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  • The Ecology of Legible Space

2016, Book Section, The Ecology of Legible Space In: Pipkin, Lacey, (ed.) The Pursuit of Legible Policy: Agency and Participation in the Complex Systems of the Contemporary Megalopolis. Grey Cities, Green Infrastructure . Buró Buró Oficina de proyectos culturales, Mexico City, pp. 73-79. ISBN 978-607-96255-5-9

Abstract or Description:

“Today’s planner has an arsenal of technological tools, from lighting and heating to structural support to materials for buildings and public spaces, which urbanists even a hundred years ago could not begin to imagine. We have many more tools than in the past, but these resources we don’t use very creatively ( Richard Sennett, 'The Public Realm').
The documentary Pruitt Igoe Myth describes the story of the Pruitt Igoe council estate in St. Louis, Missouri, through a series of interviews of former residents. The complex was blown up in 1970 because of its state of social and physical decay. For such violent action the American architectural historian Charles Jencks describes Pruitt Igoe’s demolition as the day when Modern architecture died (Jencks, 1977). In light of these events, the documentary explores the economical, political and social causes and effects that lead to that final day. The stories told by residents unfold an interwoven pattern where architecture is one of the fragments of a complex urban plan of invest- ments and social housing policies the government undertook to regenerate the city of Saint Louis. If on one hand Pruitt Igoe represented the government’s attempt to give slum dwellers a better place to live, on the other it also supported and triggered “white flight”; once the government sold land at a cheap price, white Americans left downtown to pursue the American dream in the suburbs. In addition to the social segregation created by such politics, Pruitt Igoe’s residents had to agree to a series of policies before moving into the brand new apartments (Freidrichs, 2011). Policies didn’t take into account the social substratum existing in the communities; they established rules decontextualized from the people they were defined for. As a result, the policies became the trigger of social decay, because of the division they created between communities and government.
How can policies speak the language of communities? How can the government de- sign a set of rules that help run the organic complex machine of the city and reflect citizens’ social and cultural background? This essay would like to address possible strategies that contribute to the legibility of governmental policies under the roof of citizens’ everyday experience of the city. It will look at the social syntax that shapes policies and at the value they have in creating ways for citizens and government to interface.

The book 'The Pursuit of Legible Policy: Agency and Participation in the Complex Systems of the Contemporary Megalopolis' is the result of a binational collaboration in which urban laboratories from London and Mexico City worked together to identify and propose tools and methodologies to make policy legible. The project was supported by the Newton Fund, the British Council, IIMAS - UNAM and CONACyT

Official URL: http://legiblepolicy.info/book/Legible-Policies_BB...
Subjects: Architecture > K400 Planning (Urban > K440 Urban studies
School or Centre: School of Communication
Funders: British Council, Newton Fund, CONACyT, UNAM – IIMAS, Laboratorio para la Ciudad, Future Cities Catapult, Superflux, Unidad de Protocolos, Buró–Buró
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2018 09:15
Last Modified: 25 Apr 2018 15:04
URI: http://researchonline.rca.ac.uk/id/eprint/3400

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