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2022 | OriginalPaper | Chapter

8. Expressing Urban Commons: Architectural Ambiguity in the Construction of an Improvisational Future

Author: Nicholas Frayne

Published in: Design Commons

Publisher: Springer International Publishing

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Abstract

Using ambiguity as both a conceptual framework for understanding architecture and as a social practice for living together in an increasingly urban world, I argue that by utilizing uncertainty to guide the stories we create from our lived environments, ambiguous architecture can turn our cities into transformative spaces. In light of growing inequality, continued exploitation, mass urbanization, and climate change, architecture can no longer remain a practice of ordering and disentangling urban life. Instead, architecture needs to support the fertility that exists within uncertainty and entanglement, enabling people to form new relationships, new practices, and new tools for addressing our collective challenges. This chapter engages in three investigative plateaus: (1) living with ambiguity, (2) composing ambiguity, and (3) encountering ambiguity; with the focus narrowing from the urban scale down to the architectural. At each plateau, ambiguity is used in different ways, describing modes of urban sociality, expressive structures, and communication through bodily experience, to argue that architecture can shape not only our actions, but the foundational attitudes that guide social dynamics and underlie urban commons. Throughout this exploration, I draw on emerging scholarship on decolonialization, urbanism, and design to propose an architectural philosophy that could lead us towards an enabling, improvisational future. Ultimately, this chapter offers ambiguity as an explorative tool for imagining the ethical responsibilities and roles of designers in our urban futures.
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Metadata
Title
Expressing Urban Commons: Architectural Ambiguity in the Construction of an Improvisational Future
Author
Nicholas Frayne
Copyright Year
2022
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-95057-6_8