For centuries, urban planners have resorted to blocks, buildings, and streets as the basic components of urban design. This has resulted most often in cities derived from a manipulation of solids and the connections between them. The residual fallout of this approach is usually open spaces that are undesigned and unorganized. Consequently, what is arguably the most crucial part of the urban environment frequently remains underdeveloped and therefore cannot accommodate diverse public activities. When built space—considered in positive terms—is given priority over open space considered negative in a pejorative sense—then urban planning tends to proceed on the basis of a prejudiced hierarchy. The public realm is neglected and daily life in the urban environment becomes increasingly subject to private interests. Insofar as ‘negative’ spaces (in both senses of the word) are intimately connected to social life in the city, these spaces should be acknowledged to have more significance and explored for their potential to yield a new performative dimension. Urban space might then be reconsidered in terms of a network of hierarchically organized voids that are adaptive to variable needs and circumstances, while serving as a catalyst for social and programmatic diversification.
Status: School Project
Location: Addis Abeba, ET