Craig Brozefsky on Wed, 14 Jun 2000 20:17:33 +0200 (CEST)

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Re: <nettime> * open-source architecture *

brian carroll <> writes:

>  i think the institution of the university (or government) is the
>  only way to combat the real-estate industry on a large enough scale
>  to affect change.

How do you suppose the university or government will be able to affect
change on the real-estate industry?  What you describe as
open-architecture does indeed engender open dialog and the public
development of architectural ideas, but I'm failing to see how this
would change any meaningful aspect of how land is divied up thru the
real-estate industry, or what epxectations people have as to the
purpose of land and building on it.

These are the same type of questions I've asked myself about Free
Software, so I don't intend these as "stumpers" or a setup.  Rather, I
hope that it would give me a better understanding of how you see
open-architecture affecting the situation on the ground, in the
process of developing and building.

What affect would open-architecture have on the gentrification process
whereby an "undeveloped" portion of a city is rapidly bought up and
it's previous contents replaced with buildings that offer higher
return on investment?  I lived in Chicago for several years and have
watched this happen in multiple neighborhoods.  I consider this an
important problem with the architectural process because it has dire
effects on the previous residents of the gentrifying zone.  The
problem seems to be rooted in a demand that buildings make money at a
rate that warrants their investment.  This is why gentrification often
replaces low rent apartments, locally owned stores, urban warehouses
and manufacturing plants, with condos, fancy storefront and loft
offices/condos.  The new generation of buildings are architecturally
inferior[1] (any walk thru Wicker Park will show you that) but they
provide the maximum return on investment with the minimal materials

Perhaps I'm naive in my assumption that this type of development is
the dominant form of urban development.  My experience within major
cities like Chicago, San Franscisco and Oakland does lead me to
believe that gentrification is responsible for a sizeable portion,
possibly a majority, of buildings erected in the last decade.

[1] My criteria is visual appearance, ability to perform the job
    they ostensibly were designed for, and properly adapted to their
    context.  The condos in Wicker Park for instance have horrible
    mistakes, like too narrow staircases in concrete which are doomed
    to crumble within a few harsh Chicago winters, sunken patios with
    no drainage which basically become debris and snow collectors,
    misplaced "vestigial" walls that block sunlight into windows.

Craig Brozefsky               <>
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