Assemblage city: Context and conflict in urban development

Examensarbete för masterexamen
Master's Thesis
Architecture and urban design (MPARC), MSc
Faxberg, Greta
This thesis tackles the polarized debate around the call for classism as opposition to current urban development. It critically examines the effects of responding to these demands, and seeks to find alternative ways of addressing the conflict in urban development. The thesis is set in a speculative development scenario, where a central site in Gothenburg has been chosen as a testbed for investigation. The aim is to analyze how a new addition can be designed in order to transform the site, positioned between a turn-of-the-century neoclassical neighborhood built for the wealthy, and a neighborhood formerly for the poor, disadvantaged and the working class from the same era, that was regenerated in the 1970’s. In recent years, architectural style has been heavily discussed in Gothenburg. Politicians, the municipality, civilians, organizations and architects are part-taking in the debate where two main sides can be identified. On one hand, the municipality of Gothenburg is advocating for high density development, manifested in large scale typologies, creating profit for economic power figures. On the other hand, the politicians have decided that new construction should be made in ”classicist styles”. Instead of being a demand from those in economical power, this is portrayed to be a demand of the public. The thesis uses the manifesto Collage City (Rowe & Koetter, 1979) as apoint of departure for urban development, as well as assemblage theory to highlight the need for the formation of socio-material assemblages. The work is structured around a mapping phase that leads to the formation of an archive. This archive is used in the development of a design proposal. Literature studies as well as historical research about the site has been an ongoing work throughout the work. The aim is that the design addition becomes a mashup of the stylistic mix present at the site, and that the addition correlates to its surroundings. The result is meant to act as a conversation piece, positioned in a polemic debate; a sort of Potemkin Village which portrays on one side what is asked for by the public, and on the other hides the actual issue of the neoliberal economy that no longer answers to the need of the public.
Urban development , Classicism , Assemblage , Criticism , Politics
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