Trying to drive along a street in the Lalbagh area, in the city center of Dhaka.
After getting out of the airport in Dhaka, the first thing we noticed—the first thing every visitor notices—was the traffic. As we were heading to our hotel in a taxi, the streets around us were crowded: trucks, taxi, private cars, rickshaws, auto-rickshaws, pedestrians, carts with horses… All transportation modes were sharing the same space among clouds of dust, smoke and a cacophony of sounds, without any apparent organization.
How could some of these roads be turned into walkable, human-friendly streets within a short period of 5 years? continue reading
Stuck between a street vendor, his living hens and a rickshaw (first mean of transportation in Dhaka), trying to cross a four-lane road in the middle of an intersection among clouds of dust… being a pedestrian in Dhaka can look like a risky adventure.
In 2016, Dhaka was the 11th megacity in the world with 18.237.000 inhabitants. In 2030, the UN estimate that its population will be around 27.374.000 inhabitants. In rapidly growing megacities like these, with large, unplanned neighborhoods, both private and public spaces are affected by dynamics determined mostly by the pressure of the local and global economy. Public space, in particular, tends to be approached as an afterthought and becomes the residual (and scarce) space between the buildings, merely regarded as the minimum right of way and thus becoming hugely dominated by traffic. Due to lack of planning, parks, squares or boulevards are nonexistent, and when they exist, the spaces consist of bare land, often misused and treated as dumping grounds.
Walking is the main form of transportation in the Greater Dhaka Metropolitan area since 37,2% of the trips are made by foot. However, this mode of transportation is far from being the safest. Being a pedestrian can be very complicated as one may encounters lots of obstacle through his journey. continue reading
As part of its ongoing multimedia exhibition project ‘Endless City’, MAMA is launching an open-submission competition: ‘Reclaiming the Street’. ‘Endless City’ is a multi-part project, initiated in the summer of 2009, in which MAMA explores the relationships between skateboard culture, the public realm and (visual) art, with a wink to the heritage of the Situationist International.
‘Reclaiming the Street’ is an open-submission competition aimed at established and emerging artists, architects and skateboarders who have or wish to establish a relationship with skateboard culture. We are looking for unpublished and unrealised concepts for the (re)organisation of urban public spaces in order to create a place for multiple user groups including skateboarders. Whereas in the past skateboarders were driven away from public spaces and then ‘caged up’ in purpose-built skateparks, we envisage a new phase in which youth culture and skateboard culture will be integrated within the public realm. In addition to our wish to provide a valid place for skateboard culture, we see skateboard culture as an instrument for improving the quality of certain public spaces.
‘Reclaiming the Street’ takes the idea of skateboard culture as ‘homo ludens’ as its starting point for building bridges between the all those who make use of the public realm. continue reading
The 1st of October – it happened! What many citizens of Copenhagen have been looking forward to. The day when they shut down one of the most busy streets for cars, Norrebrogade, Copenhagen N. The street is one of the main thoroughfares of the capital – and it will be permanently closed for three months. continue reading