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Görlin, Karin and Simonsson, Emma (2006) Mind the gap. Other thesis, SLU.

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Abstract

Mind the gap encourages you to beware of the interspaces. The project seeks to defend the gaps that occur in time and space and encourages the reader to care about the interruptions of the routine-like and planned, whilst also opening up a discussion about interaction and participation. Mind the gap is a project about the many opportunities the public space has in the contemporary city. What you have in front of you is the result of this project. As society constantly changes, new and different needs arise in the city and it is necessary that architects and planners understand and adapt to these changes. They have to be able to develop new ways of thinking and to challenge established perceptions of what the public space is and should be. This means being able to see that the public space could be different and to recognize the potentials for it to change. This project examines the underlying ideals of urbanism and investigates the potentials of the City when shaped by these ideals. In the search for a city's distinct identity, particularly in combination with the competition for taxpayers' and investors' money, it is commonplace to strive for a clear and attractive image of the City. Sometimes, this vision involves creating a new city for new inhabitants, rather than improving the existing one. Furthermore, due to pressure from market interests, our cities have been subjected to processes with the purpose to 'clean up' the urban space, and as a result, the City is gradually becoming more homogenous. The urban space constitutes the physical framework for people's shared existence in the City. Often, we tend to accept the physical realities of the urban space and take it for granted without refl ecting over what actual meaning it has to us. However, the socio-material impact of the built environment, the surveillance systems, and the social norms, largely control the individual's behavior in the public space. At the same time, an increased privatization of the urban space is taking place: adverts and commercial events are allowed to utilize the City space in a way that excludes some of its inhabitants – streets and squares are no longer equally accessible to all inhabitants. Protests that claim the right to the City and demand that streets are reclaimed indicate that there may be something wrong with "the public space". Instead of viewing place as a permanent condition, it may be understood as a product of incidences - situations in time and space that are constantly modified through interactions between people and the Place. Solá-Morales' concept terrain vague, has been a fundamental idea in this project. The voids of the city have been the starting-point for the critical investigation of this project. These places include demolition sites and abandoned industrial estates – undefi ned places without established functions or codes of behavior that are excluded from the structure of the productive City. These are places behind advertisement boards, places where there is room for personal expressions and participation in a more direct way. These places have the ability to leave room for the different and unusual, and are able to create a space within the City where people are equal. With Madrid as our point of reference, various public spaces have been studied and explored through experimentation, observation, and analysis. The possibilities for the urban space to adapt to new needs and functions have been investigated through observing a range of spaces and comparing their intended functions with people's actual use of these urban spaces. We have experimented with the material inertia and fl exibility of urban places, and have focused on social codes and the potential for change. This deals with the right to the City and letting initiatives being handed over to the users of these spaces. Sometimes, it is necessary to step back to allow the City to transform naturally through the interaction with its inhabitants, rather than providing them with an experience that is controlled from the top. The society we live in constantly changes and the question is if the traditional public spaces of the City have the ability to widen their functions to meet future needs. It may, therefore, be necessary to expand the existing "typology" of the urban public space; to develop hybrid expressions of the private and the public, the individual and the collective, in order to make room for public spaces that offers extended opportunities for interaction of people and places. Mind the Gap begins with a theoretical section; SOUNDING: THE CITY, which maps and investigates the theories of urban studies. This is followed by an analysis; REFERENCE: MADRID, a discussion using case studies, particularly from central Madrid. Finally, a practical section; ACTION: MADRID, an experiment in the public space where theory and practice meet in a real situation. This project aims to increase the understanding of the complex circumstances that shape the urban space. This has required the use of interdisciplinary approaches throughout the project. Mind the Gap has, furthermore, enabled our vision of landscape architecture as a discipline, to incorporate arts, philosophy and sociology.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: public space, urban planning, city, urban experiment, terrain vague, interaction, the situationist city, typology
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and Animal Science > Dept. of Crop Science
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Landscape Planning, Horticulture and Agricultural Science
Depositing User: Emma Simonsson
Date Deposited: 16 May 2006
Last Modified: 27 Aug 2015 08:46
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/979

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