Potential of borders and shared cultural infrastructure

By Alžběta Brůhová, Architect (Czech Republic)

 

One thought regarding our approach to urban/space planning which has been on my mind already for a longer period of time, is the topic of borders. Especially in unexpected situations such as the present one, we can perceive how unconsciously we approach them. We set the borders out as the first thing (which is understandable regarding the circumstances) but no longer think about their lifecycle or how we treat them.

 

Borders have interesting abilities; on the one hand they can divide but on the other hand they carry great potential for unification as well. I am fascinated by the present spontaneous actions responding to the lack of physical contact among people which are (not surprisingly) happening on the borderline: Various neighborhood concerts in the courtyards, street performances of policemen on duty for residents looking out of their balconies, air-tennis game played by neighbours leaning out their windows… In this regard, I see a great chance in rethinking the meaning of public and semi-public space. It could serve as the spine of shared cultural infrastructure in the reccurent event of “closed planet Earth”. This temporary infrastructure must not take long time to get build and shouldn’t be material intensive. I am thinking about interpersonal communication strenghtened by pop-up balconies and terraces which will enable to turn the house into a vertical restaurant or café, I am thinking about an instant theater that will grow for the evening event on a square where the houses will serve as large auditorium, I am thinking about a mobile tabernacle that will transform a street or a courtyard into a temporary church, I am thinking about new sports whose playground will be a facade of a building, I am thinking about a summer balcony aquapark. There are so many possibilities, let’s test them together – starting now!