#37 social optimism
Justin McGuirk, in his book, Radical Cities, explores a new generation of optimists among architects, planners, and civic leaders in Latin America who are addressing the challenge of social housing. He describes a new vision, where slums are no longer a cancer that must be eradicated with a tabula rasa clearance. Instead, mobility and key urban design questions are folded into housing the poor. Insertions can be as powerful as a new building. A cable car in Caracus cuts a commute from hours to a few minutes. The efforts, while incredibly local and not successful in the same way each time, allow slums and the rest of the city to unite as a more integrated whole.
The exhibition 10 Years of Urgency started as an urban intervention in Montreal that would bring attention to homelessness. Created by the artist organization known as ATSA, there were performances, workshops and meals on the site for five days each year. Steven Cottingham describes how this performative intervention is translated into an exhibition. Currently at The New Gallery, the exhibition is in route to the Centre Cultural Franco-Manitobain later this month.
Mark Lakeman, co-founder of Communitecture, and behind City Repair and early contributor to13-year-old Dignity Village, speaks about creating gathering places. He also describes why Portland supported an opportunity for housing for those without. Dignity Village is a sanctioned, self-developed community that serves men and women who were previously homeless. City Repair brings place-making and permaculture the the level of the street intersection. City Repair Calgary hosted Mark last month with a workshop and public discussion.
images: 1/ Zero Yen House, for 10 Years of Urgency, courtesy of The New Gallery. 2/ Radical Cities. 3/ Dignity Village courtesy of Communitecture.