Kees Christiaanse on open cities and designing coexistence

“What works is that you carefully analyze what are the forces that produce urban activity, and then you create urban design structures that can function as breeding grounds.  For example, you make a kind of “print plate” on which the urban activity / buildings and amenities can grow, this is also more open ended…   

And it’s definitely so that we cannot do social engineering as architects…  We cannot change society, but we can definitely make structures that stimulate or de-stimulate a productive coexistence.”    Kees Christiaanse   (6:18 – 7:00)

ac + ep + mw / w4 / open cities

we need ambiguous spaces!

It is vital that the built environment be in tune with the people who live in it, according to New York Times chief architectural critic Michael Kimmelman

…. “People sought out public spaces to be with other people. They gathered in clusters to reveal themselves to themselves and to prove that they were part of a larger community,” he said. This reaffirmation of belonging to a community is something that will always elude online communication, he contended.

Among the public spaces Kimmelman cited as epitomizing the “power of place,” was Zuccotti Park in lower Manhattan, where the Occupy Wall Street protesters encamped for many weeks last fall. As people took up residence there, it was like a whole new city was emerging, he observed. Make-shift shops, restaurants, a library, and even a center for occupants to recharge the batteries of their laptops and cell-phones quickly evolved out of the human gathering.

People were creating a vision of community out of common ground,” noted the critic. He marvelled how these new “settlers” could carve out so many different purposes from the empty park in the heart of the financial district.

We need ambiguous spaces,” he said. “Public space has to be occupied and used.

-Interview with Michael Kimmelman 

ac + ep +mw / week 4 / ambiguous spaces

Inhabiting the anthropocene

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Pierre Huyghe – Streamside

“Streamside is a little town, north of New York. It was under construction when I found it, and I created—or invented—a tradition for it. I was interested in the notion of celebration, and what it means to celebrate. I tried to find a story within the context of the local situation, looking for what the people there had in common. I found something basic: they all came from somewhere else and encountered nature. I invented a kind of score, a scripted program, and I filmed that—all these people traveling to experience what they think is wilderness. In fact, it’s a wilderness that’s a total construct, rebuilt by man for four hundred years. So, I started the film with a re-enactment of the beginning of Bambi, with the deer going from nature to this new town. And then you have two little girls who go from the town to nature. And that is the basis of the tradition I created. But that’s not what really interested me. I was interested in creating a ritual that the people in the town would actually celebrate because it’s based on what they share.” – Pierre Huyghe

a.c. + e.p. + m.w. / w2 / citation