"AGORA INCOTROCENI" aims to become an exercise that reunites the community in a public piazza, where the neighbors have the chance to meet and plan its evolution. „AGORA INCOTROCENI” is set to transform a public space for a day by conferring it a new identity, generated by cultural, architectural and town planning activities.
Starting from the essence of the agora concept, defined as “the central point of the city, where the civic life of the ancient Greek cites was concentrating”, „AGORA INCOTROCENI” became for 1 day the community center in the Controceni neighborhood, sustaining the educational and social interaction right in the streets junction turned into a public piazza. The public space was set in the Dr Joseph Lister and Dr Carol Davila streets’ intersection, hosting a social and artistic event – the creation of a huge drawing in the potentially public space with the involvement of the whole community, to physically marking the agora.
The shape of the junction, a former turning point for trams, was very suitable to become a public space for community use. The community has expressed its interest for the urban development of the neighborhood through several projects developed in the last year. This specific event aimed to be an introspection and an analysis of the current situation, and also a challenge for the inhabitants, enhancing their imagination on how their community space might look like.
The project addresses all the age segments through social and cultural activities, so the community members could become actively involved in the urban development of the neighborhood and to explore its potential, with reference with the current community needs and aspirations.
Following the “Neighborhood Day, 2015” event organized by the Incotroceni initiative group, the community members were consulted and their opinions led to some very interesting results:
The respondents were asked to answer How do they spend their free time in the neighborhood?
- Walking in the neighborhood 84%
- Walking in the park 57%
- Gardening 33%
- Attending the neighborhood events 29%
- Sports 25%
- I do not spend my free time in the neighborhood 6%
Optimizing the urban space for spending the free time is a priority and the Community expressed several thoughts in this regard:
- Organizing events in the public space 69%
- Creating proper spaces for rest and relaxation, with adequate urban furnishing (benches, tables) 51%
- Creating adequate spaces for sports/recreation for adults 49%
- Organizing spaces for encounters and social events 43%
- Development of pedestrian streets 39%
- Development of playing spaces for children 25%
On July the 2nd, 2016 we will gather the community in the new created Agora! What are we talking about? What do we debate about?
From the town planning perspective, Cotroceni is a neighborhood of public (parks, squares) and private gardens. The frontal gardens’ structure is very special and typical for Cotroceni, which become part of the street ensemble with their transparency and low level fences, part of the public space generating a green structure, which is very special in Bucharest.
In the recent years, the neighborhood has been confronting with the difficult problem of the destruction of the green space, caused by new building developments, public works and abusive trimming of trees, on the public and private space equally. In some cases, destroying the trees was caused by the lack of information on how a tree is trimmed so its life would not be endangered.
The uniqueness of this neighborhood and its urban identity are suffering from the adjustments applied to the frontal gardens’ structure of the houses, caused by the destruction of low level fences and their replacement with high concrete structures. The new structures are blocking the view to the frontal gardens and buildings’ façades, terribly affecting the normal and historical dialogue between the public and the private space in Cotroceni, and also the interaction between its community members.
So, the main theme of our debates is to generate an introspection and analysis of the green spaces and fences’ current situation, and also a challenge for the inhabitants to imagine the neighborhood’s future evolution. More specifically, we plan a 1-day long community event in the center of the neighborhood, at the Dr Joseph Lister and Dr Carol Davila streets’ junction. The existing space is very generous and adequate for community gatherings, an ad-hoc piazza being created for 1 day, a sort of “Cotroceni Agora”.
This year community event is part of a series of annual events, each addressing themes of community interest. The 2016 theme is “Cotroceni – the green garden”, with actions aiming to reveal architecture and urban dimensions of community living, with focus on the public and private green space management.
The aim of the community project was to raise the inhabitants’ awareness on the Cotroceni architectural and urban heritage, especially its public and private green spaces, through interactive workshops and activities offering practical information to raise visibility of the green space and adequate solutions for trees’ trimming. The scope is to deliver useful information on the urban landscape in a creative and accessible manner, with high impact on medium and long term attitude towards the cultural heritage. The know-how acquired during the project will influence the community decisions regarding the architectural and landscape interventions, making people aware of their actions affecting the general aspect and especially the neighborhood’s identity. Moreover, the project has a highly important social cohesion dimension, reflecting on the quality of good neighborhood: in strong connected members’ societies, the emotional relationships and solidarity is highly developed.
The main activity consists in a street art event, generating a drawing in the street representing the Incotroceni Agora. Its aim was to generate the cultural and social interaction of the community members, like a bond between the urban analysis and the plastic representations techniques. The educational component of the event reveals the different types of trees in the neighborhood and the appropriate methods of attendance and trimming, a gardening workshop for children, creativity workshops of vegetal painting and natural materials decoration.
The event was organized by InCotroceni - People, Ideas, Stories with the key partners: Bucharest Territorial Branch of the Romanian Chamber of Architects, CeRe - Resource Center for Public Participation and BAZAR - research and activation trailer