Supports for Community Life: Tools and Prototypes for Urban Fabric Transformation
‘Supports for community life’ proposes innovative instruments that can better analyse and transform community life within contemporary cities. The urban fabric is revealed as a mechanism by which alternative ways of urban life can emerge and develop. This project centres on hybrid characteristics and technological mediums that fall between the traditional and avant-garde, and that result in the evolution of communities. Those place-creation processes reshape the collective experience of the urban landscape.
These ‘Supports for community life’ understand the city as a space for interaction and mediation, where humankind lives and develops. The supports therefore aid, in a participatory way, in the building of our habitat. The first goal of this research project is to study the urban objects, small-scale infrastructures and vacant spaces that act as supports for collective living, and thus democratise public space in a renewed domestic dimension.
The supports themselves act as appropriate and appropriable technology, taking into account the specifics of the location and its local cultural sensitivities, leading to variations within different cities around the world. Technologies define differing contexts for knowledge and create collective processes based on the principles of participation, democratisation, resilience, inclusion, common intelligence, and accessibility. Accordingly, the transfer of innovation and technology plays an important role in social development by way of contributing to city growth.
As the world grows increasingly urban, so grows the imperative to fully comprehend social life in the contemporary urban context. Particularly global cities like London are at the heart of the debate over the renovation and common management of public spaces. But more than simply considering socio-spatial relations in the models of governance and organisation of global territories, this paper focuses on how urban supports articulate collective spaces in the city.
How can the urban operate as a constitutive dimension in the organisation of community, that is, where do the scenarios exist for citizens to find channels for their connection, consolidation and collective manifestation?
In this sense, London’s technological environ opens itself up in three configuration genres, URBAN OBJECTS, INFRASTRUCTURES and VACANT SPACES, which introduce unexpected dynamics within the consolidated urban fabric. These hybrid configurations that link structures, surfaces, objects and systems with emergent social practices offer alternative strategies of city co-production.
The research will decode and update these urban supports to create adaptable and appropriable micro-intervention prototypes that would function on a small scale. By understanding and reproducing the city through design and urban action, citizens can benefit from previously untapped resources of social consciousness, self-management and organizing ability, creativity, teamwork and dedication. In these terms, we could approach the ambitious question of the role of the architect in the transition towards a more democratic urban development.