Topic. In regards to cities, the word “coexistence” evokes different ways to habit and build urban spaces, involving different, multiple intentions and reactions. Coexistence can take many paths, such as through exchange, joining, inserting, and layering heterogeneous activities and expressions, (sometimes even incoherently).
This Call welcomes contributions which investigate the various circumstances and situations through which the coexistence – whether spontaneous, arranged or suggested – takes place in the contemporary city and hosts the gathering of different bodies, behaviors, spaces, times, and cultures.
The city has a long history of providing a place of coexistence,since ever; it often is not at all harmonious, nevertheless alive and proactive, just because pugnacious. Regardless, for long we resorted to separation, detachment, specialization, and generated singular spaces, in formal, social and functional terms; we wanted to normalize the city, subdue conflicts, contain the bursting power of melting difference; then, we worked out a distorted idea of control and built reassuring and forcedly quiet places, for obvious, programmed and obliged behaviors. On the contrary, coexistence tells us about intensity, that is: density of opportunities for urban experiences and meanings, spreading up from our habitat; vitality and fervor, rising from disturbance and discordance; ambiguity, contradictions and complexity, able to give sense and value to inhabited places.
Coexistence consists of situations: actions taking place in space and time. It gives chances to communities – provisionally realized by singular subjects – to express their own needs, regulate themselves and so build intentional and aware social meaning. Coexistence is not static nor privative; conversely, it’s changeable and plural. It get nourished by the inconsistency of “living together” and is recognized and legitimated just where contents are continuously realigned.
Coexistence joins existing and arising ensemble, as new plural sets of singular beings. The resulting urban space is elastic; any distinction between inside/outside, open/close, public/private, natural/manmade gets outdated. Urban spaces multiply in temporary settings, where
each subject displays his own presence just taking care of places, making them personal, familiar, tame. Designed as well re-arranged architectures offer this chance, provided that allow intentional omissions and get ready for individualizing and so opening to plurality. Coexistence asks to rethink and reclaim the role, sense and tools of design, so that design could hold, support and suggest an inventive attitude to inhabit shared urban spaces.
Question. This Call invites submissions which address urban histories and case studies that expose coexistence, or register and observe practices of adoption and arrangement of contradiction. Arguments should move beyond static categories of type, function, and language: instead, they should address the challenges of contemporary urban spaces, produced by the bundling up unstable codes, meanings, materials, behaviors. The issues and concerns of coexistence have long been addressed in contemporary design but is often overlooked or ignored by landscape architects. Hence this call encourages works and thoughts that examines the particularities of places that are deeply entangled with the concept of coexistence. Buildings, quite regardless of scale and purpose, come to be rewritable platform: crossbreeding, change, inconstancy, are the relevant categories, joining and endorsing the changeableness, sometimes few predictable, of social, economical, also weather conditions. Working, residential, spare time places, come back to overlie and blend each other, according with a new overlapping between domestic and public realm. Pop-up architecture is no longer just ephemeral, but permeates also permanent design, which, in fact, is durably temporary. In turn, for landscape architecture this means examining specific places, such as squares, streets, parking-lots, gardens, playgrounds and so in terms of integration and overlapping. In particular, contributions that explore how coexistence is often the product of behaviors that accomplice dynamics and cycles of natural elements and suggest a deep empathic bond are welcome. So are submissions that examine how nature and artifice lose their boundaries, fatally and mutually improper. Such as how nature triggers new expressive and functional interpretations for mostly marginal urban spaces – in terms of meaning and not just of geography – bringing there unexpected centrality.
This Call welcomes contributions that addresses informal practices and firmed design, buildings and open spaces, didactics works as well as those that are theoretical or applied research. Works and Paper that prompt questions such as: which are the current urban dynamics suitable to host and display coexistence? Which chronologies do they solicit and describe? Which tools, attitudes and skills do we need to design places for coexistence? Which are the favored places to test actions, practices and proposals of coexistence? Which are the new categories of public spaces suggested by realized or proposed forms of coexistence? May coexistence help to read and re-read past design, architecture and places?