TRANSFORMING REPRESENTATIONS OF PUBLIC PLACES THROUGH COLLECTIVE ACTIONS BETWEEN PEDAGOGY AND ARCHITECTURE

M. Guerra1, L. Ottolini2, L. Ferrari3

1University of Milano-Bicocca (ITALY)
2Politecnico of Milano (ITALY)
3Lula Ferrari Studio (ITALY)
Creating temporary collective actions in public places is a way of activating the participation (Claridge, 2004) of the inhabitants or passers-by in a given area (Ciaffi, Mela, 2006), which is familiar to them to a varying extent, aimed at stimulating exchanges and comparisons, and at the same time a way of rethinking the same places, transformed physically for a brief time, but in this way rendered visible again to the eyes of those who go through them, promoting new and stronger forms of belonging and responsibility.

The experience of the Italian collective May, made up of researchers, educationalists, architects and artists, is an example of how the proposal of temporary collective actions in public places (Ottolini, Guerra, 2017) can sustain new views on objects that may even be complex, concerning co-existence, the activation of individuals and the construction of new representations.

The paper presents, discusses and analyses a specific participated action on the topic of the street and carried out by the May collective in 2018. According to this, the participants could choose an adjective from a long list that characterized the street from their point of view. The adjectives were paired with cards in three different colours, depending on whether the characteristic was positive, negative or neutral. After choosing the adjective, the participants had to motivate their choice and then hang their card next to the others of the same colour, This way a wall was made up of different colours which showed the opinions of the residents and passers-by on what the street meant to them, what their main emotions and experiences were, but also their dreams and desires.

The qualitative analysis of the content, carried out by listing the words and motivations collected, shows how a single action can act on the representations that the participants have of a place, ideal, abstract or concrete, inducing new and often more positive or constructive thoughts on the matter. In this sense, the study confirms how collective actions, even of a short duration, that require community participation can support new or greater skills, capacities and knowledge of the participants as individuals or as groups.