  journalism  rural  engagement 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Mapping LA-tinx Suburbia – Boom California
"One of the most famous attempts to describe Los Angeles depicts it as an enclave of communities without a focused core; a collective search for a pulse that does not exist. One version of this characterization suggests, “Los Angeles: seventy-two suburbs in search of a city.” Another narrows the scope: “nineteen suburbs in search of a metropolis.” Assigned to a series of writers, most famously Dorothy Parker, but also Aldous Huxley and H.L. Mencken, the words reverberate an anxiety about Angelenos’ collective experiences of space.[1] Pointing to the uniqueness of Los Angeles’s geography and topography, it also reveals the challenge of trying to capture the essence of a multi-nodal place with words alone. This essay examines how digital mapping can help to foreground localized knowledges of Los Angeles by introducing a pilot multimedia project called the Barrio Suburbanism Map.

In recent years, the digital-turn has birthed a new version of spatial musings similar to those of Parker, often in the form of maps. Rather than plotting points on a grid, digital mapping often combines practices of cartography, photography, narration, active revision, and public-orientation. These contemporary multimedia renderings demonstrate the continued active and critical searching for what it means to live in metropolitan Los Angeles. From this search, several questions emerge. Who decides what a place is called: barrio, suburb, neighborhood, ghetto, colonized territory? Where are its edges? How does a space become more than a location, but instead a site imbued with meaning? And, to whom? These questions move us beyond the iconic scene of Los Angeles produced from the studios of the Hollywood Hills to the lived experiences of space radiating out from Mariachi Plaza in Boyle Heights to the Tierra Mia coffee shop in Huntington Park. This essay explores how digital mapping might inform our understanding of metropolitan Los Angeles, both in the academy and beyond. Specifically, by pairing photographs with student ethnographies, the Barrio Suburbanism Map complicates popular perceptions of the suburbs as sites of homogeneity in order to reveal the dynamic diversity of suburbanization in multiracial Los Angeles, with a focus on Latinx communities.

Since the writings of 1920s social commentators, a range of urban historians, planners, creative writers, artists, and preservationists have created a wealth of scholarship and resources concerning Los Angeles and its suburbs: as bustling sites of working class identity, as spaces of queer sociability, and as areas of relocation for urban Chicanxs.[2] Yet, suburbs are habitually understood through the lenses of homeownership, whiteness, middle-class status, and conservatism in popular discourse. These depictions of suburbs eclipse the equally important histories of “triangular race relations” and “relational racialization” exemplified in places like Los Angeles, where complex interactions between race, class, and gender have accompanied the social segmentation of the metropolitan region.[3] Rather than a fixed set of characteristics, suburbia is networked, ever shifting, historically contingent, and defined by much more than political boundaries.[4]

This essay explores how digital mapping can function as an active means for engaging ongoing process of place-making, one that can offer unique contributions to both student learning and public engagement.[5] Beginning with a brief account of digital mapping projects in Greater Los Angeles, this essay provides a series of mosaics from one such project designed by the authors, the Barrio Suburbanism Map. A collaborative research project created by UCLA undergraduates in the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies, its aims are two-fold. First, it builds upon studies of the barrio and diverse suburbs to examine how these sites operate in multiracial and metropolitan contexts. Second, it foregrounds undergraduate research aimed at reaching a public audience through multimedia mapping. Piloted in an upper-division research seminar in the Winter of 2016, the project asks how Chicana/o and Latina/o populations have impacted the economic, social, and spatial contours of specific suburbs, with attention to how place-making and the built environment have changed over time."



"Through digital mapping, projects like the Barrio Suburbanism Map facilitate public-oriented research and student engagement in that process. By pairing photographs with student ethnographies, the map seeks to complicate popular perceptions of suburbia. It highlights the dynamic diversity of suburbanization in multiracial Los Angeles, with a focus on Latinx migration and settlement that aims to provoke critical discussion. In particular, it foregrounds how Latinx suburbanites impact the spatial and ideological contours of Greater Los Angeles. Rather than statistically driven mapping, these types of projects offer a more humanistic approach for interpreting space with the potential to train students in historical analysis. This is the first layer of an exponentially buildable platform. Future iterations, for instance, could introduce new layers to the present map that address labor history, housing prices, racial housing covenants, predatory lending, or fair housing activism, as well as artistic, literary, and architectural interventions in suburban spaces. As noted by the editors of Hypercities: Thick Mapping in the Digital Humanities, “thick maps are never finished and meanings are never definite… and give rise to forms of counter-mapping, alternative maps, multiple voices, and on-going contestations.” In this way, digital mapping offers a promising opportunity to develop pedagogical and public initiatives that are responsive to the changing conditions of the world we live in."
maps  mapping  losangeles  genevievecarpio  andyrutkowski  2017  digital  digitalhumanities  placemaking  chicanostudies  latinx  suburbs  sanfernando  boyleheights  highlandpark  lincolnheights  victorvalle  rodolfotorres  greatereastside  laurabarraclough  history  economics  politics  demographics  orangecounty  sangabrielvalley  sanfernandovalley  wendycheng  inlandempire  rosemead  baldwinpark  santaana  ontario 
july 2017 by robertogreco
crap futures — Back to nature
"We live on a remote island - mountainous, mid-Atlantic, still heavily forested and pretty wild - and for that reason nature sometimes sneaks into our otherwise technology-centred work. It is hard not to think local when you live in a place like this. We’re neither farmers nor pioneers - except in the sense that resident aliens on this island are few - but lately our reading has got us thinking about ancient paths and rural places. We’ll discuss the paths today and save most of the farm talk for a future post.

Paths v roads

In his 1969 essay ‘A Native Hill’, Wendell Berry - the American writer, farmer, activist, and ‘modern Thoreau’ - makes a useful distinction between paths and roads:
The difference between a path and a road is not only the obvious one. A path is little more than a habit that comes with knowledge of a place. It is a sort of ritual of familiarity. As a form, it is a form of contact with a known landscape. It is not destructive. It is the perfect adaptation, through experience and familiarity, of movement to place; it obeys the natural contours; such obstacles as it meets it goes around. A road, on the other hand … embodies a resistance against the landscape. Its reason is not simply the necessity for movement, but haste. Its wish is to avoid contact with the landscape. … It is destructive, seeking to remove or destroy all obstacles in its way.


Aside from conversation as usual, the reason we are talking about Berry is the arrival of a new film, Look & See, and a new collection of his writing, The World-Ending Fire, edited by Paul Kingsnorth of Dark Mountain Project fame. Berry and Kingsnorth, along with the economist Kate Raworth, were on BBC Radio 4’s Start the Week recently chatting about the coming apocalypse and how it might best be avoided. It is a fascinating interview: you can actually hear Berry’s rocking chair creaking and the crows cawing outside the window of his house in Port Royal, Kentucky.

The normally optimistic Berry agrees somewhat crankily to read ‘the poem that you asked me to read’ on the programme. ‘Sabbaths 1989’ describes roads to the future as going nowhere: ‘roads strung everywhere with humming wire. / Nowhere is there an end except in smoke. / This is the world that we have set on fire.’ Berry admits that this poem is about as gloomy as he gets (‘blessed are / The dead who died before this time began’). For the most part his writing is constructive: forming a sensual response to cold, atomised modernity; advocating for conviviality, community, the commonweal.

Paul Kingsnorth talks compellingly in the same programme about transforming protest into action, although in truth no one walks the walk like Berry. Kingsnorth says: ‘We’re all complicit in the things we oppose’ - and never were truer words spoken, from our iPhones to our energy use. In terms of design practice, there are worse goals than reducing our level of complicity in environmental harm and empty consumerism. Like Berry, Kingsnorth talks about paths and roads. He asks: ‘Why should we destroy an ancient forest to cut twelve minutes off a car journey from London to Southampton? Is that a good deal?’

It’s a fair question. It also illustrates perfectly what Berry was describing in the passage that started this post: the difference between paths that blend and coexist with the local landscape, preserving the knowledge and history of the land, and roads that cut straight through it. These roads are like a destructive and ill-fitting grid imposed from the centre onto the periphery, without attention to the local terrain or ecology or ways of doing things - both literally (in the case of energy) and figuratively.

Another book we read recently, Holloway, describes ancient paths - specifically the ‘holloways’ of South Dorset - in similar terms:
They are landmarks that speak of habit rather than of suddenness. Like creases in the hand, or the wear on the stone sill of a doorstep or stair, they are the result of repeated human actions. Their age chastens without crushing. They relate to other old paths & tracks in the landscape - ways that still connect place to place & person to person.


Holloways are paths sunk deep into the landscape and into the local history. Roads, in contrast, skip over the local - collapsing time as they move us from one place to the next without, as it were, touching the ground. They alienate us in our comfort.

Here in Madeira there are endless footpaths broken through the woods. Still more unique are the levadas, the irrigation channels that run for more than two thousand kilometres back and forth across the island, having been brought to Portugal from antecedents in Moorish aqueduct systems and adapted to the specific terrain and agricultural needs of Madeira starting in the sixteenth century.

Both the pathways through the ancient laurel forests and the centuries-old levadas (which, though engineered, were cut by hand and still follow the contours and logic of the landscape) contrast with the highways and tunnels that represent a newer feat of human engineering since the 1970s. During his controversial though undeniably successful reign from 1978 to 2015 - he was elected President of Madeira a remarkable ten times - Alberto João Jardim oversaw a massive infrastructure program that completely transformed the island. Places that used to be virtually unreachable became accessible by a short drive. His legacy, in part, is a culture of automobile dependency that is second to none. The American highway system inspired by Norman Bel Geddes’ (and General Motors’) Futurama exhibit at the 1939 New York World’s Fair almost pales in comparison to Jardim’s vision for the rapid modernisation of Madeira.

But when you walk the diesel-scented streets of the capital, or you drive through the holes bored deep into and out of towering volcanic mountains to reach the airport - and even when you think back in history and imagine those first settlers sitting in their ships as half the island’s forest burned, watching the dense smoke of the fires they lit to make Madeira favourable to human habitation - it’s hard not to think what a catastrophically invasive species are human beings.

Bespoke is a word we use a lot. In our vocabulary bespoke is not about luxury or excess - as it has been co-opted by consumer capitalism to suggest. Instead it is about tailored solutions, fitted to the contours of a particular body or landscape. Wendell Berry insists on the role of aesthetics and proportionality in his approach to environmentalism: the goal is not hillsides covered in rows of ugly solar panels, but an integrated and deep and loving relationship with the land. This insistence on aesthetics relates to the ‘reconfiguring’ principles that inform our newest work. The gravity batteries we’ve been building are an alternative not only to the imposed, top-down infrastructure of the grid, but also to the massive scale of such solutions and our desire to work with the terrain rather than against it.

Naomi Klein talked about renewable energy in these terms in an interview a couple of years ago:
If you go back and look at the way fossil fuels were marketed in the 1700s, when coal was first commercialized with the Watt steam engine, the great promise of coal was that it liberated humans from nature … And that was, it turns out, a lie. We never transcended nature, and that I think is what is so challenging about climate change, not just to capitalism but to our core civilizational myth. Because this is nature going, ‘You thought you were in charge? Actually all that coal you’ve been burning all these years has been building up in the atmosphere and trapping heat, and now comes the response.’ … Renewable energy puts us back in dialog with nature. We have to think about when the wind blows, we have to think about where the sun shines, we cannot pretend that place and space don’t matter. We are back in the world.


In a future post we will talk about the related subject of sustainable agriculture. But speaking of food - the time has come for our toast and coffee.
2017  crapfutures  wendellberry  paths  roads  madeira  bespoke  tailoring  audiencesofone  naomiklein  sustainability  earth  normanbelgeddes  albertojoãojardim  levadas  infrastructure  permanence  capitalism  energy  technology  technosolutionsism  1969  obstacles  destruction  habits  knowledge  place  placemaking  experience  familiarity  experientialeducation  kateraworth  paulkingsnorth  darkmountainproject  modernity  modernism  holloways  nature  landscape  cars  transportation  consumerism  consumercapitalism  reconfiguration  domination  atmosphere  environment  dialog  conviviality  community  commonweal  invasivespecies  excess  humans  futurama  ecology  canon  experientiallearning 
may 2017 by robertogreco
New Year's resolutions for architecture and design in 2017 by Will Wiles
"With 2016 coming to an end, Will Wiles doses out his New Year's resolutions for architecture and design in 2017, which include resisting the hygge trend and finally taking responsibility for the climate.

I suggested New Year's Resolutions for architecture and design at the end of 2015, and the response was great. So, one year later, I've made some more:

1. An end to TED's glib solutionism

Consider president-elect Donald Trump's proposed wall to keep out Mexico. It was the most consistent pledge he made during his precedent-smashing election campaign. Trump admitted that it was his secret rhetorical weapon for when he sensed a crowd was getting bored: "I just say, 'We will build the wall!' and they go nuts," he told the New York Times.

The wall is a strong pledge to make: it's a simple, easy-to-understand design solution to a perceived problem. It's also crass, offensive and impractical in the extreme, but that didn't matter to the target audience. They got it. They went nuts.

There was a lot of this in 2016, the year zealots of various stripes promised to sweep away the knotted, stifling problems of globalisation with no more than a wave of the tiny hand. Build the wall, make America great again, drain the swamp, vote leave, take back control.

Architecture and design, which is well populated with experts and systems-thinkers, might regard itself as being apart from all this. But, in fact, one of the throbbing nerve centres of the post-expert, hand-wave era lies closer than you might think: TED, the wildly popular talks series.

TED, of course, presents itself as a hub of expertise and intelligence. And in criticising TED, I don't mean to denigrate the vast majority of its speakers, or to imply that TED equals Trump, or anything so dim. It's the format that's the problem, and the kind of intellectual legerdemain it encourages.

TED is the golden cap of the yaddering pyramid of hackism: that every wicked problem has a nifty workaround or backdoor, that it's all got a glib little design solution that'll bypass all the waffle and the smoke, and make everything OK. Ted Everyman, outsider genius, has cracked the problem that has the eggheads stumped, and it was so simple.

Trump's wall is very TED. So is his insistence that generic "smartness" on his part means that he can do without the expert advice previous presidents have relied upon, such as intelligence briefings.

The trouble for democratic opposition to these forces is that complexity and intractability make for very unenticing messages. Even more problematic is the fact that "it's complicated, let us experts handle it" is the way the globalist managerial class has ushered in many of the problems that Trump and others now claim to have solved.

Where architecture and design might be able to make a difference in the coming months is by shunning hackism and solutionism, and demonstrating instead its remarkable ability to research, explore and expose.

2. Take personal responsibility for the climate

With Trump's administration stuffed full of climate-change deniers and oil men, concerted international state action to address the warming planet looks unlikely. Worse, existing measures, such as the Paris Agreement that came into force this year, might be in peril. American leadership isn't essential for progress on the climate, but its active obstruction and wrecking of vital research could be a disastrous setback when renewed effort is needed.

The abdication of governments from climate action serves, at least, as a reminder that they can't be relied upon to enforce change. The long-awaited economic breakthrough of renewable energy has at last arrived: solar is now the word's cheapest form of energy. Simple economic forces might now drive down carbon emissions while national governments are preoccupied. Texas, a place strongly associated with oil and gas, now gets as much as half of its electricity from wind, and is anticipating a solar boom. China may also be a source of surprises.

These are changes that may yet halt the incipient climate catastrophe: not grandiose treaty-signing, but aggregated individual decisions. Be part of it in what you make and build.

3. Health warnings for the whimsy

Another Trump-related one, sadly. Trump's victory has also sparked a debate over so-called "fake news": the growing welter of misinformation, disinformation and scurrilous falsehood online. This risks crowding out more reliable sources of information and overwhelming civil society's already overtaxed critical faculties.

Again, you might wonder what that has to do with architecture and design. But of course architecture and design has a long history of generating its own "fake news" in the form of the more fanciful speculative proposals and vapourware.

There's nothing wrong with speculation, paper architecture and design fictions, of course – they're all useful endeavours and we'd be hugely poorer without them. It suits architecture and design to propose their own forms, as well as to simply deliver the proposals of others.

Even the grubbier end of that kind of activity isn't inherently bad. Here I'm talking about the completely senseless floating lilypad cities or vertical farms that get pitched out as blog-fodder for no practical purpose than showing off a designer's rendering skills and get their name about. They probably belong on Deviantart rather than Dezeen, but no one's harmed.

Really what's needed is appropriate labelling: making it clear what is speculation for the purposes of debate, what's a real proposal that's seeking backers, what might actually have a chance of actually appearing, and what's just a bit of hey-look-at-me fun. That's where the ethics get murky. Remember that Chinese straddling bus concept that turned out to be little more than a scam? Or that kooky London Garden Bridge concept that also turned out to be little more than a scam. Whimsy can be costly, people!

But seriously, knock it off with the floating cities and the vertical farms.

4. Leave "hygge" in 2016

Financial Times critic Edwin Heathcote has already done a sterling job of debunking hygge, the ubiquitous pseudo-Scandinavian lifestyle craze. Like many ubiquitous lifestyle crazes, it's a subtle blend of total common sense (fires are nice in winter) and complete balderdash.

Anyway, it's upon us now and resistance is futile – the tie-in books have already been given as presents, and they already sit amid the Christmas wreckage of many, many living rooms. And I'm sure they look harmless enough. So it's time for a word of warning.

The Guardian's Charlotte Higgins has already shown how hygge was confected within the publishing industry. I think the part played by architecture and design has been understated, though. For a start, the sector has done much to import interest in Scandinavian lifestyles by importing lots of Scandinavian people. No one in their right mind would think this was anything other than a tremendous boon, and I can only apologise to my Scandinavian friends and colleagues for the way Britain is presently making a travesty of their culture. That, and Brexit.

Let's not do hygge urbanism. The temptation will be strong, and you must resist
It truly has been a terrible year. Architecture – specifically, architecture publishing – was also making something of a fetish of things hygge before hygge was a thing, with its recent boom in cabins and log piles. I attribute this more to an interest in consumer survivalism, rather than Danish culture, but nevertheless "cabin porn" was very much the gateway.

Anyway, here's the warning. Already, thoughts will be turning to next year's endeavours, and fun ways to present them to the public. The eye will blearily cast around the living room for ideas. Thanks to architects from Jan Gehl to Bjarke Ingels, the Danish way of making cities is already rightly praised and emulated. But let's not do hygge urbanism. The temptation will be strong, and you must resist. No hygge placemaking. I beg of you. Just don't."

[via "These resolutions from @WillWiles are all worth considering, especially the one that equates Speculative Design and Fake News."
https://twitter.com/sevensixfive/status/815242847095951361

"There's a subtle but not so subtle difference between projects that are intended as critique, click bait, or outright hoax.

The hoax, as @bruces says, is in the territory of the Black Arts, and almost always maliciously and dangerously deployed.

I say this as someone whose proposal to launch manatees into space was reposted w/ straight seriousness by the Daily Mail & their commenters

The project, intended as critique (&, to be honest, clickbait!) was weaponized by DM, in the genre of "goofy eggheads wasting tax dollars""
ted  tedtalks  solutionism  climatechange  2016  2017  willwiles  architecture  design  hackism  government  governance  policy  economics  energy  renewableenergy  fakenews  news  media  specualtivedesign  fredscharmen  brucesterling  hoaxes  clickbait  critique  hygge  responsibility  speculation  whimsy  edwinheathcote  charlottehiggins  scandinavia  fetishes  publishing  cabinporn  bjarkeingels  jangehl  hyggeurbanism  urban  urbanism  placemaking 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Our cities should be "machines of play" | CityMetric
"Le Corbusier famously defined houses as machines for living in: carefully constructed systems that would efficiently help us live. Following that line of thought, he claimed that carefully planned cities, composites of machines for living, would actually lead to a better, more humane urban environment.

In some ways, our modern western cities are somehow thought of, or dreamt of, as postmodern interpretations of Le Corbusier’s ideals. We want our cities to be planned, rehabilitated, open spaces for pleasure as well as productive machines for commerce and innovation. We dream of our cities as being efficient machines of inclusion, environmentally friendly and both forward looking and aware of their past.

But these cities are not very well oiled machines – unless, of course, you’re wealthy. The humane interface of the machine is only available to few, at the expense of the many who can barely scrap a living together in these urban spaces. Our cities have become politically determined zoned areas, corporate gardens through which we transit, but not stay.

Our model of the citizen has also changed. In this era of big data, to be a citizen of a modern city is to be a data provider. Modern cities have become hungry machines that squeeze from all of us all possible data to paint a picture of who inhabits them. The portrait of the modern citizen is a pointillist image made of countless data entries, from addresses to spending habits, framed by the city as the backdrop of what we call “living”.

The spaces of the city machines are highly regulated, with constant refreshers of norms and regulations about their appearance, style, and how citizens, or maybe users, should behave. The ways of traversing cities are also highly regulated, disallowing other forms of transportation than those deemed relevant, possibly, beneficial.

And yet, there are glitches in these machines. The skateboarders and “traceurs”, who see the open spaces of corporate parks and plazas as the perfect settings for athletic performance and just plain fun. The graffiti artists that know there is no better canvas than that paid for by a rich hand, the playful vandals that destroy CCTV cameras in the weird, poignant game of Camover. None of them resist order: rather they create new orders, new spaces of possibility, through play.

This is why making playable cities matters: it is an effort to make these machines human again. To play is to appropriate the world for our own personal expression, within boundaries we set. To play is the fundamentally human act of exploring not only the “what ifs”, but also the “what if nots”, searching joyfully for a space for expression, together with others.

That’s why making cities playable is also making cities livable – making the “public” corporate spaces truly public, spaces to meet across cultures and races and incomes to do what we can best do together: to play, and be playful.

Playable cities can help us rethink big data through toys and playgrounds, giving us the opportunity to reclaim our data. Playable cities allow us to play hide and seek with the restless datavore machine, potentially educating us on what big data actually means, and how to survive it.

Making cities playable won’t solve all of our urbanism problems. But like play theorist Brian Sutton-Smith once said, “Life is crap, and it’s full of pain and suffering, and the only thing that makes it worth living — the only thing that makes it possible to get up in the morning and go on living — is play.”

So let’s make our cities open for play: play as joyous revolt, as constructive resistance, as spaces for moments of joy. Let’s turn cities into collective instruments for pleasure and resistance. Let’s turn cities into machines for playing."
play  cities  urban  urbanism  lecorbusier  miguelsicart  2015  skating  skateboards  skateboarding  placemaking  briansutton-smith  resistance  pleasure  pakour 
march 2015 by robertogreco
Sextant Works - Not Know Because Not Looked For
"Sextant Works (formerly Wanderlust Projects) is an experience design collaboration between N.D. Austin and Ida C. Benedetto.

We practice transgressive placemaking through adventure, intimacy, and exploration."
placemaking  psychogeography  exploration  adventure  idabenedetto  ndaustin  wanderlustprojects  art  experience  place  place-based  place-basededucation  place-basedlearning  place-basedpedagogy 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Floating Library
"The Floating Library is a pop-up, mobile device-free public space aboard the historic Lilac Museum Steamship berthed at Pier 25 on the Hudson River in New York City for September 6- October 3, 2014. The people-powered library is initiated by artist Beatrice Glow and brings together over seventy participants to fortify a space for critical cultural production by pushing boundaries under the open skies that are conducive to fearless dreaming.The ship’s main deck will be transformed into an outdoor reading lounge to offer library visitors a range of reading materials from underrepresented authors, artist books, poetry, manifestoes, as well as book collection, that, at the end of the lifecycle of the project, will be donated to local high school students with demonstrated need. Ongoing art installations include a Listening Room that will feature new works by six sound artists in response to literature, site-specific paper rope swings, The Line, by Amanda Thackray, and Leading Lights by Katarina Jerinic in the Pilot House.

During this action-packed month, there is free public programming with over twenty roundtables, performances and workshops that will shine a spotlight on maker culture, DIY politics, sustainability issues and community engagement.Some highlights include bookmaking with Center for Book Arts and Small Editions, a modular furniture building workshop with Reid Bingham, live recording session with HeritageRadioNetwork, a Sensory Walk Workshop with the Movement Party, Lighght Reading with Ugly Duckling Presse, a multimedia sound performance by Pauchi Sasaki in the Petty Officer’s Room – a space akin to being inside the belly of a whale—, and SeaChange: We All Live Downstream ( a participatory voyage initiated by Mare Liberum and 350.org) will disembark onboard for three days of office hours after traveling for three-weeks on small boats made of paper connecting climate change activists along the Hudson.

Through collective placemaking, the Floating Library intends to recodify how we occupy public spaces by bringing activities that are typically confined within privileged institutional walls— such as reading, writing, researching, questioning and debating—to open space. Resituating these activities to the public sphere is a proposal to dismantle the unequal distribution of knowledge/power. Given the Lilac is America's only surviving steam-powered lighthouse tender and is undergoing restoration, orchestrating the Floating Library aboard an industrial archaeological artifact draws parallels with the balancing act we collectively perform to navigate uncertain times and shifting currents. The project intends to catalyze cultural momentum and foment future coalitions between artists, visionaries, cultural activists and scholars that will outlive the temporary library structure.

While libraries are temples to worship ideas and knowledge production, they have also contributed to social stratification as print culture invented the literate class that possesses esoteric knowledge/power. The Floating Library hopes to catalyze the dismantling of this hierarchy by making education more accessible through free workshops and roundtables that encourage horizontal exchange, stretch the social imagination, and cultivate a public space dedicated to scholarship. The library will engage the public as a laboratory that brainstorms, identifies, develops and experiments with modalities to activate art and education as progressive research for socio-political transformation.

Historically, coffee houses and salons have served as rehearsal spaces for intellectual and cultural movements. Yet, in New York we have lost such places where one can read or converse without loud music, a customer carrying on a phone conversation aloud, and keyboard chatter. Public green spaces are going extinct. Reading on the subway is claustrophobic. Our apartments are chicken coops. We have the Public Library, but the indoor space regulates and censors our behavior and thoughts. Given this dilemma, Floating Library intervenes as an expanded site for participatory practice and civic engagement. It is an antidote to the disappearance of mental and physical space in the increasingly urbanized and cyberized world.

To enjoy this unplugged zone, library visitors will power-off their mobile devices and vow to respect quiet space. There will also be designated spaces for Reading, Writing & Drawing, Dialogue, Scanning, and Listening. The ship’s main deck will host a quiet reading ambience. Readers can BYOB (Bring Your Own Book) or browse the library.

The library afloat on water is always on the verge to sail into the distance just as books contain the magic to transport our minds to unknown terrains. A reader is a dreamer/traveler/pirate as to open a book is to embark on an adventure into the wider world as well as dive deeper into oneself. Given this, the Floating Library celebrates boats and books to map a path towards a waking life, self-organization, citizen autonomy and fertile imagination."
libraries  floating  boats  nyc  pop-ups  steamships  2014  floatinglibrary  placemaking  publicspaces  socialstratification  knowledge  power  scholarship  publiclibraries  reading 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Rebuild Foundation
"Rebuild Foundation catalyzes neighborhood revitalization through artistic practices, individual empowerment and community engagement. We accomplish this by:

Activating underutilized spaces in the community with arts and cultural programming.

Providing opportunities and spaces for neighbors to come together and engage in meaningful exchanges that spark collaborative action.

Empowering artists and creative individuals to realize their potential as community change agents.

Investing in the development of the skills and talents of local residents to catalyze entrepreneurial efforts."



"Rebuild Foundation, a not-for-profit creative engine focused on cultural-driven redevelopment and affordable space initiatives in under-resourced communities, currently manages projects in Chicago, St. Louis and Omaha. Our programs enlist teams of artists, architects, developers, educators, community activists, and residents who work together to integrate the arts, apprenticeship trade training and creative entrepreneurship into a community-driven process of neighborhood transformation. Rebuild engages an artistic practice which uses as its medium the urban fabric of under-resourced districts, bridging the creation of art with adaptive reuse of abandoned spaces and community-driven initiatives for neighborhood revitalization.

Rebuild Foundation is the creation of Chicago native, artist, urban planner, and Wall Street Journal 2012 Innovator of the Year, Theaster Gates, Jr. who has conducted innovative renovation of unused spaces and community service activities through his art practice since 2005. Rebuild received its official 501©3 status in December 2010, and immediately continued Gates’ work leveraging creative community resources to build thriving neighborhoods. We act as a catalyst in local economies by integrating arts and cultural programming, workforce enhancement, creative entrepreneurial investment, hands-on education, and artistic intervention. Rebuild began creating cultural programming in Gates' renovated and repurposed buildings first in the Greater Grand Crossing neighborhood of Chicago’s South Side. Next, Rebuild established operations in the Hyde Park neighborhood of St. Louis, activating two residential spaces of Gates'. Soon after, Rebuild entered a partnership with Beyond Housing to establish a programming hub from one of their neighborhood spaces in the north St. Louis community of Pagedale. Also in 2011, Rebuild began a partnership with the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha to activate a derelict bank building with renovation, arts programming, and the incubation of a local small business.

Rebuild hosted the 2012 Bruner Loeb Forum "The Art of Placemaking" conference and will break ground on the Dorchester Artist Housing Collaborative in 2013 with the Chicago Housing Authority, transforming an empty housing project into a 36-unit complex with mixed income housing and a community arts center for programming, performance, and arts exhibition.

Rebuild Foundation has received funding support from ArtPlace, Creative Capital Foundation, JB and MK Pritzker Foundation, Kanter Family Foundation, Kresge Foundation, Surdna Foundation, Leveraging Investments in Creativity, W. Clement & Jessie V. Stone Foundation, University of Chicago, and others."
chicago  art  artists  theastergates  rebuildfoundation  revitalization  community  participatory  neighborhoods  activism  collaboration  omaha  stlouis  place  placemaking 
july 2014 by robertogreco
El campo de cebada | Vecinas y vecinos del Distrito Centro de Madrid, agrupados para fomentar el uso temporal del solar del derribado polideportivo de La Latina.
"… cultivando ideas para este espacio vacio.

Somos vecinos y vecinas del Distrito Centro agrupados, para fomentar el uso temporal del solar del derribado polideportivo de La Latina, durante el tiempo en el que las obras previstas para su nuevo uso urbanistíco no se lleven a cabo; se prevee que pasen años antes de que esto ocurra y no queremos un espacio vacío y abandonado en el centro de Madrid. Creemos en el disfrute del espacio público frente a los espacios ofrecidos por entidades privadas, en donde el dialogo y las relaciones sociales entre vecin€s apenas se dan.

La intención es que el solar de cabida a todo tipo de propuestas/actividades/proyectos de tipo cultural, social, artistíco, deportivo… para el uso y disfrute de las personas del barrio y de Madrid.

Queremos ser los propios vecinos los que participemos en las decisiones de las actividades y proyectos a desarrollar, gestionando con responsabilidad el uso del espacio y fomentando el encuentro y las relaciones sociales entre todos. Creemos que este espacio debe ser disfrutado y compartido entre todos: vecin@s, comerciantes, colectivos y asociaciones del barrio."

[via: Can you smell what I'm brewing, beloved? Mate these 3 things: http://www.untothislast.co.uk/ http://www.institutforx.dk/ http://elcampodecebada.org/ Wildcat production in the city center! Things made for use! Lifelong skills training! A feeling of pride in using what one has made!

https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/452873190432579584
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/452873398608486400
https://twitter.com/agpublic/status/451765570028179456 ]
spain  españa  madrid  openstudioproject  lcproject  placemaking  elcampodecebada 
april 2014 by robertogreco
SAGE: Spatial Questions: Cultural Topologies and Social Spatialisation: Rob Shields: 9781848606654
"Our understanding of space is crucial to the way in which we understand major social problems and issues and the way we develop and maintain our worldviews.

Building from a history of philosophical and geographical theories of space, Shields convincingly presents the importance of spatialisation and cultural topology in social theory and the possibilities that lie within these theoretical tools.

Innovative and thought-provoking, this book goes beyond traditional ideas of spatiality and temporality to understand the multiplicity of spatialisations and relate them to everyday life."

[Sample: http://www.uk.sagepub.com/upm-data/56835_Shields__spatial_questions.pdf ]

"The ill-defined concept of ‘space’ itself presents an immediate problem. ‘What space is’ is of universal social interest and the topic of some of the most historic knowledge projects and texts produced by human cultures. How is space known? How might we take stock of our spatial knowledges, placemaking and spatial practices across cultures? What are the elements of a topology of space? If history and geography have a descriptive bias, a genealogy of space would go in a different direction, attempting to avoid describing within an unquestioned framework, while critically exposing the conditions for discourses on space and the framing effect of spaces. A ‘critical topology’ might take this even further, to ask how different formations or orders of spacing might coexist and not succeed but modify or warp each other. Borrowing from the insights of mathematics and theoretical physics, it would deploy a spatial method: a dynamic, set-based and topological rather than stratified approach. This book develops a ‘cultural topology’ as a critical theory and method for social science and geography by considering the recurrent quality of orders of spacing and placing – what I will call ‘spatialisations’. These will be presented as ‘virtualities’: intangible but real entities. Cultural cases, including the history of philosophies of space, will be used to illustrate the diversity of social spatialisations and their impacts."



"The first geographers are mythographers then travellers; their books are
histories then atlases."



"The argument presented over the course of a review of the nature of space as spatialisation and the history of theories and cultural representations of space, is that we require a set of theoretical tools to analyse multiple spatialisations at the same time. We need to be able to also analyse these as time-spaces: flows of matter, time and energy, not to mention interests, ideas and bodies. This toolset is provisionally referred to as cultural topology. We need to be able to work with our everyday three-dimensional interactive environment, at the same time as understanding what new media theorists have called an ‘augmented reality’ of digital representations and wider socalled ‘spaces of flows’. Non propinquitous communities of practice and networks of influence and inscription have material effects. These are not merely socially constructed but will be argued to be real if not actual or tangible to the body. Other space-times, other dimensions enter the sensorium of the local. Explanations that cast situations predominantly in one sole spatialisation are doomed to incompleteness. We need to seek the topological coordination and entraining of multiple spatialisations around situations or events, futures and pasts."

[via: https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/366870302493388802 and
https://twitter.com/annegalloway/status/366870829029523456 ]

"Rob Shields' new book on "flows of matter, time and energy, not to mention interests, ideas and bodies." (Rob was my PhD supervisor. I learnt an awful lot from him.)"
via:anne  robshields  mapping  maps  geography  spaces  topologies  spatialization  culture  philosophy  spatiality  temporality  culturaltopology  placemaking  time  space 
august 2013 by robertogreco
Fighting Crime With Architecture in Medellín, Colombia - NYTimes.com
"city’s transformation established roots before…Fajardo took office, in thoughtful planning guidelines, amnesties & antiterrorism programs, community-based initiatives by Germany & UN &…Colombian national policy mandating architectural interventions as a means to attack poverty & crime.

…every mayor here has to have enormous architectural & infrastructural plans, or risk coming across as small-minded or an outsider.

…Empresas Públicas de Medellín…constitutionally mandated to provide clean water & electricity even to houses in the city’s illegal slums, so that unlike in Bogotá, where the worst barrios lack basic amenities, in Medellín there’s a safety net.

E.P.M.’s profits…go directly to building new schools, public plazas, the metro & parks.

“We took a view that everything is interconnected — education, culture, libraries, safety, public spaces,”

…goal of government should be providing rich and poor with the same quality education, transportation and public architecture…"
moravia  planb  jprcr  anaelviravélez  lorenzocastro  alejandrobernal  felipemesa  camilorestrepo  rogeliosalmona  conservation  catalinaortiz  normanfoster  slums  giancarlomazzanti  comuna13  epm  aníbalgaviria  chocó  chocano  bogotá  alejandroecheverri  transmobility  equality  transportation  schools  education  libraries  parks  architecture  policty  government  urban  urbanism  crimeprevention  placemaking  2012  sergiofajardo  colombia  medellin  medellín 
august 2012 by robertogreco
ON THE QUICKENING OF HISTORY
"Writer and urbanist Brendan Crain writes about the role of new digital tools in preservation efforts. In the existing conflict between preserving buildings to slow the process of loss and the dynamic nature of people, digital layers can maintain a sense of urgency around long-passed events that lend the built environment much of its import."
2012  yelp  placemaking  place  london  nyc  digitalanthropology  geolocation  geotagging  streetmuseum  museumwithoutwalls  historypin  cultureNOW  junaio  layar  digitallayers  digital  socialmedia  history  curation  atemporality  storytelling  architecture  now  urbanism  urban  buildings  preservation  brendancrain 
february 2012 by robertogreco
Theaster Gates
"Theaster Gates is an artist and cultural planner. In his performances, installations, and urban interventions, Gates transforms spaces, institutions, traditions, and perceptions.

Gates’s training as an urban planner and sculptor, and subsequent time spent studying clay, has given him keen awareness of the poetics of production and systems of organizing. Playing with these poetic and systematic interests, Gates has assembled gospel choirs, formed temporary unions, and used systems of mass production as a way of underscoring the need that industry has for the body.

When Theaster is not making art for museums, he is committed to the restoration of poor neighborhoods, converting abandoned buildings into cultural spaces that allow not only new cultural moments to happen in unexpected places, but raising the city’s expectations of where “place-making” happens and why."
placemaking  culture  installation  space  place  lcproject  restoration  performance  chicago  urbaninterventions  glvo  theastergates  urbanplanning  urbanism  urban  art 
december 2011 by robertogreco
Quality of Place + Quality of Opportunity = ArtPlace « Art Works
"The old approach to economic development was to send the team out to bag the buffalo and drag it back home. It was all about relocation. But that game has just about played itself out. Do enough of it and there are no buffaloes left to bag—or they are all headed to Vietnam.

What we know now is that economic development emerges from local assets. From the conditions that develop, attract and retain talent. From conditions that encourage creativity and connections. From conditions that encourage diversity of people and ideas and the mash-up of those ideas.

That’s what creative placemaking is really about…putting your local assets to work fully…"
carolcoletta  artplace  place  local  art  glvo  grants  funding  economics  nationalendowmentforthearts  economicdevelopment  development  lcproject  placemaking  arts  community 
october 2011 by robertogreco
A Commitment to the Arts That Will Transform Communities « Art Works
"Artists and cultural institutions have a unique ability to kick-start local economies, create jobs, and attract new businesses. We now know that more inclusive communities—urban and rural, places that welcome a diversity of ideas and people—grow faster than cities that do not. We now know that places with thriving arts communities and facilities grow faster than those that don’t have promising cultural assets. Art is not a luxury; art is a precondition to success in a world increasingly driven by creativity and innovation."
nea  nationalendowmentforthearts  artplace  fordfoundation  2011  funding  grants  glvo  local  place  economicdevelopment  economics  community  creativity  luisubiñas  culture  lcproject  innovation  placemaking 
october 2011 by robertogreco
ArtPlace
"ArtPlace is a collaboration of top national foundations, the National Endowment for the Arts and various federal agencies to accelerate creative placemaking across the U.S.…

ArtPlace believes that art, culture and creativity expressed powerfully through place can create vibrant communities, thus increasing the desire and the economic opportunity for people to thrive in place. It is all about the local.

ArtPlace periodically awards grants to organizations doing groundbreaking work in creative placemaking."
art  nea  nationalendowmentforthearts  funding  grants  lcproject  place  placemaking  local  livability  arts  economics  glvo  community  artplace 
october 2011 by robertogreco
Local Projects: Change by Us
"This project is an evolution of Local Projects’ successful Give A Minute (giveaminute.info) initiative, already underway in Chicago and Memphis. Change by Us aims to invite ideas for civic solutions, intelligently form project groups, and effectively connect groups with resources to bring their ideas to life. Change By Us functions as "a social network for civic activity." Using both text messaging and the site itself, New Yorkers can submit ideas for a more sustainable city. Based on those ideas, the site then connects visitors, and invites them into project groups. Project groups can then easily form connections to existing city resources and community organizations that can help them achieve their goal. Change By Us launches in limited beta form on April 21, 2011—the eve of Earth Day—with the question, “Hey NYC, How can we make our city a greener, better place to live?”"
change  crowdsourcing  placemaking  social  socialnetworking  ceosforcities  local  nyc  grassroots  activism  community  civics  civicengagement  chicago  memphis  changebyus  localprojects  sustainability  urban  urbanism  cities  urbanplanning 
may 2011 by robertogreco
The Collaborative Placemaking Facilitators are Present (with snacks) - a set on Flickr
"photographs commissioned for eric leshinsky, c. ryan patterson, and fred scharmen for their participatory work "The Collaborative Placemaking Facilitators are Present (with snacks)," part of "Evergreen Commons" at the 2010 Evergreen Biennale." [See also: http://friendsofevergreencommons.com/ AND http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/05/13/AR2010051301849.html AND http://www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/arts/bal-art-evergreen-simultaneous-presence-photos,0,7320835.photogallery ]

[via: http://twitter.com/sevensixfive/status/17543588478 ]
baltimore  architecture  sculpture  placemaking  fredscharmen  ericleshinsky  cryanpatterson  participatory  glvo  art  ncm  participatoryart 
july 2010 by robertogreco

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