The speakers at our event!
The three key points that came from our event are:
- The Lefebvrian understanding of space as ‘something’ that can never really be designed was prevalent in quite a few presentations. There is always a multiplicity and in this multiplicity which moves as Matthew Carmona showed through the urban-design continuouum,we kept asking 2 main questions: What is the role of designer/architect? and When is it the right time for an intervention to be made in a certain physical space and who should be the ones deciding what is to be done? (with a reflection on the PROCESS that each bit of space passes through and how is this process negotiated among the key stakehodlers interested in a piece of land.)
- The binary oppositions such as the narratives of loss, end, death and the one of change and regeneration in public space discourse, feed hyperbolic thinking and create a too much black and white picture. Actually, meaning is more nuanced in contexts and more attention should be paid to really understand the small things of every day life: gestures, smells, trajectories, sounds, comfortable elements and how people interact whit them.
- Public space is fundamentally a political space, a space where freedom is negotiated among different groups and also a space where difference can manifest itself. In an increasingly privatised world, there has been a resurgence of movements appropriating space and expressing their rights, wishes, needs.
One recommendation from this and the overall discussion for future research and focus in our field would be:
The focus of urban design research on the process: too few analyses compare the process with the outcome and at thesame time there are very few systematic reviews of urban design schemes (like buildings have) (Matthew Carmona). In this context important questions are:
Who controls the process? and related
How does power work when space is transformed?
Who decides on the best scheme?
When its right time for (re)developing a place?
What is our role as academics in influencing the built world?