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.

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?

Download the full essay

 

Must Reads

Developing Cultural Formats Through a Community of Inquiry, Miodrag Kuč

The recent revival of the importance of 'communities’ and of ways of reaching them has started to exert an influence on the urban planning level, as evidenced in a striving to engender more inclusion and integration. All of which sounds like a repetition of the old mantra of urban renewal, but this time in an over-accelerated society.

Berlin Permanent link

Vivid Square, Bratislava. Shared Cities Diaries #6

In Central and Eastern Europe we often find common challenges on the municipal level; municipalities work with limited budgets, but typically underuse available resources. In practice, this means that municipalities do not have an abundance of resources to build new public infrastructure or even to reconstruct and maintain the existing one, but they own generous public spaces and other property that requires fixing.

Bratislava Permanent link

Deconstruction and Material Circulation as Ways to Build, interview with Lionel Billet, Rotor, Brussels

If you express the recycling rate in terms of value (the residual value of the recirculated products in relation to the initial value of all building products being discarded), it would be equal to approximately 1%. And that's the way we look at it. We think that next to the logistics of waste management, we need a system that allows us to maintain in circulation elements with a value – this value being of technical, cultural, or economic

Bratislava Permanent link

The physical and social normative properties of street furniture, Mary Dellenbaugh

Public space, in particular in cities, is an important backdrop for gatherings and everyday social life. The organization of public space and the objects in it, most notably street furniture such as benches, bus stop shelters, advertising pollards, and public restrooms, determine which uses are possible or allowed and help to create and confirm norms about how we should move through and use space and which persons or groups are welcome there. In this essay, two aspects of street furniture’s norming function will be discussed: its provision by various entities (public authorities, private contractors and developers) and its physical structure and arrangement.

Berlin Permanent link

Shared Cities Ideas Yard: Data pro kulturu | Data for Culture – Public Panel Discussion

What information can Facebook reveal about organizing cultural events? Who are their participants? How does culture energize our cities? Medialab, an experimental platform from Katowice, presents the results of a unique research study which crunched large amounts of data from field research as well as social media and websites. A complex network that interweaves through the cultural ecosystem of a city was revealed. Join our panel discussion and learn more about how data can be used to develop culture in your city and how to communicate effectively in today’s data culture!

Prague Permanent link

Research Publication on New Media and Infographics

The workshop New Media and Infographics was the second in a series of three curatorial-practice-oriented workshops (publications, data, exhibitions), organized by the Curatorial Lab of the Shared Cities: Creative Momentum project, in order to explore innovative approaches to the sharing of knowledge in architecture, design and urban planning. The Curatorial Lab Workshop on New Media and Infographics featured data visualization and data-driven analysis that represent architecture, urban spaces and culture in an innovative way. This two-day workshop took place in Katowice and was organized by reSITE in collaboration with Medialab Katowice.

Prague Permanent link