The Neighborhood Project
The neighborhood as urban social and formal organization supporting a varied, safe, and active existence, plays an important role in our everyday life. The ongoing pandemic has contributed to a new appreciation for the neighborhood as many of us now spend most of our time in our immediate surroundings, our own neighborhoods. Amplified by the consequences of the pandemic however, the reality for the many who do not have access to safe and inclusive environments is the opposite.
The city of Oslo is a patchwork of different neighborhoods with diverse histories and a varied architectural language – spanning from the 19th century apartment blocks in Frogner and Grünerløkka, the large city blocks in Iladalen, the garden cities like Actanderbyen og Ullevål hageby, the “apple orchard” districts with single family housing, to large-scale satellite towns like Stovner og Alna. The neighborhood has been celebrated in popular and scholarly literature of architecture and urbanism for many decades (Jacobs, 1984, Sorkin, 2011). However, also appropriated by different socially conservative urban development movements, especially in the UK and the US. Yet, the neighborhood approach has survived also in progressive circles – partly due to increased focus on the concept of “the local” as a sustainable way of urban life. Increasingly, the idea of the successful neighborhood manifests itself in politics and official urban development policies, the city of Oslo included. It is also becoming a topic of exploration by leading cultural institutions and will be the thematic focus of the forthcoming Oslo Architecture Triennale 2022 (OAT). This indicates a newfound interest in the neighborhood in policy, practice and research of architecture and urbanism, to which the In Transit Studio will contribute.
A question that presents itself is then: is Oslo a city of well-functioning neighborhoods? During the pandemic, the inequality and the already existing social stigma experienced by residents of certain districts of Oslo, has been amplified by high numbers of COVID-19 infections. The spread of the virus in these districts, compared with more affluent districts of Oslo, is often the result of small and overcrowded apartments and lack of meeting places outside of people’s homes. Numbers from Oslo Municipality as of April 2021, show that districts associated with social challenges also before the pandemic, had the highest numbers of COVID cases:With this as a point of departure, one or several neighborhoods in one or more of these districts will be selected as cases for the semester assignment. The studio aims to explore the following questions: How can new ways of living and social infrastructure contribute to creating diverse, tolerant, and inclusive neighborhoods? How do we plan and facilitate for diversity and social sustainability in our neighborhoods?
Join our Q&A session on Wednesday 28 April 2021 at 3:00 PM (CEST / Oslo) via Zoom !
In the Fall 2021 semester, the studio will collaborate with the Oslo Architecture Triennale 2022 (OAT) team and contribute to knowledge production leading up to and potentially presented as part of the official program in different formats.
To read the rest of the course description and find instructions on how to register, visit the AHO website.