Idea Camp 2015: Build the City

The second edition of the Idea Camp took place in Botkyrka, Sweden from 23 to 25 September 2015.  

Our Idea

Contemporary design instruments for a qualified urban space. The historic heart of St. Petersburg, Russia, is made up by enclosed territories of different scales: from inner yards of residential houses to the areas of retail stretching for several blocks. In the past, yards were freely accessible and heavily used. Making them open again is bringing tradition back and enriching our public realm. The main idea is to reopen and re-connect the city tissue through regenerating the collapsed networks, neighborhood spirit and cooperation of the citizens.

Idea Camp guide

Open and connect

Specific Issues

By means of the engagement of community building and active citizenship, providing the citizens with the instruments for cooperation and communication, we expect to strengthen the social cohesion and diversity. This will lead to the improvements physical environment, propelling the economic development throughout local productivity forms and to create a system for the long-term stewardship of resources that preserves shared values and community identity, culture and the heritage of St. Petersburg, as well as strengthening the self-government at the local level.

Reopening the particular areas of the city and bringing tradition of neighborhood and communication back will stimulate greater human flow and connectivity.

The historic heart of St. Petersburg, Russia, is made up by enclosed territories of different scales: from inner yards of residential houses to the areas of retail stretching for several blocks. In the past, yards were freely accessible and heavily used. Making them open again is bringing tradition back and enriching our public realm.

Having conducted the first stage of scouting the area, observing social interactions in it, and analyzing its structural features, we have an initial understanding of the courtyard typology, there topology, the economic value of retail areas in the city center, the structure of real estate, and the protection issues associated with key building in the area. We are now looking to devise a mechanism by which the described intervention into the historic fabric of St. Petersburg can be implemented with support of residents and other ground-level users of the territories, in addition to city administration, businesses or any other agreement between last both, as well as any other cooperation form amidst the social tissue.

Saint Petersburg yards

Context and Motivation

Based on historical facts we have built a circuit that shows the evolution of the use of the internal spaces of closed courtyards of apartment buildings in the center of St. Petersburg. In the diagram, it is clear that before the revolution in 1917 the public use of the tenants the yard was not supposed to and it was not possible because of boundaries of ownership and responsibility. After 1917, there was the socialization of private and vertical diagram shows the absolute change in the state of space and the use of the yard. Courtyard becomes the center of social life. After 1991, in the end of the era of Soviet Union, we are seeing the degradation of active use of public space courtyards. Today the younger generation of residents requires a new, open use of these spaces and there is a generation of people – residents from 1940s – 60s, who knew how it was.

In that case idea can be expressed in two words translated into action: ‘open and connect’. This unique combination of actions/interventions will apply to different point and at different scales throughout time, starting from inner yards and extending to the entire city. It will produce new sustainable urban tissue instead of the existing collapsing nets.

The findings and final outcomes of yards’ and markets’ proposals are based on a multiple approach capable to systematize a way of looking/intervening into the historical center. This approach takes into account the fluidity of relationships between the silos of the sub disciplines of urban planning rather than an object‐design approach that would most likely tend to create non‐operative volumes inserted in the urban tissue.

At Idea Camp

Participants

At the beginning, the ideas were formulates by Quim Rossell — leader of workshops as part of Master Program ‘Building the City Now’. As students, we worked in three different groups. At the end, we’ve done a good deal of groundwork and re-formulated idea which was developed and represented under Idea Camp 2015.

Work has been provided by: Quim Rosell (architect), Evgeniya Vasilyeva (architect), Elvira Gizatullina (geographer), Maria Demidenko (architect), Nikolay Pashkov (developer), Evgeniya Lopatina (architect), Daria Tabachnikova (economist), Danil Voronin (architect), Maksim Shpakovsky (economist), Valentina Lysenkova (architect), Yulia Slav (political consultant), Olga Ponomareva (architect), Anna Griffith (designer).

All materials for Botkyrka was prepared by: Elvira Gizatullina, Evgeniya Vasilyeva and Quim Rossell.

On the upper photo from the left to the right: Elvira Gizatullina, Evgeniya Vasilyeva, Igor Ponosov, Nicolai Chirnev.

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