JBU (2014) 1/2 | Papers

Self-Organization and the Potential of a Commons Place
Iris Kühnlein
Independent Researcher, Brazil
Loan Diep
Independent Researcher, United Kingdom
Maya Ganesh
Independent Researcher, India

In the light of various socio-environmental issues faced today, there is an urgent need for a holistic form of sustainable development that focuses not just on economic growth, but also on social and environmental aspects. This paper advocates for self-organization within communities through the notion of place to successfully transition towards sustainability. The concept of self-organization offers an insightful understanding of ways by which innovation can be fostered to support such transition. Social self-organization is analyzed through Fuchs’ theory on agency in societies. The concept is also explored through its relationship with the idea of place. The Landhuis, a social center located in Maastricht, is used as a working example. The case highlights the opportunities and limits of social self-organization in the broader context of sustainable development. The analysis of the Landhuis leads to the idea of what the authors refer to as a ‘commons place’—a shared spatial configuration managed by those who created it.

Keywords: Social Self-organization; Sustainable Development; Place; Commons Place; Social Change; Top-down; Bottom-up; Social Movements; Social Center.

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Biophilic Design Triggers Fascination and Enhances Psychological Restoration in the Urban Environment

Rita Berto
Department of Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology, University of Verona, Italy

Giuseppe Barbiero
Laboratory of Affective Ecology, Department of Social and Human Sciences, University of Valle d’Aosta, Italy
Department of Psychology, Cognitive and Neural Science, University of Utah, United States of America

Margherita Pasini
Department of Philosophy, Pedagogy and Psychology, University of Verona, Italy

Pieter Unema
Department of Psychology, Cognitive and Neural Science,
University of Utah, United States of America

This brief communication wants to draw greater attention to the role of physical environment in the psychological restoration process. Given the benefits deriving from contact with Nature, urban designers should also attend the human need for psychological restoration. According to the Attention Restoration Theory, performance, mood and well-being benefit from exposure to environments attracting effortless involuntary attention and demanding little voluntary attention; this process called fascination, mostly occurs in natural environments though our exploratory studies showed that also urban settings/buildings can be high on fascination. Using knowledge of our affinity for Nature, experiences of well-being can also be generated through the environments we create (biophilic architecture). Fascination with Nature is derived not only from natural elements, but also from the qualities and attributes of Nature people find appealing and aesthetically pleasing when reproduced in the built environment as well. “Cognitive comfort” resides primarily in the relationship among natural and built landscape elements rather than intrinsically in the elements themselves. To know that also urban settings may be highly fascinating can be of great help to city planners to promote psychological well-being as one aspect of public health. Urban environments should not compromise people’s need for psychological restoration whereas contribute to providing an opportunity for physical, cognitive and emotional restoration from environmental stress.

Keywords: Attention Restoration Theory; Biophilic Design; Lempel-Ziv Welch Lossless Compression Algorithm; Perceived Restoration Scale.

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Rings and Pulses: The Route to Regenerating the Jerusalem Neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel

Rachel Singer
Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel

Renanit Avitan Fein
Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel

A Graduate Design Studio served as a platform to explore potential applications of ideas associated with Biourbanism to revitalize the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kiryat Yovel. These ideas served as a conceptual guide for the development of a design approach and strategy to trigger a process of regeneration. Relying on analysis of both a top-down and a bottom-up hybrid approach to activities that create urban place, as well as utilizing urban acupuncture methods, the city was mapped as a means to understand the neighborhood’s context in the larger framework of modern-day Jerusalem. The historical background was also taken into account as it has shaped the present day situation, from which a proposal for a site intervention based on the findings was generated.

Keywords: Urban Acupuncture, Kiryat Yovel, Jerusalem, Top-down, Bottom-up, Urban Place, Urban Organisms, Pulses, Rings.

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Building to Sustain Body and Soul

Jaap Dawson
Delft University, The Netherlands

In recent years approaches to sustainability have mainly focused on technological performances and neglected human soul as a major factor in the process of architectural creation. Space, defined by boundaries interacts directly with the mind through the body. Dom Hans van der Laan researches on the thickness of walls and their relations with the spaces that they are defining are certainly a precious field to explore in order to define our relationship with our built world and inner world. In that sense, the example of the Roosenberg Abbey designed by the architect in 1975 is certainly a perfect case study.

Keywords: Dom Hans van der Laan; Christopher Alexander; Léon Krier; Jean-François Gabriel; Patterns; Space; Measure.

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The City Smells of Decay

Sara Bissen
The Ruralist Body, United States of America

The re-conquering of the imaginary within assemblages of practice involves time spent in the physical, and the rise of new conditions from the full body. We are temporary rural spaces in the city, but temporal rural spaces in the city are less ephemeral than they appear. In fact, this temporality embodies a rural quality, which is that of staying power—rooted in time and space. We are the site. The rural is to be defined by communal social relations and as a place absent of dominant control, where the logic moves in a direction opposite of capital growth and the urban simulacra.

Keywords: Rural; Body; Resistance; Soil; Urban Decay; Simulacra.

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On The City Smells of Decay by Sara Bissen – An Epilogue

Stefano Serafini
International Society of Biourbanism, Italy

On the meaning of Bissen’s work for biourbanism studies.

Keywords: Ruralism; Epistemology.

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Hyperarchaic Tectonics: Looking Back to Move Forward in the Making of Form and Space

Gökhan Karakus
EMedya Design, Turkey

Traditional Eastern attitude towards abstraction, geometry, handmade work and computation share similarities with the increasing data/software-based coordination that is happening among designers, builders and owners. Hyperarchaic Tectonics points at merging art, computation and social organization. It is a tool for ecological design thinking that plays with geometrical tiling in order to interface the patterns of human and nature.

Keywords: Topkapi Scroll; Tessellation; Geometry; Hyperarchaic Tectonics; 3D Tiling.

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