As part of TGS one-year program at BIFT School of Art & Design, SANS Practice co-founder Neill Mclean Gaddes is leading a three months Lab on Place -Value.
This project is specifically tailored to a group of 20 students working on the research subject of New Urban Campaigns which takes the ancient city of Luoyang as a case study. Connected to the challenge that many second to third-tier cities face nowadays in moving towards a next-stage urban and social development, the entanglements of locational identity and future planning often find expression in cut-and-paste solutionism driven by emulation – but, will the ambition of becoming the next Beijing or Shanghai, just propagate a new urban typology of semblance and repetition?
How can designers aid this process, what are the implications for place-making programs interested in leveraging the local, its concrete and intangible resources, in the growing economic emergence of such urban centres?
From the introduction to the Place – Value Program:
‘’ The value of Place; economically, culturally, and socially, is one of the core elements of growth within cities, towns and villages. Yet “Place” is still poorly understood in terms of both the social impact of its development, and the wider economic and innovative systems it supports. Placemaking, that is, the specific action taken in developing both signifiers and substance drawing on the value of a locality, is in most cases only carried out in conjunction with a development driven agenda in the service of limited stakeholders with direct financial incentive. Tourism, Retail Developments, and Urban Revitalisation projects all engage in developing the value of Place, but this need not be understood as a zero sum game. The best Place’s create value openly as a commons for multiple stakeholders and communities to both use and nurture.
For a city, this ‘mining of culture,’ carried out by private entrepreneurs often with little or no support and faced with a range of idiosyncratic hurdles, has an enormous positive impact on branding, tourism, attraction of talent, quality of life, and social cohesion. However, this is often at the expense of marginal or informal communities and independent businesses who often inhabit a city’s most unique neighbourhoods... It is understanding Place Value as a key factor in creating a holistic development and growth situation for communities and localities. Placemaking should help to define a Place and build its identity so that the broader resident community and supportive communities have a nucleus of strong cultural, and brand, value from which leverage their own development.”
Neill M. Gaddes
Outcomes will be an integral part of the students’ final projects.
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A website for the Significant Others program at BIFT will be published later in March 2019.