Plans and Politics — Form and Organization as Political and Cultural Expression
We explore plans as being a product of architecture’s design interests in conjunction with the messiness of politics as design’s cultural and contextual condition. As a whole, plans and politics form our understanding of what comprises the discipline of urban design. ‘Plans and Politics,’ taken together as an approach, appreciates the city as an ongoing experiment in freedom. Such experiments can also fail. ‘Plans and Politics’ is about power, ideology, and their outcome within a collective setting. Design skillfully subverts power for its own interests. As architects, we want to be political without having to become politicians. Through a disciplinary approach to research, architecture has the ability to take what used to be a political job and turn it into a design opportunity. The products of this research and design are political fictions imposed on reality and vice versa.
Within a project-based setup, specific politics of and in architecture and urban design are researched, projectively interpreted, and promoted through various media and venues. Plans and Politics accomplishes this in two project-based areas of study, where 1) urban form focuses on architecture at the scale of its essential urban features; and 2) organization builds on our interest in the city as an aggregation of individual entities that produces cumulative effects, in other word forms new collectives. We operate within such emerging phenomena from different perspectives, like the ones of government agencies, developers, individual users and other participatory stakeholders in order to find balanced outcomes between excessive interests. Consequently, these extreme projections may enable us to critically discuss alternative development corridors for the urban environment.
Within the context of the Future Cities Laboratory, we founded the ‘Office of Urban Regulation’ – OUR. This office continues our research in the field of steering the city by means of regulatory frameworks, both on the administrative level as well as on the level of design guidelines and strategies. OUR is also an open source database fed by our individual research outcomes but also collecting relevant material from other sources, in order to provide a solid base for the development and testing of rules as tools to steer qualitative urban developments.
Further information: http://www.plansandpolitics.com