Urbanism & Urbanisation International PhD Seminars
Urbanism after Urbanism, VII International PhD Seminar Urbanism & Urbanisation edition:7 location:Paris date:3-5 October 2013
Our environment is constantly subjected to transformations, due to social and economic changes. When confronted to the inertness of the built environment, this process can however interrupt the continuity of the urban fabric. Abandoned by a previous use(r) and un-adapted to current demands urban spaces can sometimes fall out of the formal/functional spatial stock. Re-appropriation and reincorporation of these places is not always self-evident. In the current context of economical crisis urban redevelopment projects are moreover often being delayed, postponed or even cancelled. Therefore many cities have to deal with a number of undefined urban spaces awaiting re-destination. We are calling these 'waiting spaces'.
In this contribution we want to investigate the significance of these places for the city and for urbanism. To set up a clear definition of ‘waiting spaces’, we will first explore and categorise a number of terms that are commonly used to describe all kinds of undefined urban spaces. Next we will focus on some of the conceptual connotations that have been associated with these spaces, to point out why and how they could be interesting for urbanism.
The explorations will amount to the conclusion that ‘waiting spaces’ have the ability to form a parallel city, existing simultaneously with the official city. And that in this informal, ‘intermittent’ (Farone & Sarti) or ‘porous’ (Benjamin, Vigano & Secchi, Supertanker, Nan Ellin) city resistance to the oppressive power structures becomes possible, the inclusive character of the city can be questioned, unexpected things can happen and the future of the city could be altered.