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