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Tema - Architect and Society
Tema - Citizen Participation
1

“(…) we cannot assume the right to see in a professional opportunity, and above all, we must make sure to not fall in the dynamic of an assistance job that doesn’t have another function besides maintaining the situation as it already is, or what’s worse, contributing to perpetuate the political deactivation of its protagonists.” FREYBERGER, G. (2016), p. 213.

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“If it were necessary it would be called, so that they help out” without knowing that they were helping out, a prestigious graffiti artist, to decorate a dividing wall, giving an avant-garde varnish to the neighborhood. Also, it is commonly called an “Architect Collective” that makes its attractive collaborative theories visible, constructing “ephemeral installations” with wooden palettes and other recycled materials, in a strategic plot of land within the neighborhood. And finally, everything will be spread in the Sunday supplements and in prestigious blogs that mark tendencies, as well as, of course, through social networks.”, CAMINO, F., ARQUITASA, publicado el 12 de febrero de 2016.

 

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ROWAN, J. (2016), “Free culture of the State”, pp. 90-91, the author carries out an analysis of the effects of the dangers of the so called Creative Industries, alerting of the dangers of generating discourses that oppose football to MediaLabs and standing up for progress and innovation that adopts that which is experimental as something more common.”

 

Architecture and Participation, Apocalypse or Integration?

Cedric Price – “Do it with an Architect”

“Sometimes a small group of people very committed to what they are doing can manage to change things. This is very good because it means that there are mechanisms of political transformation relatively accessible. But sometimes they blind you and they don’t let you see the reality of the political majority.” RENDUELES, C. (2015), Capitalismo Canalla, p.87.

Today we are attending to a growing social demand and political desire that identifies the participatory processes as tools, not only as useful tools but rather as necessary, for the development of any decision making process. We are seeing more frequently from the standpoint of architecture that design and urban planning cannot be addressed without an analysis of the social practice of the space. The convergence of these two tendencies situates the city and its process of urban transformation as the principal scene of new participatory practices.

In this sense, we are finding that participation workshops for architects are, in great part, holding a figure of facilitation. This doesn’t have to be problematic, but it does turn out to be symptomatic of a deeper reality; these urban design practices are made up of a new profession niche for architecture, and consequentially, they interfere with economic and institutional structures1.

It’s curious to see how architecture and urbanism are presented, from within their own discipline, as professions distant from that which is economic,and closer to all that is humanistic, artistic, or more recently, sociologic. We do know, however, that both disciplines have seen themselves systematically influenced by economic power for the materialization of the logic of appropriation and valued extraction in the city (MINGUET, J. 2017) and that the reasons that make up each of these have much less to do with the desires of the architect than any of us would care to admit.

Now, with participatory urbanism, it is not different (MINGUET, J. 2014) and we are seeing how many of these practices are, once again, assimilated by economic structures for their own benefit2, forcing them, on top of that, to become part of its logical functioning: mass production and competition (from uncertainty).

On the other hand, in relation to what is institutional, it’s important to understand – and accept – that despite the necessary entrance of participation in public institutions and everything that is achieved through that, more than not in today’s world the logic of what is public has affected the form in which participation mechanisms and tools are designed and implemented.

Based off of what has been shown, it would be fit to ask oneself if this new market of participatory practices from architecture is a symptom of a professional, political, or economic system that is exhausting itself, or if on the contrary, it is the desire of said systems to swallow it. We see ourselves at a crossroads of inaction – accused of being conformist and irresponsible – and connivance – irresponsible, naive, and bracing for the established order.

And so new questions emerge: are certain concessions necessary of the system to be able to be capable of generating other tensions? From where do we have to begin to construct and constitute? Apocalypse or integration?  And well, I don’t have the answers but I do have the suspicion – or perhaps maybe the hope – that said crossroads isn’t as such.

In a third means, yes it seems fundamental to overcome the participation as a tool or method (product- solution) and assimilate it as a working hypothesis (ROWAN, J. 2016, p.18). A hypothesis that questions the conventional culture of transformation and the production of space and that doesn’t need architecture, rather on the contrary, it demonstrates and emphasizes its insufficiency. Minimizing ingenuous speeches and incorrect accounts of progress3 the same as we incorporate conscious concessions allowing for the opening of small gaps from the inside , and, together with other resistance movements, allowing us to be more capable of recognizing ourselves as equals all together within the same fight.

I’d like to show my gratitude to Roberto Ros and Luis G. Sanz for their comments and contributions to the debate and text after its revision.

 Documentation and Bibliography

Text translated by Kaitlyn. P. Delaney

Notas de página
1

“(…) we cannot assume the right to see in a professional opportunity, and above all, we must make sure to not fall in the dynamic of an assistance job that doesn’t have another function besides maintaining the situation as it already is, or what’s worse, contributing to perpetuate the political deactivation of its protagonists.” FREYBERGER, G. (2016), p. 213.

2

“If it were necessary it would be called, so that they help out” without knowing that they were helping out, a prestigious graffiti artist, to decorate a dividing wall, giving an avant-garde varnish to the neighborhood. Also, it is commonly called an “Architect Collective” that makes its attractive collaborative theories visible, constructing “ephemeral installations” with wooden palettes and other recycled materials, in a strategic plot of land within the neighborhood. And finally, everything will be spread in the Sunday supplements and in prestigious blogs that mark tendencies, as well as, of course, through social networks.”, CAMINO, F., ARQUITASA, publicado el 12 de febrero de 2016.

 

3

ROWAN, J. (2016), “Free culture of the State”, pp. 90-91, the author carries out an analysis of the effects of the dangers of the so called Creative Industries, alerting of the dangers of generating discourses that oppose football to MediaLabs and standing up for progress and innovation that adopts that which is experimental as something more common.”

 

Autor:
(Águilas, 1987) Co-fundador y socio cooperativista de la Oficina de Innovación Cívica S.Coop. Especializado en la ideación de metodologías de mediación urbana e innovación cívica, desarrolla su labor profesional como investigador, consultor y/o impulsor de procesos de participación ciudadana, inteligencia colectiva y desarrollo comunitario aplicados al diseño en arquitectura, urbanismo y territorio.

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