space + place #44 – more than buildingsWe explore the role of architecture as a response to the social and cultural fibre of a city. From the Museum of Modern Art in New York, we hear from the Curator of Contemporary Architecture, Pedro Gadanho, as he describes the current exhibition: Uneven Growth: Tactical Urbanisms for Expanding Megacities.
The show features design solutions that resulted from collaborative research and architectural practices seeking insight into the urban concerns of exploding population and inequality in cities. How might architecture respond to the physical and social injustice in a city? Some ideas are forward-thinking decades into the future with alternatives to energy, power, and water. There are islands of surplus junk, land trusts, and a local development bank. The exhibition is not short on alternatives. The result is a fresh look at design’s role in contributing to a pre-figured future for Hong Kong, Istanbul, Lagos, Mumbai, New York City, and Rio de Janeiro.
We also hear from the non-profit CoHabitation Strategies, a Rotterdam and New York based practice that is focused on the social relationships that influence the environments we inhabit. Researching the challenges to affordable housing, Miguel Robles-Duran and colleague Lucia Babina lay out the systemic complexities of the present day urban affordability. Taking an approach they refer to as “socio-spatial”, their solutions reveal alternatives like Cooperative Housing Trusts or a review of the perceived value of land ownership.
Lucia Babina also describes an earlier project she was part of, called The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour. It was a community garden and kitchen in Amsterdam that both filled a void in the built environment and served as example of informal movements in cities. Babina was part of the Wilde Westen group at the time, and the collaboration with artist/architect Marjetica potrc seeded the project that would serve meals and grow food in a community facing development transition.