Issue 4Dwell in possibility: liveable urbanism

'Dwell in possibility', coined by poet Emily Dickinson, encapsulates the theme of this issue of Urbanista.org. It analyses capacities for high quality public housing and liveable urbanism more broadly, investigating emerging strategies in the UK and across Europe, the subject of Future Homes for London: Alternative Models, a seminal conference staged by the Royal College of Art's School of Architecture given a critical appraisal in the issue. We put participatory placemaking and deliberative democracy centre stage in liveable urbanism's next chapter.


Community housing models: a compelling vista of possibilities

Which community housing models – internationally and at home in the UK – work and why? How does the UK’s community housing network operate and what needs to happen for the barriers to fall so that people without extensive means can achieve the solutions they need? Future Homes for London: Alternative Models, an international conference staged by the Royal College of Art’s School of Architecture, underlined the rich potentials.

Mutual support: learning from dugnad and bayanihan

In a world threatened by increasing human and natural disasters, accelerated by excessive exploitation and extraction of resources, architect and participatory design expert Alexander Furunes argues that to advance mutual support it becomes increasingly important to find alternatives to existing decision-making structures – alternatives which that do not belong to the paradigm of economic growth. He advocates collaborative practices such as dugnad (Norway) and bayanihan (Philippines) to help give voice to those who normally do not have the power to influence decision-making.

Bursting the bubble: Riga reworks its urbanist legacy

Urban planning has relied on silo thinking and across time dealt with earlier crises and changes by making big picture shifts, and applying philanthropy, creative inventions and drastic social interventions. That pattern is not so dissimilar to today’s uncompromising top down planning. But today’s circumstances – positive and negative – often usher in a process of incremental radical reinvention of planning’s metabolic powers. Riga, Latvia’s capital, where 637,000 people live – 33% of the country’s population – is demonstrating a wealth of innovative strategic planning strategies. These are likely to burst the bubble of traditional planning’s inward-facing silo mentality – well past-its-sell-by date in ways of benefit right across society.

Dugnad Days at the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2019

Today’s stern realities – social, economic, ecological and cultural – demand incisive responses and action, beyond words and good intentions. The Dugnad Days project matches well the theme of the Oslo Architecture Triennale (OAT) 2019, Enough: The Architecture of Degrowth, announced on 22 May. Through a promising sounding programme of exhibitions, performances and debates, this challenging festival incubates dozens of creative responses by local international architects and practitioners. One of them is Dugnad Days, a participatory design project staged in Slettaløkka, a suburb of Oslo, which were put on display along with all the others in The Library, OAT’s exhibition at the National Museum, Oslo, from 26 Sept 2019.


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