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Tag Archives: Urbanism

Utopia

WORLD COMMUNAL HERITAGE MANIFESTO

Since the so called victory of western neo-liberal capitalism, communal services and public space are being predatory privatized. It’s our task to stop the destructive appropriation of communal heritage by the tycoons! Before the words public and communal fade away from our vocabulary we want to remind of one great achievement of the 20th century: equally accessible public space. Here we are not referring to the public space as the place of representation for the state and its elites, such as public squares or state cultural institutions.
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We think of the non-proprietary communal space created around the Modernist apartment-blocks often – though not always – built at the periphery of urban centers.
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From France to the Soviet Union, Modernist town planning and public housing was driven by the idea of securing equal access to urban infrastructure, to light, air and green space. The solution were high-rise apartment-blocks that left a lot of open space for communal facilities such as schools, kindergartens, community houses with playgrounds, sports fields, pathways, and meadows in between the developments. These park-like spaces, immediately outside the dwelling, are available to all in equal measure and open for everybody’s use.

Let us constitute those open spaces as political space! There are no safeguards or fences that could slow down your pace! You can gather together without paying a fortune for the gentrified lifestyle in the inner-city! The openness, porosity and communicability of Modernist social architecture and landscaping that takes shape in a wealth of free space, pedestrian pathways, bridges, passages, niches, little woods and bushes is giving possibility of direct action, so let’s take it:
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Between the blocks, social movements are born! Obviously some part of society perceives this potential as a security risk that is hard to control. In former welfare-states, Modernist multi-storey apartment-blocks are being violently condemned and – like the Heygate Estate in London – are being torn down to make room for new buildings for wealthier clients. According to the same profit-driven logics, the city authorities in former socialist states sell open communal spaces to private investors that use them for the purposes of individual exploitation.
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The World Communal Heritage campaign supports communities and individuals that want to organize and take action to prevent the destruction of communal space in their neighbourhoods.
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We affirm the idea of common goods that are managed by the community and we acknowledge the communal as heritage that must be further developed by the community – and not by individualistic interests.
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Therefore we call to organize and to take over the future of the communal spaces in our hands!

Join in the World Communal Heritage Campaign!
Any communal, open space can be nominated by citizens, individuals, groups or communities as World Communal Heritage.

We initially present several spaces that bear the attributes of World Communal Heritage. These are communal spaces in the following micro-raions, housing estates or satellite towns: Botanica, Rîºcani and Buiucani in Chiºinãu (Moldavia), Heygate Estate in London (United Kingdom), Block 70 and Block 63 in New Belgrade (Serbia), Gropiusstadt in Berlin and Langwasser in Nürnberg (Germany).

We invite everyone interested to nominate and affirm their additional suggestions!

You can use the stickers, the logo and material for the initiation of a new campaign anywhere in the world.

You are invited to self-organize and to install a panel indicating that a space is acknowledged as World Communal Heritage Site as shown on the pictures from New Belgrade and Chiºinãu.

World Communal Heritage is an initiative by Rena Rädle & Vladan Jeremiæ to affirm the open spaces of Modernist urbanism as non-proprietary communal heritage.

WCH: http://communalheritage.wordpress.com/

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Situationism

THE SITUATIONISTS AND THE CITY

NEW TITLE:  The Situationists and the City

Edited and Translated by TOM MCDONOUGH

Published 15th February 2010

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“An extraordinary banquet for the subversive imagination served by the master chefs of Situationism.” – Mike Davis

“A brilliant array of reports, manifestoes, stories, and scenarios concerning architecture and urbanism, this expertly edited volume might serve as a guide in our contemporary confrontation with an urban environment once again rolled by capital.” – Hal Foster

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The Situationist International were one of the most important radical groups to have emerged in the rush of twentieth century avant-garde projects after the first world war. Led by the Hegelian philosopher, anarcho-Leninist revolutionary, avant-garde film maker, romantic, alcoholic, theorist of the ‘society of the spectacle’ and original psychogeographer Guy Debord they caused havoc in art galleries, cinemas and, most importantly, on the streets of Paris in May 1968.

The work of the Situationist International on the city has reverberated through contemporary culture. The Situationists invented the concept of psychogeography, the idea that we are drawn to or repelled from particular areas by a unique combination of emotional and historical ambiences – they saw the city as alive and the tumult of its history bleeding through its architecture and through the very planning of the streets. They also saw the city as a place of revolution and imagined that society could be changed if the urban framework was transformed.

Most of their pieces were first published in their journal INTERNATIONALE SITUATIONISTE (the style of which is replicated by the book cover). Now, for the first time, the key work of the Situationists on the city, and of key early allies such as theorist Henri Lefebvre and architect Constant, has been collected into one illustrated volume.

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Tom McDonough is Associate Professor of Modern Architecture and Urbanism in the Art History Department at Binghamton University. He is the editor of GUY DEBORD AND THE SITUATIONIST INTERNATIONAL and the author of THE BEAUTIFUL LANGUAGE OF MY CENTURY.

He is also an editor of GREY ROOM, a journal which brings together scholarly and theoretical articles from the fields of architecture, art, media, and politics to forge a cross-disciplinary discourse uniquely relevant to contemporary concerns.

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ISBN: 978 1 84467 364 3  $26.95 / £14.99 / $29.95 / Paperback / 244 pages

ISBN: 978 1 84467 332 2 $110.00 / £65.00 / $121.00 / Hardback / 244 pages

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For more information visit:
http://www.versobooks.com/books/klm/m-titles/mcdonough_tom_situationists_and_the_city.shtml

To buy the book in the UK:
http://www.bookdepository.co.uk/book/9781844673643/The-Situationists-and-the-City

or

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Situationists-City-Reader-Black-White/dp/1844673642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265806432&sr=8-1

To buy the book in the US:
http://www.amazon.com/Situationists-City-Reader-Black-White/dp/1844673642/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1265806439&sr=8-1

UPDATE 19th June 2010:

Tom McDonough and Owen Hatherley discussing Situationists in the City at the ICA on Wednesday 16th June:

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