Rakoczisquaring in practice, Budapest. Shared Cities Diaries #4
For four days in September, the Rákóczi square hosted workshops, pop-up stores, idea-generating presentations and international guests reflecting on the effects the construction of Budapest’s 4th metro line station has had on the square itself and the surrounding neighbourhood.
A square in the heart of Budapest. In the 8th district, past the grand boulevard, in the shadow of the 4th metro line. There is a hundred-year old market hall on the square, victim of urban developments recently. The construction of the 4th metro line started in 2006. Due to the prolonged works, the neighbourhood lost plenty of its liveability, the market hall became abandoned and the square was only used for bypassing. Finally the construction ended and it turned out that the exit of the metro fully covers the view of the market hall so it became almost invisible from the boulevard.
We saw the opportunity to organize cultural events in this special context. We knew the market from before, but have not really spent much time there. During the six weeks of preparations we wandered for days in the market, started conversations with vendors, producers, the management, security, and locals. We have started to understand the place. We realized that people face a diverse set of problems, and they reflect on them in various ways. But it has also become clear that there are points of agreement, the most notable being the fact that there aren’t enough customers on the market. We learned that a third of the shops inside the market were empty, which gave a sad character to the whole place.
So we decided to bring in new, unusual activities, which could give a new impetus to the market. We temporarily occupied the empty shops for three days and opened a pop-up print shop (Verkstaden), a serigraph workshop (BPZines és Hurrikán Press), and a woodwork crafts-workshop (led by Bence Buczkó). These workshops produced the map of the neighbourhood, posters and funzines, aprons for butchers and wooden boxes and benches with the involvement of interested locals. Our only starting point was to create something that makes the place better and is inspired by the market and the Rakoczi square. Our aim was to introduce new activities into unusual settings and give a push and a new flavour to the place.
Mindspace was also present with a pop-up office and we were there to answer questions from passers-by. During the day we gave professional support for the event and used smart city methodologies to engage with locals. At a conference speakers from the Shared Cities: Creative Momentum network (Karol Piekarski, Miasto Ogrodow, Tatjana Vukosaljevic, The Association of Belgrade Architects, Milota Sidorova from Goethe-Institut, Samu Szemerey from KéK and Gábor Bindics from the Alliance Stará Tržnica) introduced national and international examples of community-driven urban development projects. The event was complemented with musical performances based on the concept of David Somlo. Several musicians gave live concerts during the days and closed the event on the last evening with a large-scale evening performance.
The goal of the project was to raise awareness to an underused public space and re-introduce it to locals. Hence we believe that the main outcome of the project is the start of a continuous conversation with them. Thanks to this process people have started to understand that they have a word in urban development, that the city is not a stranger thing, beyond their reach, and that they can form the patterns of urban tapestry. We all learned that smart actions make the surrounding built environment more liveable and exciting.
It has become clear that everyone – vendors, pensioners, young people – has its opinion about the square, about what works, what is disfunctional and how to make it better. We will spend the autumn with analysing and structuring this information and on this basis we will develop a long-term project with the involvement of shop owners on the market, public and cultural institutions, economic actors and eager locals.
Due to the success and popularity of Rákóczi squareing, it became clear that we will foster long-term cooperation with CSAPI, Operator of the Market Hall, and will involve more cooperating institutions and actors related to the Rákóczi square on a broader sense. The Rákóczi squareing together with the autumn discussions are paving the way for Working With the the City Festivals.
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.
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.
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
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.
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!
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.