Static or dynamic environment?

In today’s urban planning the emphasis on dynamic and adaptable structures is great. Social structures and society in general are changing fast. This has opened up for a new thinking towards urban space. And empty building site can be used as a temporary arena for a park, market, exhibitions and so on. Through social media spreading ideas and creating networks for user involvement has become easy. People like John Bela and the Rebar Group represent such a movement. They have been creating small parks on side walk parking slots, and in order to use the park, one has to pay the parking meter. A lot of what they do is ephemeral and changing, both in location and form. I strongly  believe in these kinds of urban planning and user participation. Temporary programs and planning driven by activism are important not just because they enrich the city, but they also form a critical voice. These projects produce hands on examples for possible change, and making physical structures seems to be the best way of connecting with not just the everyday user, but also politicians.

These dynamic projects and structures do have limitations. The ephemeral character often eliminates a certain robustness and predictability. The openness of these dynamic and changing projects also tend to eliminate more specific uses. Within a city it is important to have spaces that are temporal. One should not have to fear that for example the playground or the urban farming development suddenly gets replaced by an office block. In a fast moving world static references are needed. When I visit Barcelona I have this one spot I always visit. It is a cluster of ruins overlooking the whole city, and hopefully I can keep on doing so. Another aspect is that some program simply demand both robustness and a more foreseeable and static environment. A skateboard park can not be built or removed i one day. We have to keep using temporal sites and make guerrilla architecture, while at the same time provide for permanent environments for unorganised cultural and leisure activities.

 Skate park at Marbella, Barcelona: An example of a static urban environment.

Skate park at Marbella, Barcelona: An example of a static urban environment.