The presence of others who see what we see and hear what we hear assures us of the reality of the world and of ourselves.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Unprogrammed spaces

«When public spaces are successful […] they will increase opportunities to participate in communal activity. This fellowship in the open nurtures the growth of public life, which is stunted by the social isolation of ghettos and suburbs. In the parks, plazas, markets, waterfronts, and natural areas of our cities, people from different cultural groups can come together in a supportive context of mutual enjoyment. As these experiences are repeated, public spaces become vessels to carry positive communal meanings».(Carr, Francis, Rivlin and Stone, 1993)

A continually evolving city is like a living organism - it owes much of its vibrancy and heterogeneity to its unprogrammed spaces. These spaces create a blank canvas for citizens and their activities. If space is unprogrammed it means that a function has not yet been attributed to it, it can be transformed by its users. Unprogrammed space does not require people to come and create; it is just there waiting to be discovered and improvised. It is self-organising, unstable and variable. It is a public space that is open to being privatised by citizens themselves. The metamorphosis of unprogrammed spaces relies on their users. Whether its features are designed or not is a possibility.

Globalisation and advances in communication have all but eradicated the homogeneous metropolises of the past. City is mainly heterogeneous, both socially and economically,  due to its population high rates of immigration from various rural areas of the country. Scaled down to urban space, this heterogeneity causes multiple uses of unprogrammed spaces. It provides citizens with opportunities to meet and interact.

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