Patterns of Segregation
Never before have so many of us lived in urban environments, close together, yet moving in parallel worlds. Nowhere this phenomenon is more apparent than in the outskirts of cities, where the diversity is high and the social cohesion is low. More than often these areas don’t turn into the melting pot they once were believed to, but in places of social and economic segregation. Extensive research shows that people "hunker down" in these areas, avoiding engagement. This leads to isolation and feelings of unsafety. The Ar(t)chitects focus on these marginalized urban areas. We believe it is often small preferences that establish these patterns of segregation. So where will people go or not go? Where do they feel safe or not? Who do they see as a neighbor and who as a stranger? On a bigger scale these small preferences lead to segregated lives. Many European cities struggle with this socioeconomic segregation, which provides a feeding ground for prejudice, xenophobia and social upheaval.
As Ar(t)chitects we want to transform the patterns people move in; change patterns of segregation into patterns of collective imagination and innovation. We like to see the city as a playground. This is not an easy task. It requires us to step outside our comfort zones, take ownership of public space and embrace the uncertainty that comes with different perspectives. We believe these tasks require a multi-facetted approach. We look for the intersections of artistic imagination, community engagement and placemaking to break through invisible social barriers. Our approach is grassroots, communal, artistic, chaorderly and multidisciplinary. For us the process trumps the product. This process builds connections between people and places, organizes chaos to stimulate learning and uncovers the strength and beauty of a community. As long as the process is fun, creative and engaging it has a long breath and can develop in many surprising ways.