Making the most of the present crisis to rethink society and, on that basis, to organise it differently is the proposal of the Brazilian architect and urban planner Raquel Rolnik. In this video, which is part of a series in which she reflects on different themes related with urban planning, Rolnik talks about the drastic reduction in mobility that has been one result of the pandemic, the consequences of this, and the lessons we might learn from it.
Yuval Noah Harari, the Israeli historian, professor, and writer, asks what the world will be like after the pandemic. In this article in the Financial Times he warns that we are faced with two extraordinarily significant choices, between totalitarian surveillance and citizen empowerment, and nationalist isolation and global solidarity.
With the death of the architect, professor, critic, and essayist Michael Sorkin , we recall that public space was one of his main concerns. As early as 1992, he warned of the danger of turning cities into theme parks. Here is his book Variations on a Theme Park: The New American City and the End of Public Space, which is available online.
The architecture critic at The New York Times , ponders photographs of ghost cities around the world as he reflects on public spaces that are presently deserted because of the pandemic. The images are dystopian yet also hopeful, since the aim of the collective confinement is to ensure everyone’s wellbeing. The day that the normal throbbing of everyday life fills public spaces once again, their formal beauty, now frozen, will regain its meaning.
Škofja Loka (Slovenia), 2017
Once used as an open-air car park, the area at the foot of the walls of a medieval castle has been transformed to include a square, a playground, steps, and terraced seating
London (United Kingdom), 2018
The creation of a park following the course of the Lea River from the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park to the Thames at Blackwell has overcome physical and social fragmentation caused by large-scale infrastructure while also recognising the industrial landscape which has been essential for London’s economic development.
Florence (Italy), 2017
Neglected for more than fifty years, a natural riverside space in the old city centre has been opened to the public after temporary landscaping was carried out.
Pantin (France), 2020
The empty, poorly maintained spaces of the “Les Courtillières” resThe empty, poorly maintained spaces of the “Les Courtillières” residential estate which, like so many other projects of modern urbanism, had lapsed into social exclusion and spatial-social segregation have been refurbished in a project embracing the whole estate. idential estate which, like so many other projects of modern urbanism, had lapsed into social exclusion and spatial-social segregation have been refurbished in a project embracing the whole estate.
Maastricht (Netherlands), 2020
The anthropic landscape of the ENCI quarry which supplied the Netherlands with cement for more than a century has been restored in the form of a large peri-urban park with spaces evoking water and vegetation.
Meyrin (Switzerland), 2017
The drabness of open spaces in a modern industrial estate has been alleviated with a series of deep slashes in the ground which create a sculpture-landscape representing the topography of the Jura Mountains and offering children a space to play.