Think Public Space HONOURABLE MENTION #2
Work title: Reclaim. City. Space.
Contemporary cities tend to underestimate the value of public life, promoting private agendas conflicting with common good and shared space. Events such as the Arab Spring, Spain''s Indignados or Taksim Square protesters have also provided a new excuse to governmental agencies -often infiltrated by transnational capital- to tighten up control and surveilance over places of potential public gatherings.
In this sense, the crisis of public space is widespread and shared by thousands of cities around the world, including Zagreb: public sphere have been neglected -including its material definition- by ineffective urban designs, outdated operations and policy. Our proposal aims directly at this global problem, using the Croatian capital as the first field of intervention.
Several cities across Europe -and worldwide- are already built, yet this is not an excuse to do nothing about their increasing privatization. The current state of our cities challenge us to find gaps and opportunities to reinterpret our cityscapes and their inhabitants. Contemporary urban design is not precise enough.
We propose to reclaim public space by a series of projects offering new alternatives of collective spaces in different scales, contexts and programs. The project of architecture in the city has a lot to offer in this process of transforming our society.
Our proposal is to radically approach 10 generic situations we recognized in Zagreb and abroad, all of which are affected by this ongoing privatization, turning them back in favour of public sphere: Urban growth, land use, infrastructure, pedestrian flow, public transport, higene or even our perception of the city, collective memory and the limit between public and private.
One of the key problems in sustaining the activity in shared spaces is their lack of definition. In that sense our strategy thematizes and adds specific and diferentiated communitary programs addressing -each one- particular issues. Many of these interventions linked together operate as a circuit of stations for different moments in public life, happening in different areas of the city. They are a set of concepts ready to be transformed and fullfilled by an active community of citizens -not closed designs but as open experiments-.
These are only 10 samples of how these issues can be addressed in the very same city -many times, if possible-, a strategy which can be extended to various other situations awaiting for a response in favor of public life. A constellation of pieces strategically applied in the urban fabric; permanent and long-lasting interventions, because we might have no other opportunity to amend this again in the future of Zagreb or any other city.