SPECIAL MENTION – MAKE LAAJASALO PRODUCTIVE AGAIN
Paula Fernandez (ES), architect
Laura Martinez (ES), architect
Anibal Hernández (ES), anthropologist
Wojciech Kębłowski (PL), geographer
The proposal is a manifesto of urban development based on locality. The approach to the competition site is original. It is based on the identification of potential fissures on a large scale, in this case across the entire Laajasalo area. A range of solutions are proposed consisting of processes, functions and actual physical building types. The concept of productivity is adopted as a starting point for grass-roots urban development. This is one of the few entries that pauses to define the concept of productivity as a basis for planning. It extends economic productivity to the culture and social relations generated by the community. This approach creates a cross-cutting logical framework in which the temporal aspect is also taken into account. The proposal proceeds, on the presented timescale, from the co-managed process to construction and partial reversal of ‘interventions’.
The boulevard does not constitute the kind of urban corridor flanked by buildings as foreseen in the brief. Overall, instead of seeking to create a uniform urban landscape, the project gives a specific answer to each individual topographic situation. Although the urban tissue suggested by the proposal is fragmented and fails to achieve the gross floor area specified in the brief by a wide margin, the proposal itself is well argued and internally coherent. All the proposed measures and processes are consistent with the logic of locality expounded by the entry. Development is steered through local engagement and participation. The proposal does not address the question of how to control the mounting pressures to construct in the metropolitan area on the terms of the residents. No position is taken on the objectives and necessary preconditions either. A totally co-managed process appears naive in its starry-eyed idealism. Urban development is inevitably riddled with contradictory objectives that mere co-managing cannot resolve.
The proposal is uncompromising in its consistency. All the components of the concepts are logically interconnected. All in all, the proposal is an intriguing blend of criticism of urban planning and a range of carefully considered design solutions rendered in a relaxed manner.
MAKE LAAJASALO PRODUCTIVE AGAIN
The main goal of this project is to bring production back to the city. Production is considered here as a life centered process, whose purpose is to satisfy material and social needs of communities, and at the same time to continuously re-create and sustain the conditions that enable it.
Working towards this goal requires expanding the perspective on production, as well as on exchange, labour, property, and other aspects of economic processes, beyond models embedded in the free market system.
This means going beyond the economy following the logic of exchange value. A plethora of social and cultural activities involve production that hinges not on exchange, but on use value. While many of such activities may appear mundane, obvious or “unproductive” in terms of economic exchange, they underpin our society.
By expanding the definition of production to embrace activities that do not work towards generating exchange value, we are also trying to unveil the kind of “productive” model of urbanism that may be encouraged, how it may be implemented, and who should be the key agents involved in its development.
PRINCIPLES AND DIRECTIONS OF PRODUCTIVE URBANISM
An explicit and coherent process is as important as the outcome itself. Therefore, rather than proposing a closed and complete strategy for productive urbanism, we delineate three PRINCIPLES we believe are central to making any neighbourhood productive in a fair, flexible and sustainable way: Embeddedness, Progressivity and Self-Management. This principles in turn guide open DIRECTIONS for Laajasalo’s transformation: Collectivization, Renaturalization and De-Mobilization.
LAAJASALO’S TRANSITION AS A PARTICIPATIVE PROCESS
The transformation of the neighbourhood we are proposing gives central role to local inhabitants. Through a variety of participative tools and methods they should be involved and empowered to co-manage each of the stages. The process begins by identifying FISSURES in which we propose to install versatile PLUG-INs that can continuously adapt to changing socio-spatial and ecological conditions. Finally these dispositives can be filled with adaptable PROGRAMMES which involve diverse models of use. This three stages are not necessarily consecutive nor mandatory, they can go back and forth, stop and restart at any point according to the needs of the community.