Arta Basha-Jakupi – Public Space By Public Art

Arta Basha-Jakupi, Artistic Research Luncheon, 2018.

Tuesday, May 8
12:30pm – 2:00pm 

Artistic Integral Communication Design Mediating the Creation of City: Public Space by Public Art-Artistic Strategy Mediating the Urban Participatory Planning Process (Case study Kosovo)

During her Research Affiliate appointment at ACT, Arta Basha-Jakupi explored how through the processes of designing a city, artists are progressively being required to use their sensitivity in order to transform “spaces” into “places”. The technical language and instruments of urban planning in Kosovo appear to be insufficient for the engagement of the citizen’s daily life. There is a requirement for Kosovo cities to integrate urban policy approaches where actions and practices mix art and urban planning tools.

Project Abstract: More and more complex urban settings need cross-sector collaboration and cross-cultural dialogue, when planning and creating efficient public spaces that generate and sustain stronger communities. No urban planner, architect, or artist can produce it alone, such spaces develop from cooperation with the users of the place who communicate what they value about it and support the designers in understanding its complexity. Public urban projects will be most effective when they are part of a larger, holistic, multidisciplinary approach to revitalizing a city or neighborhood. Challenges to the profession grow as the role of planner evolves from engineer to facilitator, in such a context, the technical language and the technological tools which traditionally characterized urban planners’ background and expertise, call for a creative methods employed by artists that can engage people of more diverse backgrounds and draw them more deeply into the analytical and visioning work of the city planning. This paper explores theory and practice related to the integration of art and artistic strategies within the planning process of public urban spaces, in particular the public participation process by reviewing these trends as well as recent scholarly work where integrated urban policy approaches request actions and practices which mix art and urban planning tools. This study suggest artistic strategies as a urban planning tools, which are appealing and understandable by the citizens and which can encourage engagement, discussion and generating public ideas by providing their co-operation during the planning / design process, as active participants and well-informed citizens. This paper reviews for more immersion of creative expressions and practices in planning. The tools of the artist are an essential part of how we imagine cities. The search of new instruments, which could foster the dialogue between urban and everyday life, requests an increasing use of artistic intervention.

Introduction: The misreading of the project leads to the misunderstanding of the concept by deepening the problems in communication, consequently producing undesired design. This problem is of another magnitude when the engagement of the community during the design process, is mandatory. As professional architects, we encounter many situations where the clients or the parties involved within a project design, do not understand what is being presented to them and that could be, as an added reason not to join or participate during the design process. This study tries to understand if the representation mode can trigger the public engagement and education of the citizens in understanding and creating their future city.

This study starts by taking Prishtina as a case, study whereas later it can be noted that the indicated recommendation are very easily accommodated in other cities. Prishtina is a good example for the fact that its participatory design are very hard to be encountered. Prishtina is the capital of Kosovo, proclaimed as independent state in 2008, located in South-East Europe.

The non-engagement of the community in Kosovo can be argued differently by different stances, such as: result of cultural and traditional aspects; the underdeveloped overall situation due to the state corruption; the isolation due to visa regimes. And yet, there is another opinion that Kosovar (the Kosovo people), had been for a very long time suppressed from different regimes, and the governing bodies were not people representatives, therefore their voices have not been heard.

Anything that was of public realm, in fact, belonged to the government, therefore the citizens didn’t feel as rightful stakeholders. The counter argument would be the young population, since half of the population in Kosovo is young, (which makes Kosovo one of the youngest countries in Europe), and most of them don’t remember the war, or haven’t experienced none of the regimes, but still again the indifference toward the public realm exists. Whichever the reason, the lack of community engagement should be perceived as a serious problem. The planning institutions in Prishtina do try to promote community design, but the reality of public discussion showcase situation with a very small number of participants or none. For that reason, the aim was to find a specific strategy that could encourage discussion.


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