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Architect Statement // Marcos L. Rosa, Andrea Bandoni, Julia Masagão

A MANIFESTO TO CLAIM FOR THE USE OF AVAILABLE OPEN SPACE BY CITY RESIDENTS

How many square meters does one need to live comfortably? The starting point of our proposal is the discussion of the ‘minimum’ housing space, referring to the recent discussion on the reduced size of residential units. Within that frame, our goal is to discuss the quality of the outside urban space, one demanded to support urban life in that scenario in which private space becomes reduced. Assuming that dwellers get less quantity of private space, what could the collective space develop into? Can we qualify available urban space to host everyday activities? Where is that space located, what kind of activities can it host? What qualities can they potentially offer?

The “Erweiterbare Fläche / Expandable Area”
We have produced an unfoldable object capable of marking space and capable of catching the observer’s eye, drawing attention to the potential spaces and possible different uses of it. The object is based on the module of a 70×100 cm poster, and expands to a maximum surface area of 700×560 cm. That surface is made of a Brazilian fabric with a characteristic flower pattern named Chita with the intention to cause estrangement, proposing an object capable of catching the observer’s eye. This object receives printed statements calling for different uses of space. Instead of prohibiting or controlling, the statements encourage the residents and users to use space differently.
This fabricated surface left two empty modules that allow for it to embrace existing objects, articulating an existing situation (trees, poles, a bench, a bus stop, etc). The object can be placed on the ground, as well as on a facade or vertical element, with the goal to mark available space. Here our idea is to point out ways of programming space, based on everyday use, an empowering citizens as makers.

// We would like to call for anyone interested in claiming for the use of available space to come participate on the installation of signage and of the “Erweiterbare Fläche/ Expandable Area” project! // 

A call for people to participate on mapping unused or underused spaces
Taking a one kilometre radius from the DAZ, we can observe generous gardens, lawns, parking lots and several unoccupied areas in front of housing slab-buildings, buildings setbacks, roundabouts, courtyards, etc. Although these areas are not yet used to help or improve a rich neighbourhood experience, we believe they carry the potential to be activated, ultimately hosting other uses by residents.
In order to achieve that, we believe that it is important to first change people’s perception of them. Why is it that these areas are not being used? Here we would like to suggest that a first step be the acknowledgement of it. This includes calling attention to it, pointing at where they are, posing questions about the possible use of those areas with activities that usually take place elsewhere.

Our proposal aims to formulate those questions in a playful way, calling for people to participate on claiming, mapping and signalizing unused available urban space. As in an act, we make a call for people to participate, embedding the notion of a shared city, in which people can be makers and opening up for collaboration. We would like to open up to the idea of taking on space outside, showing the opportunity to use the city in different ways. Here, we propose no design per se, but rather provocations on the possibilities given by what is already there, to draw attention to the possibility of a radical transformation based in the user as a potential maker.

Thus, this proposal includes three activities.

Text by Marcos L. Rosa, Andrea Bandoni, Julia Masagão

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09.06.2015

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