DutchCulture
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Livability commons

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Livability is vital to any metropolis which is a node in global society. Residents of these metropolises more than ever in human history have a choice as to where they live and often have deliberate reasons for their choices. Metropolises compete fiercely to obtain and retain their most valuable resources, their human capital, and invest significantly in the urban design of ephemera dimensions including events, social-life programs, and investment incentives but also of utilitarian dimensions like transportation, civil services and parks.

            The Netherlands and Turkey have been exchanging their human capital for decades in academic programs, cultural programs, commercial programs, and leisure programs. Both cultures have an interest for one another’s urban life and curiosity for one another’s notions of livability. For centuries NL + TR regions are pro-active participants in global trade; this is reflected in that their culturally distinct metropolis’ are port cities, are multi-cultural cities, are today industrialized landscapes, and whose residents have a beloved relationship to their unique geographic settings. Yet the urban fabrics, architectures, cultural/ecological/social stewardships are highly distinct and resonate deeply with regional aspirations. In many ways the urban cultures of both regions reflect the symmetric edges of European culture. It is their familiarity and highly distinct urban life – even sometimes exotic to one another – in characters, social actualities, cultural aesthetics, or communal aspirations that offer great insight on urban livability and insight for the design of their metropolis’ futures. The initiative for a livability commons and an open resource platform between the academic, professional and resident communities of these two regions recognizes the paradigm of robust design practice underpinned by the creative multi-cultural knowledge exchange for the creation of their respective metropolis’ future.

            As residents, visitors and lovers of these Metropolises, robust platforms are essential for the citizens’ imaginations to flourish -- to communicate, discuss, act-upon -- as they envision the future of their city. Paramount questions concern our inter-connection with the regional ecology (including urban natural systems and energy means), our choreography of diversity of residents to amplify the use public space systems (including sidewalks and residual un-programmed spaces), our compositions in the multiplicity of histories and shared futures to steward for future generation (including re-engaging historic centers in more ways than tourism and re-thinking abandoned infrastructures). The livability commons open REsource is a multimedia social platform where city design professionals, bureaucrats, academics, residents, and visitors can actively respond, engage, understand and take design action into a more livable future – as individuals for change, as communities for action, as regional movements for quality of life.

The livability commons is conceived with three action-oriented ambitions: 1st) The structured platform: formal ‘project’ exchange, 2nd) The responsive platform: spectacle / performing exchange, and 3rd) The hub platform: knowledge resource center. Each supports the other and offers access and engagement to different resident groups. It is important that the action-oriented open RE source platforms are non-linear and are interwoven to support one another, yet are complete within their content.

Thoughts

Its direction is determined by the priorities, curiosities, participation, behaviors and engagement of metropolis’ citizens, residents and visitors. Through the use of narratives, questions, and social media.

            Open space, common space, public space, city rooms (courtyards, plazas, and squares), streets, thoroughfares, pathways, all can contribute to people’s livelihood and can be easily accessible by most city residents. They contribute to a significant percentage of the urban land and all the shared urban spaces one way or the other ensure substance and endurance to the communities they serve.

            Inspired from much of the contemporary literature in landscape architecture, urban social life, responsive environments, social learning and community oriented self-governance.

Notes

… the livability commons is conceived of in its parts and as a whole. The three proposed platforms can be achieved within their own ambitions, although they are conceived to work in concert, each can be achieved autonomously from the whole. Like an urban system, they need to have a presence to be set in a dialogue with other systems. This framework would also allow for other contributions to conceive of platforms or ‘parts’ that would further enrich the whole. The approach to including more structured platforms into the livability commons' dialogues not only invites contributions of others, but also allows the open RE source to remain relevant and timely to regional issues.

            … an inclusive community within the livability commons that represents leading thinkers, pioneers in urban livability actions, ordinary residents inspired that they be the environment they aspire to, students with professional aspirations for actuating livable urban paradigms, reflective practices that can develop and apply actions, civil servants motivated to understand and foresee their communities’ future needs, even teachers wanting to use the city as the second curriculum. For this reason the project needs to create a consortium of contributors and amplify the use of social media for the parts and the whole. This would include universities and key faculty leading critical thought in livability within architecture, urban design, visual communication design, urban/social geography and/or even philosophy/narrative studies faculties; it would include practices leading urban/regional policy change like West 8, visual designer in development of responsive environment hardware/software teams like Griduo/Ahmet Kermen, and SANAL arch|urb's design research team to drive the project development of the livability commons platforms; it would invite the insights of innovators in the global community like the pioneering former mayor of Bogota, Columbia Enrique Peñalosa, environmental engineers like Klaus Bode of BDSP, municipal urban designers like Donyun Kim of Seoul Urban Development Agency, urban planning directors like Weiwen Huang of Shenzhen, China, and their mentors as well as their next generation of dreamers to contribute to white papers and best practices; it would include academics to articulate the invaluable contribution of pioneers like Mimar Sinan, Kevin Lynch, OMA; it would include outreach to residents through social media, student pilot projects/recognizance research to engage citizens, and municipal engagement; it would also include the inclusion of other institutions and organizations for the support and investment of the openREsource platforms -- especially commercial organizations with presence in both regions…the content of the livability commons ::: open RE source will be the contribution and reflection of this dynamic group of contributors.

            … an ambitious scope, although an elicit urban scale graphics campaign between the two regions within the existing the metropolis’ existing visual communications systems and high visibility to residents – a satisfying first step towards more livable cities – to take the second step of the responsive urban room – and the next step of the knowledge resource and the coming together of multi-disciplinary, multi-generational, multi-curiosity minds for our shared future.