When work becomes passion and passion becomes reality / Interview Jacob Bundsgaard, mayor of Aarhus & alderman Marc pera Christensen / Go Green Aarhus 2017 / Theory U / The Yes! Municipality / Godsbanen Trailerpark / Furture Practice- Knowledge & Experiments / Entrepreneurial Portraits /City of ceres : How to build a City / Hope is Green / Aarhus University: Student Incubator / Let's Go Co-Create / Steps toward a Sustainable Future / Green Entrepreneurial portraits / Sustainable Footprint / Eco System /The Thornico Building / Spot a Wealthy Investor
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As observers and influencers of the local cultural landscape, unused space is a concern for many creatives. Urgency! Yes, there is urgency now. Today’s economic restraints feed into some of the thinking for this article. Unused spaces are caught between their old industrial occupations and ideas of remodelling new realities.
We have asked ourselves, how do we remodel the city for the openness required in these days of mobility and flux? We look at space and its uses as being a platform to get people making, creating and sustaining a life that is done with love and loves to be done. This idea seeks to realign individual desires and self-interest within a collective consciousness, focusing as much on responsibilities for ‘us’ and ‘our joint world’ as choices that are only for ‘me’ and my selfish needs. There is an urgency! That right moment to leverage what people want to do and amplify it with sound administrative eco-systemic foundations. Space is a two way street. The challenge is the fact that cities need to be open to the needs of the people that occupy and use them because at any given moment space runs out. In South Africa there is lots of space. However clustering happens on the city limits, sprawling shack cities pop up everywhere, through necessity of being closer to one’s home and in close proximity to one’s work. We think the space “challenge” is overcome by letting some organic systems take place, its the idea behind “don’t follow the map follow the landscape”. So what’s been happening? Well, Institut for (X) found at Godsbanen has reworked a decaying unused series of buildings. These spaces have propelled spontaneous and unpredictable creative and cultural works.
INSTITUTE FOR (X)
Mads Peter Laursen, founder of Institute for (X) and Bureau Detours at Godsbanen, and his tribe have given to this city a rough gem, and the city has responded by putting in the time and effort to build something we all make use of. Over the past four years they have been openly building a network and infrastructure for Do´ers, people that lust for doing and getting stuff done, the influencers and the brave men and women that make culture happen. SPACE runs out but we can find ways of harbouring these energies and in that make a city that works for its people, the people working for the city. Looking closer at the city we live in, it’s very difficult to imagine setting up a small business, as SPACE is tight and just down right too expensive. Many buildings stand empty and a flux of people move to other cities that are open to giving them a hub for living a creative and just life. Long ago urbanity implied that we have both a right to the city, as well as responsibility for it. In using freedom of the city we should have commitment to it.
LET’S MAKE THE INVISIBLE VISIBLE
At the local level residents are ready to take ownership of their environments. More decentralisation is needed, as it is way too complex to govern a city from a centrally located city hall. Jane Jacobs , t h e a u t h o r o f T h e Death and Life of Great American Cities, says: “Cities need old buildings so badly, it is probably impossible for the vigorous streets and districts to grow without them”. This quote resonates with us and as a point of departure we want to propose that the city looks at what we have now and amplifies what is emerging. At Godsbanen, ideas of mobility, temporality and SPACE as the vehicle for creative value creation witin the cultural life and society as a whole is happening. One of the people working with this is Kim Bisgaard, Head of Godsbanen. At Godsbanen space relates to creation, development of cultural competences and art production. Since both enterprise (industry) and cultural politics are talking about optimising of wasted unused spaces and buildings, our ideas naturally orbit around how we can utilise these spaces. To top this off, Godsbanen is hosting activities and creators that fully embody these ideals, artists and creative entrepreneurs alike. Temporality and forced mobility is not a bad thing, but rather an advantage or even a statement. Something that contributes quality to what one is working with. When it comes to creating value in spaces and the creation of mobile spaces, Institute for (X) is a great example. And there is a point in letting their unrestrained group get more access to Godsbanen’s architect drawn square meters. Rather than letting the established part of Godsbanen have it. “There is a small area on the ground , that essentially could be taken into use with very low start-up costs. This would give a clear advantage in terms of the content. A number of creatives are ready to unfold within these frames on affordable square meter prices (which is a growing parameter within the growth in size and magnetism of Aarhus).
In addition to the bridging of the established part of Godsbanen and the more independent Institut for (X), it would create life and traffic at what’s actually the front of Godsbanen, but what most people see as the back of Godsbanen. We need to get people to use this entrance, which it is designed for and experience the world that is unfolding in all of Aarhus’ cultural backyard. We can’t wait for the area to be fully built and a natural orienting towards this exiting entrance occurs. It can already work, with existing urban experiences to show for. Why not do it? The project that Kim is mentioning is a small housing project aimed to incubate small ‘homeless’ creatives. The idea is quite simply to place 5 - 6 containers on the grounds at the entrance to Godsbanen. These containers will offer cheap rent for artists in need of a space to work. This project, albeit a small-scale project, has a huge upside. Aarhus is full of creative people, with ideas, skills and motivation, all these people need, is a table and a small room to work in, and wonderful things will happen. Finally we are starting to see decision- makers take notice of what happens when you give space to creative people. Godsbanen is a great example of this. The next step is the daunting task of ‘letting go’ and giving full control to the creatives occupying these new spaces. We believe, that in order to make changes sustainable and give people time to adapt to physical changes one needs to consider small scale transformation of unused spaces and let it grow from there.
In closing, we would like to leave you with a question: HOW do we bridge the bound areas and transform unused space in Aarhus?
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