s/título | untitled
site specific | photography & wood seat | 2005
Located in the northern region of Lisbon, Alta de Lisboa is one of the largest urban planning in Europe. The project was based on “New Urbanism”, the American movement of urban design that originated in the 1980s. Its goal was to reform all aspects of real estate development and urban planning, from urban retrofits to suburban infill. New urbanism neighbourhoods are designed to contain a diverse range of housing and jobs, and to be walkable.
The first impression one derives from this urban space is of emptiness, of something devoid of life. On a second approach, we understand the rehabilitation of the area and the project gains interest: the former quarters were mainly illegal, built without a plan and harbouring a growing criminality.
The urbanisation of a large area, with the subsequent rehousing of the people who inhabit it is a positive idea. However, two questions must be posed: Will this ambitious goal be accomplished? Is this project solely of an urban planning nature or is it accompanied by a social work plan that is able to reintegrate the inhabitants?
The project is based on these two questions. The placement of a vinyl with the image of a child in her room surrounded by toys, give the idea that the child is under the surveillance of an adult vs. observer. This adult/observer, sitting on the wooden seat, placed in the playground in front of the photo, observes the child in this way, from outside to inside.
The crime history of the area was (and is) well-known; its implication was the absence of living conditions, both for adults and children, and now the reason for a non dwelling of the inhabitants in this neighbourhood is the lack of a social reintegration in all levels.