Housing in a city 1, abstracts
DALIA MILIÁN BERNAL (Tampere University, Finland): Casa Taft 169: A communal home, a platform and a transformative project in a Latin American city
The aim of this paper is to discuss how the phenomenon of temporary uses is unfolding in the context of Latin America and catalyzing change within the bounds of vacancy and abandonment. Focusing on the project of Casa Taft 169, a house located in San Juan, in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, the paper illustrates how temporary uses have transformed urban spaces, experiences, as well as, policy in the island. Drawing on an ongoing narrative research and secondary data, I describe the social and political context in which the project unravels. Subsequently, I analyze how the community of Casa Taft 169, appropriated and transformed an abandoned house into a communal home, a platform and a project to counteract the socio-spatial struggles brought about by severe neoliberal economic practices, a lack of sovereignty and extreme weather events. In this house, people assemble and think of hands-on solutions to diverse issues concerning their localities. Collaborating with different actors, the community of Casa Taft 169 helped enhance the curricula of the local primary school and provided a space for the students when the school ceased to operate. Following hurricane Maria, the space became a strategic collecting point for food, water and other supplies. However, one of the most important contributions of Casa Taft 169 to Puerto Rico has been its transformation of the law to allow municipalities to expropriate abandoned buildings and sell or rent them to non-profit organizations for non-commercial purposes. The findings of this study reveal how citizens transformed an abandoned house into a home for the community in this Latin American city.
Keywords: temporary uses, co-creation, Latin America, social production of space, right to the city, home
LUIS PALACIOS, BEATRIZ ALONSO (ETSAM [UPM], SPAIN): When a patio becomes a city. (In)volution of Carrières Centrales, Casablanca (1953–2018)
Description: In the decade of the 50s, the city of Casablanca suffered an enormous demographic growth. Turned into a strategic port during the French protectorate, it had to accommodate more than 140,000 people who arrived from the countryside.
The most extensive of the urban developments, Carrierès Centrales, was introduced as a relevant case study in the CIAM IX by the GAMMA team. Michel Ècochard, Candilis and Woods reinterpreted the traditional Moroccan house in a compact horizontal fabric as well as in singular buildings, making the typology not only the pattern of a house, but of the whole city.
Methodology: Revisiting Carrières Centrales 65 years after its construction allows understanding the metamorphosis that the urban fabric has undergone over time and the main architectural and social parameters that have influenced their transformation, fact that motivates the critical analysis of the research. To achieve this goal, a fieldwork has been carried out based on a research trip in October 2018, contact with native professors, access to the archives of the University of Casablanca, interviews with the inhabitants, as well as the rigorous exercise of redrawing and graphing all the architectural elements since their construction and subsequent modification.
Discussion: The evolution (involution?) of the urban fabric supports the following hypothesis: the application of an imported urban model to a developing country is considered a failure by not taking into account the adaptation to changes in the life of its inhabitants. Time defines, modifies and adapts architecture to the needs of society. Culture, politics and economy influence the transformation of the city as a reflection of its population. Learning from Carrières Centrales, we understand the need to include time as a parameter in the design process to address the increasingly complex response to the contemporary city.
Keywords: Carrières Centrales, Casablanca, time, change, society, patio house, revisited>
HANNAH STROTHMANN (University of the Arts Berlin, Germany): Unsettled – Reconsidering homelessness through the lens of (urban) movement
Who has the right to call the city a home? And what does it mean to have no home in the city – to be homeless? Who decides that someone is homeless?
While homelessness is considered to be a global issue, the understanding of homelessness differs across cultures. Someone living on the streets of Mumbai is not necessarily considered a homeless person in Indian society. The notion of “home”, there, is not related to housing, dwelling space, or shelter, but instead linked to the idea of kin, of family. While in English homelessness is clearly tied to the notion of “home” and not house, other languages refer to it as “roofless” or “shelterless”; the main Ghanaian languages do not even have a word for homelessness. – What is our issue in Western capitalist societies with homelessness? Why do we deny the homeless the right to define the city as their home?
I propose to reconsider the notion of urban homelessness under the lens of movement, suggesting that the long prevailing stigma against the homeless community is a result of the deeply rooted idea that those living an unsettled life form a risk to capitalist societies. By living on the move, by choice or without one, the homeless population embodies the resistance to the capitalist precept of property ownership. Instead of supporting the homeless sleeping rough on the streets, legal means are introduced to criminalize and dispel them from public space. Similarly, hostile architecture is introduced into urban design of public space, like park bench partitions in order to prevent people from appropriating them in a comfortable way. On a broader scale, the “Homeless Relocation Program” in the US, busses people out of the cities, moving them out of sight as a way to “solve the problem”. All these measures push those living in unsettled conditions continuously back into them, they have to keep on moving, creating a continuous displacement as well as a reinforcing circularity.
Identifying the stigmatization of homelessness as being related to notions of movement versus property as well as reframing what makes a home (in the city) – a shelter, privacy, friends, family – will question the idea of property as the fundamental value often connected to it.
MINNA KULOJÄRVI (Tampere University, Finland): Quarticciolo – A case study of a suburb as dissonant heritage
This article examines the suburb of Quarticciolo, built between 1938 and 1943 on the eastern periphery of Rome, Italy. In the collective memory, Quarticciolo has a reputation of being built by fascists, as an area where the opponents of the regime were moved into from the demolished buildings in the historical centre. According to the narrative, the blocks of flats were built in straight rows to hinder the organization of riots, and in the middle of the area was placed a high-rise tower that was supposed to become a Casa del Fascio, the local fascist party building, to facilitate the supervision and control of the residents. This working-class area has later suffered of limited means, social problems and inadequate maintenance.
On the other hand, a strong memory of partisan resistance is attached to Quarticciolo, as one of the centres for the battle against the nine-month German occupation of Rome between 1943 and 1944. Especially in the first decades of the new Italian Republic, the recollection of resistance has been emphasized when reminiscing the days of the fascist regime. This applies also to Quarticciolo. Underlining the partisan history of the area can also be seen as a means to coming to terms with the uncomfortable past. Does the concept dissonant heritage – by which is often referred to the cultural heritage of the European totalitarian and dictatorial regimes of the 20th century – suit the area any longer?
The area is now reconstructing its identity, which shows in the increase in projects with interest to the history of the area, and in the establishment of communal services and centres as well as in artistic projects. Through the case study, the article also illuminates how the reactions to the architecture of the fascist period have slowly changed during the decades.
Keywords: Italy, 1930s, 1940s, fascism, residential architecture, suburb, resistance, brava gente