Comments: (2)

Solving an intersection, the Dutch way | Where cars, bikes and pedestrians meet

Category : ⚐ EN + urbanism + video

How can urban design solve the complex situation that takes place in street junctions where bikes, pedestrians and motorists have to cross and turn in different directions? This interesting video shows one of the typical Dutch solutions to this problem.

Could this be implemented everywhere? While other places are going for mixed use of the street (like Spanish ciclocalles) or even more radical solutions like shared space or even ‘naked streets’ without any signs or lights, cities in the Netherlands are known for making extensive use of segregated bike lanes, and that is the scenario where this kind of solution makes sense. There are also other types of intersections, like the roundabouts, which can solve the same problem in a different way.

It’s worth noting how helpful the video format  is for explaining this kind of dynamic issues in the city. I also recommend reading the discussions under the posts linked below; you will find interesting opinions and alternatives.

Read more:

Original article at Bicycle Dutch

Comments: (0)

Claudio Marras | eu collaborators

Category : ⚐ EN + colaboradores + ecosistema urbano

Today we introduce Claudio Marras, a young architect who is doing an internship with us, taking part in various aspects of our work… and also bringing a great Italian touch to our lunchbreak! Let him tell us a couple of things about himself:

A young dreamer architect.

Passion, Curiosity and Perseverance: I want to travel, I want to see, I want to know.

Architect evolution

Architect evolution

Hello everybody, I am Claudio Marras a 30 years old italian architect come from Sardinia, Italy. I will try to synthesize my life with 3 simple keywords.

Passione (passion)

From from child to young adult

Once upon a time

A life lived wrapped by passion. Food, travel, sport, people, ART… Born in a creative and art-loving family, I was easily able to discover and explore different worlds. Living in a island I had, from the beginning, the pleasure (and necessity) to go abroad.
I lived in Croatia, Usa, Spain and Germany and I traveled throughout most of Europe.

Curiositá (curiosity)

From external world to myself

From Praha with love

From Praha with love

Each place/person could teach you something. It’s up to you understand the way to acquire knowledge from it. Every place can be different for everyone, it’s the culture and meaning behind it that matters and makes it special and unique for every one. It is not only the place, it is also the experience.

As an architect I have to design the space in relation with local dynamics and needs, trying to involve those who will use that space into the process.

Determinazione (perseverance)

From Valencia to Punto d’Incontro

Different forms of urban attraction. The Turia’s park of Valencia for a cultural conversion of spare time

Different forms of urban attraction.
The Turia’s park of Valencia for a cultural conversion of spare time

Social Architect

My architecture thesis project (2007) was the synthesis of my mindset and my professional way of seeing urbanism and architecture: bottom up architecture, social approach, participatory process. The project’s AIM was to find a social and cultural way to convert the spare time of the people. The idea was to give to everyone the opportunity to know and exchange skills and competencies in a public space coordinated by the Time-based currency system. The project was studied for the river park of Valencia, Spain.

Starting from these theoretical input, I’m developing it in a practical way trough Punto d’incontro (Meeting point) project. It is a box that contains active and creative groups or people who work for the re-appropriation of public space through a participatory process. Artists, professionals, and experts interact with the local population to involve people in a urban renewal.




Bachelor Degree of Territorial, Urban and Environmental Planning in 2005.
Master Degree on Architecture in 2007.
Freelance architect from 2009 with a Certificate of Site Safety Coordinators (2012).

Currently a Post-Master student of Urban Research Lab Sardinia – Environmental Design in the University of Sassari (Sardinia) in partnership with Dessau Institute of Architecture (DIA) of Anhalt University of Applied Sciences where I spend the first part of the Master (5 moths).

more information on LinkedIn profile

In times like these, escape is the only way to stay alive and keep dreaming.

In times like these, escape is the only way to stay alive and keep dreaming.

In tempi come questi la fuga è l’unico mezzo per mantenersi vivi e continuare a sognare.

In times like these, escape is the only way to stay alive and keep dreaming.

Henry Laborit, from the italian movie: Mediterraneo

Here is a short summary about Claudio:

cla 2Occupation: Freelance Architect
Interests: urbanism, architecture, design, social, community
City/country: Sassari, Italy
Web: Punto d’Incontro
Online profiles: Facebook, LinkedIn

Comment: (1)

Bicycle-friendly houses

Category : ⚐ EN + architecture + mobility + sustainability + urbanism

Cities, organizations increasingly vast and uncontrolled, crystallize today most social and environmental issues. Intensification is a hot topic as antidote to urban sprawl and overconsumption of the territory, but how to live in the dense city, make it livable and desirable? This paradox between individual aspirations and the need to contain the growth of cities is a challenge for the architecture, the opportunity to imagine new types of habitats, for the collective economy of the soil, but offer a sense of independence and freedom in the use of space, from within and without.

Let’s find a simple example: to reduce private car use, many  cities are trying to promote green transport methods, including cycling, which is highly valued by the local population that exhibits a strong “scientific, sporty and green” image. The cycle path network is growing, but the problem lies at the two ends: What do you do with your bike when you get to your destination?

The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation ever devised, and it delivers a whole-body workout. Cycling consumes far fewer calories per mile travelled than cars, buses, or even walking. It is sometimes the fastest way to get around a city. Cyclists can zip around traffic jams and don’t have to fight for a parking spot because they can bring the vehicle home… maybe: Many homes aren’t bicycle-friendly, so bikes are either not used or not purchased.

The French architectural studio ‘HERAULT ARNOD architectes’ was faced with that problem in Grenoble, where they designed a sustainable residential house.

Image is made by Herault Arnod architectes | L’IMMEUBLE À VÉLOS |Grenoble 2006-2010

The project ‘Bike building’ has a system which makes possible to take one’s bike to the door of one’s apartment. The lifts are big enough to carry bikes; the corridors are wide and form a panoramic walkway with views over the mountains. People enter their homes as they would a house, from the outside. The architecture of the storage and distribution system is designed for a project situated at the end of the cycle path network. People will be able to reach their front doors on rollerblades, scooters, bicycles, etc., and then store their wheels in a safe place.

‘…This project was conducted as part of an order placed by the architects to 8 City of Architecture and Heritage, on the theme of a “Habitat densified environmentally responsible.” These projects were gathered in one part of the traveling exhibition “Living Green”, which was provided by the police Gauzin-Dominique Müller, and which was presented to the City of Architecture…’ say Chris Younes and Isabel Herault

Since the outskirts of Grenoble are layered with districts of detached houses which generate traffic flows that grow more intense and more extensive each day, it is time to think about urban housing that is more in tune with contemporary aspirations. What does a detached house have that an apartment does not? Amongst other characteristics, we identified the relationship with the exterior, which is more direct and special, the greater privacy, and storage capacity: according to a recent study, 40% of the surface area in detached houses is used to store various objects, food, clothes, tools, bicycles, windsurfers, skis, etc.

‘…>80% of the population would rather live in a detached house than in an apartment block in town. What does a detached house have that an apartment does not? Amongst other characteristics, we identified the relationship with the exterior, which is more direct and special, the greater privacy, and storage capacity: according to a recent study, 40% of the surface area in detached houses is used to store various objects, food, clothes, tools, bicycles, windsurfers, skis, etc….’  say Chris Younes and Isabel Herault

The façade on the street side is made up of several layers which reveal the building’s unusual design, and make a feature of it through the system of outdoor corridors and the individual storage “boxes” placed in front of each apartment: the image is created by usage. People enter their apartments via a private balcony. Located between the walkway and the building’s main structure are the storerooms and bathrooms, which alternate with empty spaces running the whole height of the building. The “storage units” are clad with different coloured corrugated steel sheet, which individualize the apartments and together create an expansive, dynamic and contrasted façade – an unpatented and lively composition.

This project is not the only one example of bike-friendly houses designed by Herault Arnod architectes.

’24 apartments house’ project is located on a new BIA to Green Island, an eclectic neighbourhood of Grenoble composed of villas, workshops and small buildings on the banks of the Isere. It meets the certification BBC with 40% renewable energy, according to the requirements of the specifications of the ZAC. The building was designed to allow residents to live in the city as a house, with a privileged relationship to the outside. The twenty four units are through and have a large terrace facing west continues. Ends of the apartments have a triple orientation. All are served by an outdoor walkway sheltered east side. The building is intended to facilitate the use of bicycles in everyday life: each unit has a storage room, protected by winks perforated (over 50% vacuum), in which residents can store several bikes. The elevator is generously proportioned to allow everyone to borrow his bike.

Image is made by Herault Arnod architectes | 24 APARTEMENTS |Grenoble 2011-2013

The building is very compact, its organization to optimize the stairwell and the elevator are grouped in a separate volume, which they are connected by a walkway. This volume is wrapped in open vegetation: a linear bins, equipped with an automatic watering, home to vines that invade gradually cables and nets stretched between floors.

The other example of bicycle friendly building is the EcoFlats mixed-use apartment building, along North Williams Avenue in Portland with its co-developer, Jean-Pierre Veillet of Siteworks Design Build.

Williams Avenue, once the heart of a thriving African American community, is today well known as a popular bike route as well as a burgeoning retail area of restaurants, cafes and shops.

Image is made by Jean-Pierre Veillet | the Eco-flats |

On the ground floor of the building, for example, is Hopworks Bike Bar.

“Some 3,000 riders a day pass by Mr. Ettinger’s new brewpub,” the New York Times’ Linda Baker writes of Hopworks in a recent feature about the neighborhood and catering to cyclists. “It has racks for 75 bicycles and free locks, to-go entries that fit in bicycle water-bottle cages, and dozens of handmade bicycle frames suspended over the bar areas.”

There are no automobile parking spaces for tenants, but the 18-unit building has storage for 30 bikes.

“Cyclists are a great potential market for businesses that want people traveling at human-scale speed and will stop and buy something,” Roger Geller, the city’s bicycle coordinator, also told Baker.

Eco Flats is one of 15 building projects aiming toward net-zero operations through a pilot program launched in 2009 by Energy Trust of Oregon. Co developed by Doug Shapiro, it was designed to use approximately 60 percent less energy than a building constructed to code stipulations. Veillet says actual savings have been higher, approaching 80 percent. In the ground-floor entry to the apartments via elevator, a flat-screen TV affixed to the upper wall conveys in real-time the amount of energy being used by each unit as well as how much energy is being generated by a rooftop array of solar panels.

If you decided to become bike user, but the house you live in is not bicycle friendly, try to make your home bicycle friendly by yourself. A bicycle doesn’t ask for much. It just needs a safe, dry spot away from thieves and vandals.

By the way, in a humorous note, there is also the opposite way: you can make your bike the main element and attach your house to it, as this man did for the Burning Man festival, or as seen in various creations involving a bike and a tiny home.

RV-Camper bike by Kevin Cyr

RV-Camper bike by Kevin Cyr

For further reading:

‘Bicycle friendly area’ – Design workshop at Auroville- PDF

Comments: (3)

MetaMap | Interview with Christian Nold on his mapping projects

Category : ⚐ EN + art + city + creativity + landscape + MetaMap + technologies

Biomapping device and GPS

Today, I present the interview with Christian Nold where he shares his experience with mapping projects such as Bio MappingGreenwich Emotion Map, and SanFrancisco. He describes himself with the following:

Christian Nold is an artist, designer, and educator working to develop new participatory models for communal representation. In 2001, he wrote the well received book ‘Mobile Vulgus’, which examined the history of the political crowd and which set the tone for his research into participatory mapping. Since graduating from the Royal College of Art in 2004, Christian has led a number of large scale participatory projects and worked with teams on diverse academic research projects. In particular, his ‘Bio Mapping’ project has received large amounts of international publicity and has been staged in 16 different countries and over 1500 people have taken part in his workshops and exhibitions.
In 2007, Christian Nold founded Softhook Design, which is now providing large scale public discussion projects, such as the TownToolkit. Christian Nold teaches at the Bartlett University, College of London and is a guest lecturer at Aalborg University of Denmark and an active member of the Council for the Internet of Things.

Galvanic Skin Response in a busy traffic crossing

1. How did you get to the practice of mapping? 

Mapping for me is a way to understand shared places. I entered this area through psychogeography and the idea that there might be shared psychological and unseen, but political structures that underlie the physical environment around us. Mapping then becomes a way of trying to record this kind of exploration. The shared mental and physical spaces, which are shaped into the form of a map, are such a familiar way of recording spaces that we can all access.

2. In what way do you obtain and treat the data for your mapping?

I utilize different types of mapping in my work, but my main interest is trying to articulate the blend of space between mind and material. The sources of my data tend to be ambiguous, such as physiological arousal, smells, sounds, feelings of being in or out of control, or illicit behavior.  My real interest is trying to map things that are difficult to map, or for political reasons, are not being mapped at all.

3. What is the application of open source mapping you are interested in the most?

What interests me about open source mapping is the way it provides agency for people to redefine how things are done.  The openness allows people to redefine mapping in terms of what is being mapped, as well as how to do the mapping.

Greenwich emotion map

4. What is the next phase of development your research is undergoing?

I’m currently researching whether mapping is a device ethnography at the Extreme Citizen Science Group at UCL.  This means I’m trying to trace networks of knowledge and power being generated by sensing devices and trying to map and articulate what is going on there. The final results will not be maps, but will utilize the methodology and thinking of mapping to uncover the relationships between entities, which I think is the core of what mapping is truly about.

5. What are you personal references for the theme of mapping (from ancient to contemporary ones)?

 I love some of the pre-modern maps that blend stories and myths, as well as local plants, flowers, and animals that simultaneously describe the physical environment.  Many of those maps show a freedom of blending together and crossing between categories that you don’t see any more in modern maps. Nowadays, maps seem to focus more on what they exclude rather than focusing on what they represent.

San Francisco emotion map

You can see related posts in the metamap series.

Comments: (3)

Ciudades del Mañana: Acción Hoy | Propuestas y conclusiones de URBACT en 7 informes

Category : ⚐ ES + sostenibilidad + urbact + urbanismo

La serie de informes temáticos de URBACT “Ciudades del mañana: Acción hoy”, consiste en 7 publicaciones y es el resultado más importante del proceso de capitalización de URBACT II. Estos documentos permiten difundir el conocimiento generado desde la colaboración entre ciudades durante el desarrollo del programa, y están pensados como guías que incluyen reflexiones teóricas, estudio de casos y recursos prácticos que las ciudades europeas pueden aprovechar.

Ciudades del Mañana

Los 6 informes principales, resumidos en un séptimo documento resumen, tratan los siguientes temas: el desarrollo urbano integrado y sostenible, los retos y oportunidades de las ciudades en recesión, la relación entre empleo y ciudad, el apoyo a la juventud a través de la innovación social, la lucha contra las ciudades divididas, la creación de una nueva mentalidad sobre la movilidad y la eficiencia energética de los edificios en las ciudades europeas.

Comments: (0)

MetaMap | 6000 km by Basurama, interview with Pablo Rey

Category : ⚐ EN + city + internet + Intervista + landscape + MetaMap + urbanism

Basurama is a forum for discussion and reflection on trash, waste, and reuse in all its formats and possible meanings. It was born in the Madrid School of Architecture (ETSAM) in 2001, and since then, has evolved and acquired new shapes.

Tire Cemetery in Seseña (Toledo)

I interviewed Pablo Rey Mazón, member of Basurama, about 6000km, a project about the concept of trash applied to new constructions and land use, the metabolism of the city.


1. How did you get to the practice of mapping? What led you to the practice of mapping?

We use mapping, a geo-spatial representation of things, to understand and display complex situations. Maps have always been interesting to me: subway maps, the Callejero (the streetmap book from Madrid), and later in architecture school, I was using and producing maps quite often. Google Maps and Google Earth came later…. maps are one special part of all the data visualizations tools available.
I have also participated in the development of, an open source software for collective geo-location of information (texts, photos, videos, and audio) online, that we have used in many projects.

Interface of the map - Click to see original at Meipi

Interface of the map – Click to see original at Meipi

2. How did you choose the object of your mapping?

A map is a tool to decode certain information. Depending on the project, we would use one visualization or another. When we’re interested in the location of things, we use maps. In Basurama, we’ve used maps for many different projects apart from 6000km:

-Mapping urban metabolism landscapes (panorama photos) + real estate bubble: map, tactics in 6000km

-Mapping reusable waste in Ruhr (Germany) map 1map 2how to

Flow of waste in Mexico City

Exchange of objects map

In Ruhr, we used geo-located photos that we took, and a special instance of Meipi, to show the location of possible reusable waste. In, we tried to give the opportunity to exchange an object by providing information about where the object was.

6000km started as an exhibition of 10 big format panorama photos from the Madrid outskirts: landfills, highways, scrapyards, and abandoned places. The project was part of the exhibition and was named Basurama Panorámica. It shows the public different places to envision the consequences of the urban expansion that was occurring at the time. Each photo had a short text attached to it, that served to contextualize and give basic information about it. We didn’t just want ‘awesome’ photos, we wanted to make people understand where and what those locations were. The exhibition had two related maps: urban growth and highways, apart from a location map of all the photographs. Displaying urban developments together with landfills and empty toll highways was the way to show the relation among all the urban metabolism related situations. Empty buildings made for speculation purposes where as waste made for scrapyards. That was 2006, 2 years before Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy.

Later on, when we addressed this project in a country scale we studied and mapped all the situations in “6.000 km” were the kilometers of highway that the government was planning to build until 2020.

Mar Menor Golf Resort – Torre Pacheco, Murcia

3. In which way do you want this work to affect the people and society?

It is difficult to say how a particular project modifies the perception of a situation. In 2006 the real estate bubble was about to burst, but the public perception was saying “prices are never going to drop”, “we are the biggest growing economy in the world”, “keep building, buying, and selling, make money”. Mass media and politicians were basically denying the real estate bubble or saying that the process of land destruction was not sustainable. It was uncommon to address this topic. Nowadays, we can watch and read multiple news, documentaries, and exhibitions about a contemporary ruin or the economic crisis, but that was not the case back in 2006. It is impossible to measure that impact.

However, we were not alone in this task. There were other people talking about these issues as well. An example, El tsunami urbanizador español y mundial from the late Ramón Fernández Durán, or Ramón López de Lucio, that used our exhibition, among other things, to talk about the urban expansion and the backdrops of the star system architecture.  A year later, the Observatorio Metropolitano published a complete study of Madrid that delved deeply in the economical, social, and urban aspect of the situation. Madrid ¿La suma de todos? Globalización, territorio, desigualdad, and Derivart published

Junkyard Hermanos Lopez – Parla, Madrid

4. Which is the next phase of growth/development your research is undergoing?

We went from the regional scale, Madrid conurbation, to a country scale, Spain, in 6.000km. We created an online map at to display how our research evolved and to open both the information and participation to the public. We went to many of those places to document the sites. We have a full list available of all the studied locations, as we have realized before in Meipi, that maps are not the only way to show spatial information, and that lists can also be very useful.
Global scale: Since we’ve been travelling often to America with Basurama in the last years, we are now exploring ways to talk about these situations on a global scale in PAN AM, Panorama Americana.

Ruins in Vallecas, Madrid  - Click to view original map

Ruins in Vallecas, Madrid – Click to view original map

Photos from the sky: We are also exploring new ways of exploring the territory with cheap balloon mapping technology. Our first results from Spain could be seen in the ruins at PAU del ensanche de Vallecas. Since last year we’ve been collaborating with the Public Laboratory in Boston, where we are mapping the evolution of an ash landfill in the suburbs of the city, Incinerator Landfill in Saugus, MA, USA, as well as mapping the waste locations from Cambridge, MA.
Civic maps: I am involved in a tool kit about civic mapping that will be released this year by the Center for Civic Media.

Alto del Cuco – Pielagos, Cantabria

5. What are your personal references for the theme of mapping (from ancient to contemporary ones)?

References come from many places: data visualization researchers like Edward Tufte; open hardware and cheap tools by Public Laboratory; Ushahidi and Crowdmap for collective info about maps; for collective reporting from cheap phones; and online cartography tools like OpenStreetMap, where we are contributors and try to draw landfills and other non represented places in the map.

All the photos of the article are under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License and are made by Rubén Lorenzo Montero and Pablo Rey Mazón (Basurama). See legal notice.

Comment: (1)

Mercados en red | Entrevista a Raimond Blasi sobre URBACT Markets Barcelona

Category : ⚐ ES + urbact

Mercado de Santa Caterina - Foto por Mercats de Barcelona en Flickr

Mercado de Santa Caterina – Foto por Mercats de Barcelona

¿Cómo funciona realmente un proyecto URBACT? ¿Cómo se vive esa colaboración transnacional desde las ciudades participantes? ¿Cómo se involucran los diferentes agentes ciudadanos?

Con la intención de acercarnos un poco a los proyectos URBACT y entender su forma de trabajar, sus expectativas y resultados, hemos entrevistado a Raimond Blasi para que nos hable del caso de Barcelona, que es socio líder del proyecto URBACT Markets, del que ya hablábamos en un post anterior. Esperamos que esta entrevista dé una visión mucho más precisa de lo que supone y aporta el involucramiento de una ciudad en este programa.

Comments: (0)

Fun as building material | Marielyst STRAND, competition proposal by Kristine Jensen and Ecosistema Urbano

Category : ⚐ EN + colaboraciones + competitions + creativity + design + ecosistema urbano + landscape + urbanism

Marielyst is a small town in the south of Denmark well known for being one of the most popular holiday locations on the Baltic Sea. Since the beginning of XX century its 20 km of white sand beaches attracted an increasing number of seasonal tourists, up to host nowadays 6000 summer houses in its area. The spatial configuration of Marielyst appears chaotic and it’s lacking of a recognisable identity; the main element of the urban structure is the principal street, a traffic vein that allows people to reach the heart of the small town, and from which secondary narrow streets start connecting every single wooden house. The subject of Marielyst competition was finding and providing a spatial organization to this place in order to structure an urban articulation among its parts. Moreover, an important feature to be considered in this site’s revitalization was the “beachy” atmosphere of Marielyst, its main character.

As usual, we worked with a multidisciplinary and international team, with the Danish landscape Office Kristine Jensen, after being chosen among 4 other finalists.



Our proposition started from the identification of the land’s shape, which changed its configuration many times until the present. In the past, the island of Falster -where Marielyst is located- was composed by three smaller islands and was crossed by water; the area had been also flooded and remained swampy for many years, until the late 1800, when it was drained. Inspired by this ancient situation, we conceived the idea of   “Delta“, a sinuous and porous path that connects the dynamic activities of urban space with the relaxed atmosphere of a beach context.

Summer time

Summer time

The landscape project focuses on the valorization of the great quality of the natural elements that characterize the site -pines, sea, sand dunes, dike, grass- making them stand out very clearly. The concept of  “Delta” appears with the intention of spreading many accesses to these natural landmarks, connecting them through physical and conceptual paths. The Delta structure allows to pull the beach ambience in the urban space, both melted in a fluid unity; the achievement of this atmosphere is possible by choosing very soft and discreet materials to create paths and furniture elements, by substituting the current asphalt with tracks, marks and signs that simplify integration between the two ‘souls’ of the place.

winter time

Witer time

We elaborated one of the main aspects of Marielyst STRAND proposition, the activity plan. “Let it be fun!” is the motto we’ve chosen to summarize our idea to regenerate this area, being certain that the requalification of an urban space could not disregard the involvement of people in making the place alive.

The activity plan during daytime

The activity plan during daytime

Activity plan for the night

Activity plan for the night

We’ve developed a series of entertaining and bizarre urban objects and we have settled them in the Marielyst area in order to provide several activities aimed to reinvigorate the site during summer as well as winter time. We have tried to get inspired by the surrounding environment to elaborate ideas that allow people to appreciate the visible and the invisible natural local elements.



Our proposition for Marielyst urban contest mainly consisted in designing urban objects strictly connected with natural elements that characterize the site, like rich vegetation, long beaches, fresh water and strong wind. The objective of our urban design strategy for Marielyst was to transform this ordinary beach on the Danish coast in a unique and very attractive site that could easily become a reference point for people who want to spend funny holidays in sustainable way.



The catalogue includes elements to enjoy the view of landscape from above (the watching tower, the balloon in the sky); elements integrated in the vegetation that allow to take advantage of its amenity in an unconventional way (the hammocks, the spider net, the hanging chairs, the fireplace); objects that transform the beach in a big playground (the playful tower, the oversized playground); objects that use wind to catch its power and transform it into energy (the windmill lamp) or just exploit its strength to create ephemeral landmarks (the wind fish, the wind parade).



Other elements are mobile and contribute to constantly change the configuration of the place, like the rolling cabins -temporary supports for sport activities or refreshment bars-, or the vehicles on wheels, a kind of elaborated bikes that could be used to move along the city and create temporary stages, movable slides, or on the road benches. Moreover a big attention is given to the socializing areas, as the rooftop terrace of an existing building along the main street, the picnic area or the water cloud, a playful object very useful to refresh atmosphere during sunny days of Baltic summer.



Comments: (4)

dreamhamar, seleccionado finalista en la Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo

Category : ⚐ ES + ecosistema urbano + urban social design


El proyecto dreamhamar, un proceso de network design para el rediseño de la plaza principal de Hamar, Noruega, ha sido seleccionado entre los 27 proyectos finalistas de la XII edición de la Bienal Española de Arquitectura y Urbanismo.

dreamhamar - public lunch in the square

En breve publicaremos un post más detallado sobre este proyecto, que se echa en falta en el blog, y estamos trabajando en un formato de publicación más extenso y cuidado, que esperamos poder presentaros muy pronto. Mientras tanto, si tenéis curiosidad, os animamos a revisar el material que hemos ido produciendo sobre la marcha:

La enorme web del proyecto,, llena de contenidos generados por nosotros y, lo que es mejor, por los propios participantes del proceso.

La galería de excelentes imágenes captadas por Christoffer H. Nilsen (nuestro colaborador local en Hamar) y el fotógrafo Emilio P. Doiztua.

Las grabaciones de las sesiones de vídeo en directo que fuimos haciendo cada lunes con la idea de contar de forma cercana y directa nuestras impresiones y vivencias como equipo de trabajo.

Algunos posts relacionados con el proyecto ya publicados anteriormente en este mismo blog.

Si queréis ver los proyectos premiados y los demás seleccionados en la BEAU XII, podéis hacerlo en la página oficial:

Comments: (8)

Arquitectura participativa… ¿hijos de los situacionistas?

Category : ⚐ ES + ciudad + creatividad + participación

La arquitectura participativa se está generalizando cada vez más. ¿Moda? No lo sé; para entender lo que realmente cambia la arquitectura participativa, necesitaba investigar un poco más sobre este tipo de procesos. Resultó que, mientras leía teorías situacionistas, encontré ciertas similitudes, así que decidí escribir este artículo, que intenta mostrar cómo las teorías pasadas nos pueden permitir reconocer algunos aspectos importantes en los procesos participativos actuales.

Arquitectura participativa, ¿hijos de los situacionistas?

En los años setenta surgió en Francia una corriente sociológica y artística llamada la Internacional Situacionista. Este grupo de intelectuales revolucionarios, dirigido por Guy Debord, denunciaba en el periódico “l’Internationale Situationniste” la sociedad de consumo y el capitalismo. Las teorías más famosas de la Internacional Situacionista son la deriva, la psicogeografía, y la voluntad de mostrar la importancia de la vida cotidiana.

Al principio del siglo XXI, nos enfrentamos a dos crisis: ecológica y económica, que cambian nuestras costumbres. Cambio climático, desempleo masivo, elevación del nivel del mar, aumento de las desigualdades sociales, etc… nos sumergen en una crisis social. El sector de la construcción y, en consecuencia, la arquitectura, ha sido uno de los sectores más afectados por las dos crisis, ecológica y económica. Pero las crisis siempre han sido un incentivo para innovar, y ya podemos ver los resultados especialmente en España gracias a estudios de arquitectura, colectivos de arquitectos y diseñadores o políticas locales. Una de las innovaciones más importantes es la generalización de la arquitectura participativa donde cada habitante puede implicarse en la concepción y la construcción del espacio público. Estos proyectos proponen cuestionar el estatuto de los habitantes en el espacio público.

En este artículo vamos a ver en qué sentido la arquitectura participativa sigue inconscientemente las teorías situacionistas y cuáles son las diferencias. El análisis de estas teorías pasadas tiene por objeto destacar algunos aspectos significativos para que el proceso participativo no se convierta en un simple instrumento de marketing.

Trabajo del artísta Noruego Pushwagner – crítica de la sociedad conformista y de la alienación por el trabajo en los años setenta.

Elige tu vida cotidiana

Los situacionistas denuncian el poco interés de la sociedad, de los sociólogos o de la gente en general en la vida cotidiana siendo como es parte de la vida de todos los humanos de cualquier nivel social o cultura. En su artículo sobre las Perspectivas de modificación conscientes de la vida cotidiana, Guy Debord explica que nuestra sociedad hace más caso a las investigaciones especializadas donde los intelectuales puedan expresar todo su talento, y a nadie le interesa hablar de la rutina porque está considerada como muy pobre y sin prestigio. Pero los situacionistas encuentran que la vida cotidiana debería ser lo más importante, sobre todo porque es el reflejo de la sociedad en la que vivimos y contiene los últimos rastros de la cultura de una población. Así que ¿por qué consideramos la rutina como algo aburrido de lo que nos avergonzamos?
La vida cotidiana se suele considerar como dividida en dos partes: el trabajo y el tiempo libre. En los años setenta estábamos en el boom del consumo y de la producción, y la creación en Francia de las vacaciones retribuidas en los años cuarenta habían permitido, hasta a las clases sociales baja, irse de vacaciones. Los Situacionistas ven esta división del empleo del tiempo como un medio de manipulación de la gente para aumentar la eficiencia productiva y el consumo durante la vacaciones. Durante el año, la gente tenía un trabajo agotador y poco tiempo libre, así que las vacaciones eran el único momento para salir de esta rutina aburrida y gastar todo el dinero ganado en los entretenimientos propuestos por la sociedad del espectáculo y del consumo. Así que el capitalismo ha engendrado un conformismo en las vidas de los trabajadores a través de la alienación por el trabajo y el consumo. De este modo, la sociedad establece los límites de nuestra vida cotidiana, y ha elegido que sea aburrida.

El espacio público forma parte de la vida cotidiana de cada ciudadano. Lo recorremos, disfrutamos sus parques, sus zonas peatonales… Pero los proyectos urbanísticos que no incluyen a los habitantes, inconscientemente, favorecen el conformismo y la alienación de la gente porque imponen a los ciudadanos el paisaje en el cual serán felices. Les ofrecen un terreno de juego esterilizado que pueden consumir sin preguntarse si es lo que quieren o necesitan para su vida cotidiana. Además, estos espacios siendo, totalmente públicos, no son cuidados por los ciudadanos como si fueran suyos. Pero ahora, gracias a las crisis, el modelo capitalista y conformista está en cuestión. ¿Queremos realmente vivir en una sociedad regida por el dinero, el trabajo y el consumo, donde nos piden solamente ser parte del engranaje, desde un punto de vista económico, social, ecológico y urbano? La arquitectura participativa ha sido una respuesta negativa a esta pregunta. Las intervenciones participativas, habitualmente del tamaño de una plaza, permiten a la gente implicarse en el espacio público, y sobre todo de preguntarse: ¿Qué quiero para mi vida cotidiana? En efecto, la plaza es un lugar importante en la ciudad: es un vacío urbano estático y dinámico donde la gente se junta, juega, se manifiesta, etc. Forma parte de la vida cotidiana de los ciudadanos y es el escenario donde se expresa la sociedad. Este tipo de intervención permite sacar a la gente de una pasividad frente al mundo, devolverle la posibilidad de elegir lo que quiere para su vida cotidiana, permitirle formar parte de una comunidad y a veces reconectarse con su propia cultura. La vida cotidiana alienada puede ser muy difícil para la gente que no logra expresarse en esta sociedad, así que los arquitectos deben aprovechar esta ocasión para empujar a la gente a preguntarse sobre su vida cotidiana, buscar alternativas y sacarse las anteojeras de la alienación.

Los arquitectos deben ayudar a la gente a cambiar su vida cotidiana.

Reintroducción de la creatividad

Los situacionistas quieren que la noción de juego no esté reservada únicamente a los tiempos de ocio, sino más bien que sea parte de la vida cotidiana, y eso no puede ocurrir sin creatividad. Pero en este mundo conformista y alienado, la creatividad de cada uno ha desaparecido. La sociedad de producción, el objetivo cuantitativo y las barreras impuestas por el estatuto social de cada persona han inhibido la creatividad y lo cualitativo, según indica Raoul Vaneigem en el Tratado del saber vivir para uso de las jóvenes generaciones. Vaneigem cree que todos los hombres tienen un potencial creativo, y que en vez de vivir la vida que la sociedad le ofrece, deberían expresar su subjetividad gracias a la creatividad y así aprender a conocerse a si mismos.

“En los laboratorios de la creatividad individual [la más pura creatividad según Vaneigem], una alquimia revolucionaria transmuta en oro los metales más viles de la vida cotidiana.”

Él explica sus ideas mediante cuatro palabras: creatividad, espontaneidad, cualitativo y poesía.

“La espontaneidad plasma la pasión creadora, inicia su realización práctica, allana el camino, pues, a la poesía, a la voluntad de cambiar el mundo según la subjetividad radical.”

La espontaneidad y lo cualitativo son las mejores maneras de expresar la propia creatividad y subjetividad, según Vaneigem. En efecto, la espontaneidad es la expresión más directa de lo que pensamos y una experiencia temporal única donde “la explosión del placer vivido hace que, perdiéndome, me encuentre; olvidando quién soy, me realice.” Además, lo cualitativo permite luchar contra lo superfluo y más aún, elegir según tus propios gustos. Finalmente, la poesía es el nivel más alto que se debe lograr en el proceso de subjetividad y de lucha contra la sociedad de consumo. La poesía, como belleza, se puede encontrar a diferentes niveles, sobre todo ahora que el arte se ha convertido en un objeto consumible, así que la poesía puede encontrarse en el proceso en vez del resultado.

Las nuevas intervenciones urbanas participativas son procesos de emergencia (bottom-up) que restablecen un equilibro con los procesos de proyección (top-down) mayoritarios durante los dos últimos siglos. Son intervenciones más espontáneas y de ejecución rápida: hablamos de acupunturas urbanas según el arquitecto y alcalde brasileño Jaime Lerner. La rapidez de estos proyectos permite producir intervenciones innovadoras sin perder su frescura. Además, los espacios de intervención participativa son muy importantes durante la concepción y la construcción del proyecto. El lugar se transforma durante un período corto en una zona de diálogo, de creatividad y de juego. El espacio público se convierte en un lugar donde se comparten las ideas, y sobre todo, ofrece la posibilidad a cada uno de expresar su creatividad gracias a los instrumentos disponibles y los conocimientos de los participantes. Durante la concepción o la construcción, la gente decide dedicar tiempo a conocerse y a hacer algo manual y concreto que supone un cambio en su vida cotidiana ahora y en el futuro. La poesía en estos proyectos está sobre todo en la sinergia que se construye en la comunidad que ya existe o que se crea. Finalmente, ofrecer la posibilidad de implicarse en el espacio público no es solamente para darle vida a la ciudad sino, más bien para crear solidaridad entre los vecinos. Los eventos organizados por un colectivo o un estudio de arquitectura permiten a la gente juntarse y crear una comunidad. La creatividad y el trabajo manual son instrumentos para conocerse a sí mismos, recuperar la creatividad perdida y, esperemos lo, reintroducirla en la vida cotidiana de cada uno.

Desarollar la creatividad de cada uno.

¡Cuidado con la tecnología!

Los situacionistas teorizan sobre la técnica en los años setenta, al principio de la democratización de la tecnología, con la televisión, la cámara Porta-Pak de Sony o el teléfono, y la globalización de la información, controlada principalmente por los Estados Unidos y Japón. Los Situacionistas ven el mundo de la técnica como un mundo autónomo donde el Hombre tiene menos y menos poder, ya que el Hombre siempre sacraliza su entorno: así como antes era la Naturaleza, al fin del siglo XX el Hombre sacraliza la tecnología. Además, analizan cómo el capitalismo y la sociedad de consumo van introduciendo cada vez más la tecnología en nuestra vida cotidiana. Los situacionistas hacen sonar las alarmas porque piensan que democratizando la tecnología y con la difusión de una información globalizada, la gente serán dependiente de nuevos objetos tecnológicos consumibles favoreciendo el conformismo y la sociedad de consumo. Sobre todo, contribuye a disminuir la creatividad de cada uno.

Podemos pensar que esta postura al frente de la democratización de la tecnología era solamente el miedo a un nuevo mundo conectado y globalizado. Pero hoy podemos ver que algunas cosas que habían previsto los situacionistas fueron confirmadas: la sociedad introduce cada vez más objetos tecnológicos en nuestra vida cotidiana. Tablet, smartphone, ordenador, Internet, pero también máquinas de café tecnológicas, video-juegos, robots de cocina, redes sociales, etc. Tantos objetos que evolucionan, que vamos comprando y utilizando sin preguntarnos si, al final, los necesitamos realmente. Y la mayoría del tiempo compramos las mismas cosas que la gente del mismo nivel social, perdiendo así nuestra subjetividad y creatividad. No es decir que debamos dejar toda la tecnología nueva de lado, pero hay que tener cuidado, ser crítico y utilizarla de manera inteligente.

Los proyectos urbanos participativos se posicionan a dos escalas diferentes: la primera local y la segunda global. En la escala local, la mayoría de los proyectos proponen que las intervenciones sean low-cost y low-tech, realizadas a mano con instrumentos básicos para que todo el mundo pueda participar y mostrar a la gente que con pocas cosas se pueden hacer grandes cosas. En la construcción de los proyectos se niega el uso de la tecnología para denunciar la dependencia y la falta de creatividad de la gente alienada por la ella. Pero por otra parte, utilizan Internet como un medio de comunicación fuerte para que las intervenciones locales puedan tener un efecto más global. Saben utilizar las nuevas tecnologías y las redes sociales para compartir las ideas creativas y educar a la gente sobre el desarrollo sostenible. Así, en oposición a los situacionistas, los organizadores de los proyectos participativos piensan que las nuevas tecnologías, a través de su uso inteligente, contribuyen más a la creatividad que a la alienación.

Aprender el trabajo creativo, manual y concreto.

Revolucionarios apolíticos

Finalmente, la diferencia principal entre la posición de los situacionistas y los procesos de intervenciones participativas es la política. En efecto, los situacionistas son revolucionarios políticos y sobre todo críticos, mientras que los proyectos participativos no siguen una corriente política concreta, son revolucionarios de la acción, con un mensaje positivo que gracias a Internet tiene un impacto importante. Pero ahora que los proyectos participativos son cada vez más conocidos, y ofrecen una buena imagen de las ciudades que los acogen, aparece el peligro de ser alistados por cualquier partido político y convertirse en un instrumento de marketing. No todos los proyectos pueden ser igual de participativos, algunos espacios públicos deben permanecer totalmente públicos por su historia, por su significado político o social, etc. La independencia política de los proyectos participativos es una protección contra un uso perverso del proceso.

La arquitectura participativa no debe ser una marioneta política.

El análisis de los procesos participativos a través de las teorías situacionistas nos ha permitido ver la influencia que los proyectos pueden tener en la vida cotidiana de los ciudadanos. Las acciones participativas no deben perder su frescura y seguir investigando sobre la vida cotidiana y la creatividad, el conocer a sus vecinos y conocerse a sí mismos. Pero, por último, los procesos participativos deben tener cuidado en no convertirse en un instrumento de marketing. ¿No sería el colmo que los proyectos que investigan sobre de la vida cotidiana y la creatividad acabasen participando de la sociedad del espectáculo? Guy Debord se revolvería en su tumba…