The Polis was a Party Tent. Retroactive Montages. 2018
The city consists of and emerges through agency. Thus, space is always relational and contingent. This leads to the challenge to no longer design spaces through its materiality, but rather by focusing on everyday life, ephemeral and relational actions that might be taking place in these spaces.
Considering the current trend for participation processes, one might assume that these processes react to the above-mentioned assumption about urban production. Hardly any large construction project is carried out without involving the public. However, the actual power of the participants is often reduced to a symbolic gesture of the process. Instead of enabling a (political) process of producing the everyday together, these formats mostly serve to procure acceptance.
Building on this understanding of space, it seems sensible to understand and include everyday activities as a mode of space production that is relevant for planning. Formats would therefore need to be developed that are not based on planners’ language but offer space for other possibilities of articulation and negotiation. The urban planning disciplines are thus faced with the task of not only understanding the processual character of the urban as a mode of their work, but equally developing new ways of representation that make the relational structures of agency determinable and expandable.
Using the project Building a Proposition for Future Activities as a case study, we examine the Summer School 2017 for its potential to use common actions as an articulation of (spatial) knowledge.
How was it possible to make everyday activities visible as a definable and expandable structure of spatial production so as to enable participants to speak in a language that planners understand?
The thesis works with the method of structural deconstruction and re-assemblage of the structural settings underlying their formats and use. Rather than creating a closed form, this montage or re-assemblage invites contradictory perspectives and experiences on the part of the reader by revealing the relational fragments.
Urban Design Thesis Project by Marius Töpfer and Rebecca Wall