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ON THE CONTEMPORARY CITY
We are witnessing a banal nostalgia for pre-modern city, nostalgia for their scenarios, the homage echoes that sounded in streets and squares. Finally, nostalgia for an alleged lost paradise, whose cupboards must not only preserved but cloned to build in the most puerile and reactionary mode our urban space. Terms such as squares, streets, boulevard, etc. are intended to endorse two-dimensional urban planning projects. Paths that emulate big Baroque or illustrated operations, give space for all kinds of market operations in which the activity is handled by its exchange value rather than by its value in use. The spatial offer for human activity precariousness will validate any development program without, not even, subjecting it to be competitive in the market economy.
This desolate scene fills up with emblematic knick-knacks signed by prestigious architects, complacent hostages with Stockholm syndrome towards politicians turn. All according to a decadent ceremonial of urban sustainability, that plays as a landscape for the ephemeral and virtual symbols.
But once the needs to survive, under whatever roof, whatever place it may be, are covered, our society builts unstoppable subversions in the ins and outs, which are innovative ways for living the city. These ways of living, on the edge of the banned, weaving flows in static enclosures, locating places in saturated roads and turning the urbanism flat space scale to 1/10,000 and 1/2000 to infect it with complex three-dimensional drifts, as worms inhabiting the corpse of all the expansion, so many blocks, so many adjacent buildings, so many meaningless boulevards.
Urban is already something else; vital, expansive, emergent, hyperactive, a compulsive icons and diffuse referents constructor, where energy and information are essential materials. The periphery is no longer a suburban space; it acquired the urban role that quantitatively deserves. However, nothing new is offered by the urban management or planning in relation to peripheral development techniques, obsolete models out of scale are simply reproduced, but in quantitative terms of such entity, that as an incurable metastasis, exhaust the territory choking the city and the own urban life quality.
It is about at least, but urgently, shaking off the stylistic adhesions to develop new modes to look to and from reality, which is socially and anthropologically exciting. It is the time to slow down classical methodologies, overcoming large-scale operations from political and professional offices to trigger the micro-action of politicians and professionals on field, in which the objects and spaces value of use it’s a priority over the market value, and the actions durability is one of the variables to manage.
It is about the permanent and unfinished construction of the city (not of the city under construction) and assume that what is urban is precisely that interactive and unpredictable construction where the successes and failures are only a process’ residual part. The urban as ritual without inaugurations, open history to be written with new stories that require new grammar and new languages.
Citizens would not be recipients of the political action, but key players of it. The unexpected, unpredictable, unrepresentable city. That city is still possible.
We must summon situations to debate from other perspectives where, political, social, professional agents, citizens, etc., meet. Exemplifying contrasting methods and experiences, starting, (why not?) with micro-preformances referred to phenomena, with induced materials from everyday life, and with objectives in human and environmental ecology, to radically move references from the disciplinary to the everyday life.
These already abundant experiences must be taken into consideration with the deserved seriousness into the extent in which they built the new culture of the human environment and enable the future proposal repertoire of contemporary creators, outlining the new roles required by the present day society.
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