We met up with the lovely Human Citizens for a two-day workshop in Brussels just before Christmas.
Human Cities is a sequence of events and a network of professionals in and around the built environment, focusing on the public space as an opportunity for the humanising of our citiscapes.
The Human Cities network and festivals open up for a diversity of approaches to celebrate, design, reclaim… In short, to utilise public space and the city as a whole to live our lives as citizens. All activities demonstrate how to empower and encourage citizens to let that happen and how the city can be designed to accommodate better for this.
Human Cities was launched with the festival “Celebrating Public Space” in Brussels in May 2010 and moved on to curate a four-day long event on public space as a part of the European Capital of Culture and the first international Istanbul Designweek in Istanbul in October. Read more.
The conceptual meeting between Human Cities and Clear Village was expressed, worked on and elaborated during the micro-Lab our trustees Thomas Ermacora, Paul Hughes and Alice Holmberg facilitated during the “Celebrating Public Space” in May –read about the exiting co-creativity and outcomes here.
Click here to view the full report PDF
THE VILLAGE SQUARE – a Clear Village micro-Lab
To express the conceptual merge between human public space and the village scale, we focused these co-creative exercises on a conceptual village square.
We analysed what societal functions the village square had in a traditional small scale community, which were fulfilled otherwise and how we could translate the remaining qualities into modern and possibly city life.
VILLAGE SQUARE ACTIVITIES
+ self-reﬂection in environment & people:
talk, relaxation, gossip, entertainment, networking, ﬂirting, killing time, watching intrigues, intergenerational contact, overcoming hardship,…
+ knowledge sharing:
tacit learning, community building, moral & ethics transfer, sense of belonging,…
+ economic & semi-economic activities:
trade, job search, barter economy, swapping services, house hunting, settlements/elder council,… Contemporary urban lifestyle caters for a lot of these activities, through social media, reality tv, ebay, game consoles, ﬁtness studios, date sites, recruitment service etc. But is that as good as it gets?
We are left with issues of commercialisation of what should belong to the common good, a ﬂattening of the social dimensions of our everyday lives, not to mention that some facets have not been addressed. They form the emphasis in this workshop:
+ well-being, leisure, overcoming hardship
+ identity, sense of belonging
+ moral transfer, ethics
HIGHLIGHTS & SUGGESTIONS
+ dependence day anchored the idea of embracing our holistic nature and celebrate inter-human and human-nature interdependency in a festival open for all
+ the cage with an open door stressed that the public space is worth defending for communial activities. These will root the individual in sharing and experiencing resources -of physical or immaterial nature- whilst never limiting the person’s freedom
+ culture kitchen framed a concept of working together as a community on events, inherently facilitating intergenerational knowledge sharing and creating multi purpose furniture that will physically manifest the collaboration.