Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Clements_4_Ambiguous Space

Ambiguous Space
Public nor Private
Public and private space today face a crisis of identity.  Many spaces, due to commercial interests or lack of government provision, no longer can be defined as strictly public nor strictly private.  “Public” space is now being appropriated by private interests, which bring to question how accented or emphasized towards particular interests such a space is. This ambiguous space provides clues as to access by whom and for what.  How might architecture address, accent, or define this ambiguity?  Can ambiguous space spark a point of cultural interaction and intensity?  

Civic friche type (urban fringe sites)
Mill sites (Mumbai)
Cetram sites (Mexico City)

Tentative Step to Connect with City:  Lodha Place by  Pei Cobb Freed & Partners tries to connect with the city of Mumbai but the shear scale of the new development ove whelms the pedestrian street below.

In our current society today, architecture can critique, provide for, and maintain the public realm.  The public realm, whether it be publicly owned or privately made public, provides for a social intermixing that is necessary for the sustainability of society, for the transferring of ideas, and for the development of understanding between people of different backgrounds, ethnicities, and generations.  This type of social intermixing is important to the development of each other and for the continuity of culture which makes life rich and more meaningful.  In American cities and in other foreign cities, such as Dubai or new developments in China, space has become segregated by use, which hinders its ability to facilitate cultural exchange.  
In history, the public space of the city was often the town square or plaza, which provided a central place for the interaction of economic, social, and culture.  As we moved forward into the twentieth century, the democratization of space and both its expanse and decentralization creates a conditioning where the model of a singular all identifying public space no longer served its citizens.   
As central government began to take a less structured role in providing for citizen’s public space, public space began to become a function of the private realm, particularly centered around places of activity and commerce, such as shopping and outlet malls.  These models provided the public space amidst a motivated agenda for purchasing and consumerism.

Relevant Legal Instruments that Govern:
Codes/Zoning, Open space requirements, Project pro formas  
Government/Economic Conditions:
    Private land ownership versus public goods/services, Project pro formas
Everyday Uses/Misuses:
    Appears public but with many hidden segregations.
Additional Categories/Qualifiers
Developed/Inherent Dis-balances:
Looking for power differentials:  
Who are the existing players?:
    Architects, developers, governments(cities), citizens (wealthy, middle, poor)
What are the existing relationships between players? (circumvent, emphasize, rectify, qualify relationships?):
Architect/urban designer using arguments of connection and human activity to advocate for public space.  Developers focus on profit.  Citizens - no voice.
Potential Case Studies (Concentrate on Architecture)
Cetrams (Mexico City)
Mill Sites (Mumbai)
Public/private spaces (malls, high rise towers, transportaiton hubs)
Reading List:
Art and Spatial Politics by Deutsche
Space of Appearance by Easterling
Homo Sacer by Agambenm, Human Condition by Arendt

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