Think Public Space SECOND ROUND
Work title: Tammela - Temporary uses in urban regeneration
URBAN CULTURE - THE NEW NORDIC IDENTITY
Recently the placemaking movement from local initiatives engages different sub-communities, embraces diverse sub-cultures, and reinvents vibrant urban life in the existing urban spaces. Urban culture becomes a strong Nordic identity for public spaces. In Finland, there are recent successful urban activism practices. For example, Restaurant Day started out in 2011 from Helsinki and has spread to more than 50 countries. Cleaning Day has transformed cities into big flea markets since May 2012. These events have become so popular that everyone has mostly attended one. Everyone can easily register and organise their own restaurant or garage sale point in these events. These one-day festivals reclaim the cities and unveil passive and hidden social connections into active communities.
Moreover, urban activism marks the shift from institutional citizenship to an active position. Citizenship is something you have to practice not instantly posses. These urban events bring down the democracy to the level of everyday life. Attending a block party is not partying, but participating. This is the meaning of real democracy, when people can claim for their citizenship in their everyday environment. Nordic public spaces serve as democratic spaces with informal atmosphere and informal co- existence.
However, mixing urban culture and citizenship imposes some risks on organization. It relates to the civic duty in public spaces, when the right of an individual does not affect another one. Besides, the physical surroundings also matter the precondition for some specific urban activities. To plan these informally self- organized events, we need to answer basic questions about when, where and how. For that reason, it is relevant to have an alternative framework or methodology integrating all social, cultural, spatial and organizational aspects in a whole. By all accounts, that alternative approach prioritises the human factors and interaction in public spaces. With this shift of thinking from the form to process, architects expand their working field and apply alternative tools to design a process for life, not a ‘beautiful’ plan in the drawings.
The chosen site is Tammela, a historical district for workers next to the center of Tampere, the biggest inland city in Nordic countries. Nowadays, the railway separates Tammela to the lively center of Tampere. For a future vibrant center, civic activities will evolve fresh and vital colours to the urban canvas, strengthening the role of public life in Tammela and connecting the under-used district to the center.
MODERNISTIC DEVELOPMENT IN 60’S
Tammela underwent the major change in the 1960-70’s with the ideology of wel¬fare state. People have equal right and access to public services. Old town quarter has a beautiful streetscape, but the miserable living conditions behind. The wooden block faced the problem of housing hygiene and the fire safety. However this modernization kills the social interaction at the street level and in-between spaces. The architectural elements became stereotyped and coarse. There was excessive dependency on car use and the characterless, monotonous vacant public space in-between housing blocks.
MONOTONOUS RHYTHM ALONG THE STREET
The monofunctional idea of modernist was further reflected in the monotonous spatial rhythms. Nowadays the parking lots dominant the ground floor. The blind concrete on the ground closes the social interaction between neighbours. Moreover it hinders the integration of a building to the surroundings. Public space serves merely as an extent from the indoor space, with mono-function.
• The analysis reconceptualises the given public space into inter-related dimensions: social dimension, spatial dimension and network of actors.
• The prototypes provide the good practices and case studies for further discussion.
• The strategic design orientates further actions, containing both physical interventions and temporary events.
• Multi-parties work on some specific cases and scenarios.
• The design output is process approached. It includes action plan, strategies and scenarios. The action plan reveal all potentials. In The Temporary City, Bishop and Williams argue, design is not any more three-, but four-dimensional,it has to take into account phasing strategies, plan the temporal as well as the physical.
BUILDING COMMON GROUND
In Tammela, most of the plots belong to the housing cooperatives, with 170 different agents. They have different opinions and concerns. Urban regeneration is a tricky process, which involves different parties and intrigues inter-related concerns.
For long lasting impact, urban planning is to build common ground with different parties, from top-down as well as bottom-up approaches. Two scenarios for transformation at a housing block illustrate this multi- player collaboration.
COURTYARD - STAGE FOR COMMUNITY
Design demonstration for planning temporary uses in Tammela.