Recycle limburg international workshop
Zuyd University, The Netherlands
“We recycle things that are subject to a life cycle. Parts of cities, objects, materials: talking about the city as something that can be recycled makes us think about its rhythms, life cycles, metamorphoses.” (Viganò P., 2012 in Fabian, L., Giannotti, E., & Viganò, P. )
Cities and territories as renewable resources is today quite a shared concept among architects and urbanists; however each territory is unique, hence needs specific approaches to be “re-cycled”. This implies to closely observe territory and read the traces left from the continues process of transition, cancellation and rewriting (Corboz 1983).
Located in the South of Netherlands, Limburg appears to be a territory in transition and is certainly going through deep-set changes and be at the conclusion of one or more life cycles. Speaking of life cycle for cities and territories entails to understand dynamics of transformations, which occur slowly or after radical shocks. Each of them implies losses and costs, but offers potentiality of under-performing sites. Starting from the evaluation of what already exist the concept of recycle aims to work with former architectural elements, infrastructures, public spaces and vacant sites.
This workshop focuses on the public space of Kerkrade West. The municipality of Kerkrade is part of Parkstad Limburg. Parkstad Limburg is an alliance of eight municipalities in the south-east of Limburg with a shared history in a.o. the coal mining industry.
Kerkrade West is one of the districts within Parkstad Limburg with a complex and multiple problems: population decline, ageing population, unemployment, out-dated housing, vacancy of houses and shops, etc. On the other hand there is a clear change readiness by the municipality and part of the inhabitants, shopkeepers and entrepreneurs. Socio-spatio-economic policy of the municipality is focussed on countering this issue with selective restructuring/redevelopment and by trying to develop a new identity for Kerkrade West. The approach here however is rather traditional (top down, bureaucratic) and faces difficulty in stimulating/supporting initiatives from the local community.
Picture 1) Artist work in London
Picture 2) temporary appropriation of parking plot in Canada
2) PUBLIC SPACE
The transition of a territory is never socially neutral.
Working on collective, shared spaces implies the engagement of local people and the necessity to understand the meaning of this concept in their everyday context. The meaning of so called “public space” is not only a question for designers and administrators but is a challenge for everybody. All actors will play an active role in the development of a new direction, as space cannot only be considered from a ‘technical perspective or expertise’ (Certeau, 1984)
An attractive and shared public space is fundamental for the social and cultural functioning of a neighbourhood and the wellbeing of the inhabitants. Public space contributes to the identity, sustainability and liveability of neighbourhoods.
Many of the 20th century neighbourhoods/districts of Parkstad-Limburg suffer of a lack of qualitative public space; a public space that is socially and culturally meaningful and attractive for a diversity of users. In Parkstad public space is well maintained but very mono-functional place, often designed with a narrow focus on mobility and/or social safety. This results in a space mainly used as traffic space, parking spot or ‘visual greenery’. Therefore the social and cultural potential of public space often remains unused, and often perceived as nuisance.
A stimulating and shared public space on the other hand can contribute to social interaction, the potential and wellbeing of local communities. This workshop focuses on the re-invention of public space. It aims to strength : a new neighbourhoods identity, the vitality and resiliency of local communities by designing (strategies for) sustainable and a temporary and innovative interventions in public space.