ab – Architect’s Bulletin: thematic issue on participation in architecture and urbanism

In 2011 Obrat was invited to prepare and edit the thematic issue of the ab – Architect’s Bulletin magazine on the topic of participation in architecture and urbanism.

: atelier d’architecture autogérée, Center for Urban Pedagogy, Ilka Čerpes, Noah Chasin, Miha Dešman, Dafne Berc & Maroje Mrduljaš, Urška Jurman & Apolonija Šušteršič, Drago Kos, Blaž Križnik, Ljubo Lah, Mathias Heyden & Jesko Fezer, Mateja Medvedič, Constantin Petcou & Doina Petrescu, Marko Peterlin & Aidan Cerar, Meike Schalk & Apolonija Šušteršič, Obrat, public works, Raumlabor, Spatial Agency, Jeremy Till, Matjaž Uršič: interview with Maja Simoneti, Žiga Vodovnik.

When thinking about the contents for AB’s thematic issue on participation we started from the premise that in Slovenia the concept of participation in architecture and urban planning is theoretically disadvantaged and an insufficiently treated concept. Unfortunately it is often even considered as a threat and not an opportunity, which does of course not aid the necessary redefinition of the architectural and urban planning practices (Jeremy Till, Matjaž Uršič: interview with Maja Simoneti, Ljubo Lah, Marko Peterlin and Aidan Cerar). This issue also discusses participation as a complex and ambivalent concept that focuses on themes and aspects that are often pushed out of the architectural discourse and practice – such as political and social implications of architecture and urban planning (Dafne Berc and Maroje Mrduljaš, Spatial Agency). Also discussed is the importance of participation and local initiatives in the context of the capitalist city and neoliberal urban policies (Blaž Križnik, Constantin Petcou and Doina Petrescu). We question the enclosed expert discourse on urban planning (Drago Kos) and the paternalistic and authoritarian position of the expert who likes to discredit the knowledge and experience of the so-called layman. We present a part of the inspirational history of participatory architecture and urbanism (Ilka Čerpes, Noah Chasin, Mathias Heyden and Jesko Fezer, Mateja Medvedič) and stress the importance of education and literacy on the theme of spatial processes (Center for Urban Pedagogy). Examples of participatory spatial practice represent an alternative to the classical procedures of participation in architecture and urban planning and expose the importance of micro-urban planning and collaborative spatial actions (Meike Schalk and Apolonija Šušteršič, atelier d’architecture autogérée, Raumlabor, public works, Obrat). Finally, participation is also represented as a political concept and philosophy of practice (Žiga Vodovnik).

Table of contents

Magazine free for download

July 2011, Ljubljana
Volume 188-189, Anno XLI
Published by the: Architects’ Society of Ljubljana