Activity: Participating in or organising an event types › Participation in workshop, seminar, course
StreetSpace is a multidisciplinary project examining superdiverse streets.
At this workshop we analysed physical, historical and experiential aspects of a Naples street and provide an alternative way of thinking about its planning, preserving and development. We will deal with problems of community, class, gender, crime, commerce and consumption, and also culture, performance and ritual.
10 Queen's Students and 20 students of the international Masters of Urban Design participated in a 5 day workshop to explore Corso Garibaldi.
Students worked in 5 groups:
1- Housing and cohesive communities Housing is a crucial and elemental part of cities. Inhabiting is one of the main activities where the architect has an input and agency upon the lives of people. Segregation of housing and all other urban functions since the beginning of the twentieth century has proved to be very problematic. Residential areas detached from all other human activities have provided a landscape where long journeys in different types of transport define the lives of people in cities. Belfast has now the potential of providing housing embedded in the city. Castle Street, North Street and the corridors that link them to the periphery can become thriving places where people live. This group will explore the potential of the streets studied to provide comfortable, affordable and sustainable housing for a diverse public.
2- Agency culture art and education Culture and art define the identities of cities. They provide the background to most activities and help sustain the authenticity of places. They appear as part of the established community or in the back lanes and interstices of the city. North Street is part of the Cathedral Quarter, which has seen a resurgence of the arts community and a revival of local arts. Castle Street on the other hand is part of a more engrained and traditional culture, where food, music, pubs and services have survived through blitz, troubles and globalisation. Activism groups have recently resurfaced to claim these spaces from the threat of commercial redevelopment. This group will investigate the arts and culture of the area, involving the local arts and activism communities.
3- Commercial City centres would not exist without trade. Retail needs to be sustainable and to cater for the local community. It needs to provide profit for the trader and sell products needed by the community. What kind of trade do we want for our city? Where does the profit go? Castle Street and North Street are strongholds of local traders, different from the rest of Belfast City Centre. However, is this trade sustainable? Can the city contribute to the survival of local traders under the pressure of international trade giants? This group will study the retail and commercial value of North Street and Castle Street to understand their physical and commercial significance for the city.
4- Public realm and street design Streets are essentially public spaces and connect diverse areas of the city, weaving together the urban fabric. Academia has largely defended the value of streets as public spaces, while urban design firms have proposed solutions to the design and improvement of streets for pedestrians. Meanwhile, some cities have failed to address problems of streets such as low occupation, dereliction, demolition and replacement of the built fabric, leaving them in the hands of private development. This group will look at streets as public spaces, analysing the spaces, materials, atmosphere and thresholds between public and private space.
5- Movement and access Streets are not only corridors that help you get from A to B. They are complex spaces, very difficult to control and manipulate, but which have been cleverly designed by road experts to suit the most important of means of transportation: the private car. Now this prominence of the car is challenged from all fronts: health, activity, sustainability. Walking is an experience, while driving can transform from a pleasure to a nuisance depending on the environment. Belfast has suffered enough from road led development. It is time to question this tendency and start providing proper alternatives for public transport, cycling and walking, that will allow the communities in the inner city to have a pleasant experience of arriving to the city centre. This group will analyse movement and access through close observation and diagrams, focusing and understanding schemes of best practice in other cities to provide alternatives for the existing streets.
A series of maps and illustrations resulted from the workshop, which challenged established methods for mapping and drawing streets as public spaces.