When we noticed about dreamhamar network design process led by Ecosistema Urbano to rethink Stortorget Square in Hamar (Norway), we knew we wanted to get involved in this project in any possible way… We both are architects and assistant professors concerned with sustainability, gender and participation issues and from the beginning, we were aware it was going to be an important design and social experiment and, simply, we should be close to it. I could join the online workshop PUBLIC SPACE AND PEOPLE conducted by Andres Walliser from Ecosistema Urbano and, finally, we could get involved in the multiple information cross-cuts. During the online sessions,
a) We have noticed the existing concern about the daily life space design. In fact, the urban space is usually designed oriented to productive functions (paid work) done by a small group of persons (male, white, rich, young, capable, not immigrant…as types) and the reproductive functions (not paid work) -mainly done by all the rest of people typologies – are out of the designers’ focus. In these online workshops it has been possible to visualize the great awareness on this unfair treatment.
b) We have noticed –again- about Schools/Faculties of Architecture worldwide are not neutral in spreading design concepts and conceptual tools. We have realized that people from diverse countries speak (and think) in a remarkable similar way, and sometimes we use concepts not sufficiently debated as gender topics or class approach. We understood concepts could evolve from local reality trying to meet diversity or specificity.
c) We have also realized the importance of diffusing all the existing knowledge, trying to connect it. The previously proposed local approach should be related to international existing knowledge as a way to innovate, since design (or innovation) only is possible on the evaluation of previous work base. And designing is closely related to democracy.
Our proposal is based in the idea of not doing too much in Stortorget Square, only a few actions as paving, lighting or given vegetation (trees) but relating the square to the whole of Hamar.
You can find below two documents explaining in details our contribution for the design of Stortorget. Please give us your feedback: it would be extremely helpful for us.
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Made in Hamar by Eva Alvarez+Carlos Gomez