Archives for category: Opinion

Connecting Stockholm is about moving down to a level of people. Moving past personal interest, moving past corporate interest, interests as a business or firm, about sharing ideas and not owning them, not claiming rights to them. On the level of the personal and the corporate, moving past the idea of gain, of selling, selling, selling.

Without contact to the local, to the personal, we lose everything. Without holistic thought we can make commodities of all sorts of things, far into the night, trading and trading money, meals, products, producing the borders again.

I keep returning to the idea of the relationship between two people as the core element of society – not the individual and her possessions, but rather the invisible strength holding two lovers together, the links between eyes, and contact – they say is the most important bit. Society in its smallest fragment is two people, not one. Society is diversity, disagreement, honesty, trust.

Still, relationships are built of individuals. The beauty of individuals are what create the fragments of fractal relationships, and without looking at these parts, consulting these parts, feeling a true and varied demos, a democratic urban area cannot connect. Relationships, interest, love. All we need is…

Posted by David

The result of the recent elections in Sweden has shown that there is considerable frustration concerning immigration policy. That the questions even exist is disgusting: what should the government do with immigrants? how many should be allowed in? from where? and how will we take care of them? I think rather the question is, how can we connect with each other? Open the borders up! Let people in! If we work to understand each other our culture will flourish, if we try to protect it, I fear that it will only die. The duality between concepts like city/suburb, majority/minority, all result in these absurd normative definitions of what an urban area is and can be.

Integration policy – and as an extension of it the policy of urban renewal – is almost exclusively focused on the impact of immigration on the host society: the consequences for social cohesion and national identity, the spatial concentration of disadvantaged groups, and social conflicts. Very little attention is paid to the way in which migrants – in the new, literal sense of the word: that is, people who do not settle permanently elsewhere – create worlds beyond the borders: transnational worlds. That phenomenon is not the same as globalization, in which the whole world seems to become homogenous. Globalization is about the increasing importance of flows (particularly of information and money), the decreasing importance is places and local properties, and a growing sense of uprootedness, of not feeling at home anywhere. Changes in the meaning of place and locality are a result of the increasing mobility of different groups and certainly play a role in the formation of transnational worlds. However, they are not purely the result of the strategies of multinationals and international organizations. They are above all the outcome of the actions of individuals and households. Those individuals do not simply exchange their home in one country for a place in another country, but create new links and networks between different places all over the globe. What is at issue here is not the existence of one world here and another world there, but the links between them.

T. Rieniets, J Sigler, K. Christiaanse, Open City: Designing Coexistence

Etymologically segregation has a moralistic tone, a religious tone:

segregate Look up segregate at Dictionary.com
1540s, from L. segregatus, pp. of segregare “separate from the flock, isolate, divide,” from *se gregare, from se “apart from” (see secret) + grege, ablative of grex “herd, flock” (see gregarious). Originally often with reference to the religious notion of separating the flock of the godly from sinners.  (Etymonline)

The purpose of segregation is to create boundaries, for our own security. This logic finds its way to the media when in Sweden it is common to blame social problems on immigration or waves of ideas spreading up from Europe. Blaming social problems on minorities is nothing new, but it’s a shame if we continue to do this. After the Swedish Democrats have come to power, the discussion has been almost solely about the problem of their parliamentary existence, or even that the media or politicians are patronizing the party and it’s supporters and not actually addressing the problems that the immigration policy has evidently created. Yet what these problems are remain to be discussed. Strangely. I feel that we need deeper dialogues about what it actually means to segregate and to connect.

Posted by David

A new plan for Stockholm is taking form at Arkitekturmuseet: Connecting- Stockholm or ‘how to plan for a Network-City’.

This is not an opposition to the new plan which the city building office presented to the city council in March 2010, which had been processed since 2007 and replaced the 1999 plan “Build the City Inwards”. The new plan is named “The City where you Walk”, or ‘The Pedestrian City’, in Swedish “Promenadstaden” and provokes questions which are very relevant for ‘The Network-City’

How to make a city inspiring for walking? A long time ago walking was merely a mean of transportation. Today walking is more of an exercise but also a pass time: take a stroll. We are normally too pressed for time to enjoy walking if it does not offer experiences of some kind: a break from the buzz, new impressions and hopefully some fresh air. Is it then relevant to name a general city plan “The city where you walk”? Does this headline give a clear directions for something as complex as a city plan?

We, Urban Nouveau, would like to dive deeper into this subject and take the architectural diploma work “Local Act, Global Change” (Sara Göransson 2005) out of the shelf…

A walk is not in place by the creation of a physical path. The points which it connects might not be ready for the exchange: the result will then be suspicion and feelings of insecurity. The increased occurrence of gated communities is an evident in case. Networks are created by the like of minds. To create a network which is not merely a physical connection, we ought to find common denominators for the points we want to connect, or, as one member of the international Connecting-Stockholm team expressed it: find the ‘Mecca of Stockholm’ or at least a ‘Mecca’ for several of its parts: increasing density to enhance the community feeling but without destroying the natural beauty values of the region?

However, once we have identified the ‘Mecca’, the next step will be to define a pedestrian route: it should offer security and shelter but also recognition, relaxation and pleasant experiences. Beyond the obvious, security is also about knowing that the route will take you to a place where you feel comfortable.

In conclusion, the Network-City is about completing the current star formed connections where every route leads to the centre and instead create a spider’s web where the centred threads are all connected by circles of threads. The important matter, which is also the spider’s concern, is to see to that the connection points are not too unevenly distributed and too different in strength. If this is the case, it is important to strengthen these points before making the connection. The connection will finally make each point really strong.

A Network-City is strong in all its parts. “Eventually everything connects – people, ideas, objects. The quality of the connections is the key to quality per se.” (Charles Eames)

By the computer: Kristina B