Continuing our exploration from the last stage, we have started to define some of the parameters which constitute the notion of suburban space in Wenduine. We then conducted a series of ‘what if’ experiments and changed/challenged the validity and impact of said parameters.
The experiments are as follow: Foot Prints, Formal Car Space, Boundaries, and Space Programming. In each theme, two or more ‘what if scenarios’ are stipulated; each polarizing the other as antitheses and the results evaluated.
Foot Prints: People in Wenduine live in bigger houses than they actually need!
What if …
The 50% of each house’s footprint was provided for public use.
Trying to picturesque the city, the scenario challenges the privacy levels of residential areas of Wenduine. We move from a single to a double use of the built space; which encourages introverted and extroverted space. Public is welcome to use the 50% ground floor of every house to satisfy the public needs. Various activities take place like medicine facilities, public transportation, sports facilities, etc. The scenario clearly challenges the fact ‘lifestyle’ which is currently constituted by poor human relationships. After many interviews people are found to live alone with their families and they seem to like it. Contradicting “Suburbia’s nature” the scenario as a cultural impact shows a radical change between people’s relationships as it provides reasons to enable human interaction. In a macroscopic analysis the flow of activity is rising, people limit the use of their cars since there is no need to move to the close cities in order to satisfy their needs.
What if ..
Every house’s footprint was doubled +100% and sectional volume was halved -50%
The alternative scenario is based on a test which does not touch any human interaction levels but is focused on what the “eye” perceives. The “lost” historical skyline is attached to the picture, history’s value seems stronger. The notion of walking in the city acquires a “visual grid” which aims on high orientation levels. This notion creates questions about social gatherings, about a centre, or not. Next steps are created for our team to get deeper to that notion of the (-non)centre.
Formal Car Space: The basis was that there was a large amount of space allocated for parking cars.
What if …
We increased the density of parked cars/space allocated to park cars?
In the first, the implications of this were that, perhaps by centralizing such spaces, sprawl could be reduced, and the city made more compact; thus allowing better pedestrian flow. This question of mobility of the elderly is a recurring theme in this studio’s discussions.
The programme for these spaces was altered to suit other purposes?
Secondly, by swapping the function of these spaces, we could accommodate a greater variety in the suburbs. The houses could host flea markets or small music shows and gatherings in a scale suited for intimacy. This was an extension of an earlier idea to de-centralise the city centre. The implications of this could be that there is no centre; instead, clusters or nodes of programmes and activity throughout the city. Conversely, this could promote an increase in sprawl.
Boundaries: People in Wenduine deal with the issue of privacy by raising fences and borders
Every private, internal boundary was removed?
Every public, external boundary was removed?
Every private, internal boundary was made into a pathway?
The question of boundaries and delineating space has deep significance on how people define their territory, defend it, and claim ownership of space. Based on these experiments, our consensus is that elimination of boundaries altogether is impractical and not a sound solution. The need to define and establish boundaries is innate and is present not just in the European cultural context. This led to a train of thought where the notion of thresholds or series of thresholds could be utilized to claim ownership of given space, as opposed to explicit lines of delineation. We stipulate that this could make for more permeable and malleable space, perhaps improving social interaction.
Spaces Programming: In Wenduine, there is a marked delineation between built and natural space
Every household is obliged to produce 50% of its own food?
Every household is obliged to provide 50% of their land for communal park space?
In this scenario, we once again looked at the notions of boundaries and programme. In the first, we looked at how suburbia might change if people with land had to grow some of the food they consume. If each household produced a certain crop, there will be opportunity for exchange and by extension, communal interaction and a sense of solidarity. It may even allow a percentage of current agricultural land to be freed for other purposes. Conversely, if 50% of land is given for communal/recreational parks, it could change the dynamics of the (vehicular) street at the zenith of the hierarchical order; pedestrians could claim that spot.
This once again brings forth the themes of boundaries, exclusion, and mobility, among others.
Based on this, our thoughts were ‘mapped’ to gauge our overall opinion of the site.
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