Post-Socialist Urban Furniture, Benjamin Cope

This text lays out some considerations regarding socialist urban furniture with a view to better understanding the context in which post-socialist urban furniture functions.

Rytas Statue, Lazdynai, Vilnius (archive photo)

On the basis of a number of examples, it argues that the key characteristic of design elements in socialist urban planning was their embodiment of the connection of the individual to a wider social whole. With the collapse of communism, this frame disappears. Elements of the socialist built environment now remain as material evidence of the unfulfilled promises of the past, reminders of inhabitants’ current alienation in an unbound social context. The argument made in the text is that considering how to hack urban furniture in the post-socialist context requires engaging with the fact that the overall programme in which the society was written has already definitively collapsed. What roles might projects around urban furniture play in this context?

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