(Re)creating urban landscape_New Belgrade riverfront_2013.pdf

June 10, 2018 | Author: Natasha Jankovic | Category: Documents


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Institute of Architecture and Urban & Spatial Planning of Serbia I Инстит ут за архитек т уру и урбанизам Србије

BELGRADE, MAY 22-25, 2013

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2 INTERNATIONAL SCIENTIFIC CONFERENCE

REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT, SPATIAL PLANNING AND STRATEGIC GOVERNANCE Conference Proceedings

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(RE)CREATING URBAN LANDSCAPE: NEW BELGRADE RIVERFRONT Ana Nikezić1 and Nataša Janković1 1

University of Belgrade, Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade, Serbia e-mails: [email protected]; [email protected]

1. LANDSCAPE OF DIVESITIES: THE NEW BELGARDE RIVERFRONT The ecological misbalance of cities, fostered through climate change, is probably the defining issue of the twenty-first century, and is undoubtedly one of the supreme challenges when regenerating cities is in question. On the other hand, we shall always be interested in how people intersect with a place, and therefore are committed to framing a discourse that is anthropocentric, potentially affects all aspects of urban life and is bound to upgrade quality of life and offer new life styles. Belgrade is a city with potential, one of the larger capitals of the region, standing on the threshold of the European Union and undergoing an intensive process of political, economic and social transition. Similar to other large cities, it was previously an industrial city, but is now increasingly relying on the tertiary sector, promoting itself through its geographical, morphological, and cultural advantages. The consequences of privatization during transition and an exceptionally long and difficult political and economic crisis have produced Brownfield and other abandoned spaces of the city centre and along rivers with a complicated proprietary-ownership status, and no realistic guidelines for a much needed regeneration of the city centre in terms of contemporary problems linked to ecological, social and cultural values (strand). One of the most intriguing and maybe the largest inbuilt area in Belgrade (indicating the valuable potential its position offers, especially in relation to infrastructure, neighbouring housing capacities and offered activities) is the New Belgrade riverfront. The land itself covers an area of 120,000.00 m2 and is positioned on the New Belgrade bank of the Sava and Danube River that makes up a significant part of the Belgrade riverfront. The initial construction of the area started in 1948, but until today it has never been finished, or even designed as a unique landscape representing the front view from the old part of the city. What we need to stress is the particular morphological context of the city that distinguishes this zone from any others in the urban background. The city centre slopes towards the river through various pedestrian routes, only a 10 minute walk away from the traditional focal points of Belgrade`s centre. Most of the social and structural components Belgrade has to offer can be transversally linked to the waterfront, creating various possibilities for interconnectivity and complex social interaction.

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Revealed through oppositions and time-lapses, the life of New Belgrade riverfront is like that of most cities in region: lost in transition between past and future. Ones a political statement and at the same time a Modernist heritage, today it is a cacophony of cars and buses, Brownfield and green-fields, social differences and just people moving back and forth, a place shifted from being idealist 50 years ago to being consumerist nowadays. Looking more closely, this riverfront is not so ordinary. First of all, it is a nice promenade, the Park of Friendship dramatized with monumental spaces left from Modernism and SelfManaged Socialism, such as the Yugoslavia Hotel, Buildings of the Federal Executive Council and, in contemporary times, enriched with shopping malls and similar leisure facilities. Then, it is a continuous green landscape dotted with abandoned and almost forgotten places like the Old Fairgrounds, unrealized vision like foundations for the museum of the revolution and with unhygienic settlements, known as cardboard city. It is also a grey landscape of old shipyards and industrial waste depot and a blue landscape famous for its night clubs on river rafts. This blue, green, gray spine is a landscape of diversities. The most profound aspect of this riverfront, in environmental and social terms, is that it is in proximity to the majority of New Belgrade inhabitants, and in cultural terms, that it is just in between the old and new part of the city. The area has well organized transportation infrastructure and direct access to the main boulevards and neighbouring housing blocks, but lacks activities other that passive recreation that could attract local communities. It consists of several thousand square meters of underused and abandoned structures with different levels of protection, spanning across vague greenery. It has all the capacity and potential, but never the less it is under-used and hard to arrive at. Clear morphological understanding recognizes a set of five different types of spaces to employ in the process of revealing this unique landscape: the river itself (understanding of the general morphology of riverfront water, microclimate, flora and fauna, with its own integrated public space), places of memory (understanding its position and promotion potential), Brownfield, leisure facilities, or better say places of social interaction and greenery (waterfront parks, recreational areas, bio-sanctuaries and similar).

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Figures 1: New Belgrade Riverfront: landscape of diversities (source: photomontage made by authors of the text).

As a sort of productive landscape they all could become a viable resource for reaffirmation of this belt in accordance with climate change, as a planning tool which could be used in order to increase the level of urban attractiveness and social interaction. It is necessary to integrate the natural and built, fragments and whole, places of uneven and occasional development, to foster unique morphological characteristics while nurturing the natural and social development of the city. These patches of land are fragmented, but we can easily recognize that all of these spaces are in a position to form a unique interconnected system or network. Having in mind the big picture, we can make individual small steps through fragmentary interventions, thus encouraging the gradual development of a specially, and that means socially and ecologically dynamic system of clusters that will eventually connect into a spine-like structure along the riverfront. In this way, the New Belgrade riverfront becomes a complex mosaic of artificial and natural structures (strand). It seems that only interaction with the natural landscape, as well as with attractive urban events can provide results which urban environment would accept as a sustainable alternative.

2. THE POWER OF LANDSCAPE In the text From Theory to Resistance: Landscape Urbanism in Europe Kelly Shannon starting from Frempton's premise that "radical rethinking of urbanism's modus operandi is

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necessary to fundamentally and critically reengage in the making of cities and his belief in landscape as an operative tool to resist the globalizing and homogenizing tendencies of built environments what has provided a platform for the conceptual evolution of landscape urbanism" (Frampton in Shannon, 2006: 144) presents the theoretical bases, and the possibility of their further application in practice. Shannon theoretical bases found in the work of French theorist of landscape urbanism Sébastian Marot according to whom landscapes must be understood as relative spaces, and who has identified four steps in the study and projection of site-based landscapes: anamnesis, which is based on recollection of previous history; then preparation for and the staging of new conditions; three-dimensional sequencing; and relational structuring (Shannon, 2006: 145). Seeking for the path from theory to practice, Shannon describes four design approaches that are proposed by Belgian urban designer and academic Marcel Smets and which are: "the grid (man-made form that provides an underlying structure for development within pre-established regulations), casco (or receptacle, derived from the landscape, reflecting its constitutive form), clearing (landscape as a unifying backdrop assuring freedom of new interventions), and montage (radical superposition of various programmatic and compositional layers)" (Shannon, 2006: 146) based on principles that promote Elia Zenghelis, arguing that "contemporary landscape urbanism strategies have given voice to the restorative and resistive social and cultural formation of territories-and the evocative power of landscapes, where the overlaying of ecological and urban strategies offers a means by which projects create new systems of interconnected networks that complement the existing structures". (Shannon, 2006: 147) As examples of good practice in which can be found the elements of the above mentioned theoretical starting points, which are generally the practice of European landscape and urban designers in post-industrial (and post-agricultural) Brownfield sites and interstitial terrain vague sites, Shannon gives an overview of projects such as: Emscher Landscape Park (IBA Emscher Park (northern Rurh, Germany, 1989-99), Brikettfabrilc Witznitz, Leipzig (Florian Beigel Architects, 1996), Unimetal Park, Caen, France (Dominique Perrault, 1995), while many of them have nature as the basic constructive element: River Gallego, Zuera, Spain (Inaki Alday, Margarita Jover Biboum, Pilar Sancho, 1999), Demus Academy, Agronica, Eindhoven, The Netherlands (Andrea Branzi, 1994), confluence of the Saône and Rhône rivers, Lyon, France (François Grether and Michel Desvigne, 2001). If we consider the previously described theoretical approaches and practical examples, there is one project which also stands out, and that could be a good starting point for the observed location in Belgrade. It is OMA’s proposal for Parc de La Villette which has been studied to a great extent because of its clear manifestation of Rem Koolhaas’ theories, particularly those explored in his book Delirious New York1. Koolhaas aims at producing a 1

In this book Koolhaas is fascinated with the idea of congestion. For him the skyscraper, particularly the Downtown Athletic Club, encapsulates the Culture of Congestion. He argues that the American skyscraper works as a Social Condenser: "A machine to generate and intensify desirable forms of human intercourse."

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Social Condenser by organizing the surface of the park basically as that of the section of a skyscraper. He describes it as "a catalogue of 40 or 50 different activities, arranged like floors… In this way we could realize the congestion or density of the skyscraper without referring to building or to architecture in any way" (Koolhaas, 1996: 14). Congestion is important to Koolhaas because it describes the contemporary metropolitan lifestyle. Urban activities are unstable, uncertain, they overlap and mutate. Therefore to provide potential space for ever-changing and unprecedented activities Koolhaas strategy is to "combine architectural specificity with programmatic indeterminacy" (Koolhaas, 1995: 921). By juxtaposing and superimposing different layers of the composition, programs exchange and extend creating a horizontal congestion.

Figure 2, 3, 4: OMA's proposal for Parc de La Villette (source: http://oma.eu/projects/1982/parc-de-la-villette, accessed 20th January, 2013).

OMA’s proposal for Parc de La Villette not only clarifies Koolhaas’ theory of Congestion, but also it provides an exhaustive design solution of how to create a Social Condenser. It is a constant challenge for architects to design flexible spaces that allow the delirious way of life we live in the cities. It is not sufficient to just provide open spaces. Through Parc de La Villette, Koolhaas shows us an alternative on how to tackle this problem. By shuffling and compressing program and void, Koolhaas invites the public to design its own activities. Unfortunately Koolhaas proposal was never materialized. One has to wonder, would Koolhaas’ Parc de La Villette be able to successfully generate congestion and hence stimulate intense social interaction?

3. "ECO-MATRIX" STARTEGY AND THE NEW BELGRADE RIVERFRONT In an attempt to meet this complex and contradictory challenge, we will try to discuss possibilities of implementing the "eco-matrix", a sort of productive landscape as a viable, This idea is translated into Parc de La Villette almost literally. Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York (New York: Monacelli Press, 1994), 152.

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somewhat "alternative", typology for public spaces. This new "eco-matrix" is essentially seen as alternative "eco-infrastructure" for a new future urbanity, challenging four keywords which often ‘justify’ and activate multifunctional and intensive land use connectivity, profit, identity and sustainability (Stupar and Djukic, 2007). The most widely accepted landscape ecology definitions focus on the interactions between spatial components and ecological processes (Turner and O'Neill, 2001). In this sense, the landscape structure is determined by its composition, configuration and the proportion of different patches across a given landscape (Turner and Gardner, 1991). "Eco-matrix" like "Ecological networks" may be defined as systems of landscape elements that are connected with the intention of maintaining/restoring ecological functions, supporting biodiversity and promoting the sustainable use of natural resources (Forman, 1995; Bennett and Wit, 2001; Bennett, 2004; Jongman and Pungetti, 2004). As an important function of landscape, connectivity is "the degree to which the landscape facilitates or impedes movement of organisms among source patches" (Tischendorf and Fahrig, 2000). Therefore, in our case too, connectivity is identified both structurally and functionally as greenery that unite landscape elements and its configuration. The strategy behind the idea we are contemplating is to integrate green and blue infrastructure (landscape configuration) in a form of productive patterned network (landscape composition). A tendency is to form an elaborate matrix of productive places (ecological, environmental, cultural, and educational) designed to simultaneously, restore polluted areas and combat global climate change, and gradually reconstruct existing urban structures outside this area and upgrade social wellbeing. They are expected to contribute to the sustainability of built up areas by infiltrating them and thus backing up their primary functions and strengthening their historical and cultural identity. The entire strategy creates opportunities for people to explore and gain a vital connection to natural forms as there currently is a taboo against any landscapes that aren’t manicured as the society generally does not see wetlands as useful spaces and will often destroy them in exchange for green lawns or clean slate walls. This space should challenge people to go beyond the misconceptions and realize the power of natural landscapes as performance spaces that are vital to a healthy environment for nature and humans. As previously explained, the strategy incorporates two systems: a green-blue network dotted with fragments of past. Confronting nature and city, inherited structures and natural resources, we could shape new public spaces and offer sustainable solutions confronting climate change in a socially acceptable and economically feasible manner.

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Figure 5, 6, 7: New Belgrade riverfront; intervention: possible zones of activities (source: photomontages made by authors of the text).

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Using previously shown intention of OMA's proposal for Parc de La Villette, and previously described and defined ECO-MATRIX strategy, two, overlapping, longitudinal zones are recognized: the grey/green zone between riverfront and housing and the green/blue zone towards the river. While the first one might be recognized through the urban spirit, as a dynamic and attractive break from everyday routine, the other is seen as an indeterminate, vague space intended to protect the inherited landscape. They interact and collide through transformed fragments of past, along which the main points of attraction and vitality are unfolded. These points further emphasize environmental concerns placing a recycling drive, several educational facilities and alike that foster involvement of local community as the best tool of self-sustainability. Eco-matrix strategy for the New Belgrade riverfront has been determined through a complex system of functions and activities of the open public space that captivate with its attractiveness and accessibility, forming a park of high urbanity with specifically emphasized character of past glorified times, as well as ruined memories. The main program elements are based on inherited infrastructure, which primarily consists of the abandoned industrial structures and underused institutional facilities, on one side, and the network of natural resources, namely aquatic and green spaces, structures that foster biodiversity, as well as other structures necessary for a productive eco-system, on the other. The matrix is accentuated and introduced with a set of recognised urban needs and specific context activities on the road intersections, with the intention to make this space closer to urban mundane activities and the needs of the local community. It seems that urban nature leaves enough space for the successful development of recreational activities, making room for a new urbanity, among other things the urban spectacle and a new freedom of choice, while simultaneously protecting our industrial legacy and preserving valuable parts of the urban landscape (Nikezić, Janković, 2011). Sustainability of the eco-matrix strategy in case of New Belgrade riverfront can be observed in the social-cultural, ecological and climate change aspect. Viewed from the socio-cultural aspect it can rescue the protected monuments by fostering identity and spirit of the place through the cultivation of alternative culture. As we have recognized the problem of climate change as the most urgent in urban areas, we look at it from three aspects. The potential for prevention through forming environments of favourable microclimate along the river, agricultural and areas covered with greenery as to heel the land, then the potential for adaptation in the event of unexpected climatic disasters through water pool, and finally through education on the issues of climate change, through the possibility of participation of individuals, public institutions, establishing communication and awareness about these acute problems in the development of the city. Finally, structuring the new post-industrial landscape of New Belgrade riverfront as an elaborate network of places for climate change mitigation and adaptation, as well as integral social and technological reinterpretation of the new urbanity, we can create both 1077

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ecologically sustainable and socially vibrant space. In this way, a new foundation can be formed for the development of gardening and urban farming (Viljoen, 2005), creation of an environment that fosters biodiversity, integration of the production of renewable energies, natural water purification and waste management. The result of these actions would initiate social awareness of the global warming problem, and the importance of mitigation and adaptation of climate changes, combating the harmful effects of urban life on the environment and developing a new awareness of the possibilities offered through integration of the natural environment into the urban landscape.

4. CONCLUDING REMARKS To conclude, the attempt is to overcome the separation between people and nature by creating a new type of sublime experience, where values of new humanism are translated to the everyday life. This strategy deals with distance between post-modern ideas of sustainability presented by political or educational institutions and the everyday sublime by revealing dynamic natural cycles and intersecting social routines. The main aim is to create hyper nature as a combination of the art and science and juxtapose man and nature in order to form experience, connection or emotion between people and the surroundings which leads to empathy and care for the environment (Jancovicova, 2012). The main scope of this work is the value of the aesthetic experience in the sustainable landscape design of everyday landscape and its power to move citizens towards more conscious and responsible perception of our living environment. The aim of eco-matrix strategy is to create a site where nature and society are fused which will protect an urban structure against the abandonment and in the same time (re)create the lost relationship between city and river. The New Belgrade riverfront is full of potential sites of redevelopment where unique physical and socio/ecological challenges can merge into a vibrant place. Presented strategy tries to expand concept of sustainability into the social practice and the cultural sphere by referring to value of everyday experience of landscape. Contemporary landscape design should not become only making nature for nature but cultural product where knowledge could be gained. This is supported by the concept of eco-matrix strategy, as the productive landscapes which can ensure fusion of natural processes with human agenda. It has to move away from providing exclusively comfortable and pleasing leisure places with symbolic representation towards landscape architecture which can challenge human perception and thus help to gain knowledge by imagination. Acknowledgement: This paper was realized as a part of the project "Studying climate change and its influence on the environment: impacts, adaptation and mitigation" (43007) financed by the Ministry of Education and Science of the Republic of Serbia within the framework of integrated and interdisciplinary research for the period 2011-2014.

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REFERENCES Bennett G., Wit P. (2001). The Development and Applications of Ecological Networks, a Review of IUCN/AIDEnvironment. Proposals, Plans and Programmes, http://www.ambiente.gov.ar/archivos/web/PCCGDBM/File/APMC/Biodiversidad/Development&Application_Ecologica_Networks_ UICN.pdf, (accessed 18th January, 2013). Bennett, G. (2004). Integrating Biodiversity conservation and sustainable use, lessons learnt from ecological networks. IUCN Gland, http://41.215.122.106/dspace/bitstream/0/569/1/2004-002.pdf, (accessed 18th January, 2013). Forman, R. T. T. (1995) Land Mosaics: the Ecology of Landscape and regions. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Jancovicova, Z. (2012) Liquid Post-modernity: Awaking a Sublime Experience by Sustainable Brownfield redevelopment. In: Peer Reviewed Proceedings of ECLAS 2012 - The Power of Landscape at Warsaw University of Life Science - SGGW, Conference Proceedings, Dymitryszyn, I., Kaczyńska, M. and Maksymiuk, G. (eds.). Warszawa: Fabryka Druku, pp. 320-325. Jongman, R.H.G., Pungeti, G. P. (2004) Ecological Networks and Greenways, Concept, Design and Implementation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Koolhaas, R. (1994) Delirious New York. New York: Monacelli Press. Koolhaas, R. (1995) SMLXL. New York: Monacelli Press. Koolhaas, R. (1996) Conversation with Students. New York: Princeton Architectural Press. Nikezić, A., Janković, N. (2011) Braunfild kao eko-park edukacije. In: Budućnost razvoja naselja u svetlu klimatskih promena, Tematski zbornik, Zlatanović-Tomašević, V., Gajić, R. i Kaić, F. (ur.). Beograd: Društvo urbanista Beograda. Shannon, K. (2006). From Theory to Resistance: Landscape Urbanism in Europe. In: Waldheim, C. (ed.) Landscape Urbanism Reader. New York: Princeton Architectural Press, pp. 141-163. Stupar, A., Djukić, A. (2007) Patchwork or Matrix? Testing the Capacity of the Contemporary City. SPATIUM, No. 15-16, pp. 1-9. Tischendorf, L., Fahrig L. (2000) On the usage and measurement of landscape connectivity. Oikos, No. 90, pp. 7-19. Turner, M. G., Gardner R. H. (eds.) (1991) Quantitative Methods in Landscape Ecology. New York: Springer-Verlag. Turner, G., O’Neill R.V. (2001) Landscape Ecology in Theory and Practice. New York: SpringerVerlang. Viljoen, A. (2005) Continuous Productive Urban Landscapes: Designing Urban Agriculture for Sustainable Cities. Oxford: Architectural Press.

SUMMARY Climate change is probably the defining issue of the twenty-first century, and it is undoubtedly one of the supreme challenges when regenerating cities is questioned. On the other hand, we shall always be interested in how people intersect with a place, and therefore are committed to framing a discourse that is anthropocentric, because it acts with imagination and alter course.

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Revealed through oppositions and time-lapses, the life of the New Belgrade riverfront is seen as a landscape of diversities, a sort of productive landscape which could become a viable resource for (re)creating society and nature. In an attempt to meet this complex and contradictory challenge, we will try to discuss possibilities of implementing the "ecomatrix", a sort of productive landscape as a viable, somewhat "alternative", typology for public spaces. This new "eco-matrix" is essentially seen as alternative "eco-infrastructure" for a new future urbanity. The aim is to create a site where nature and society are fused which will protect an urban structure against the abandonment and in the same time (re)create the lost relationship between city and river.    

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CIP - Каталогизација у публикацији Народна библиотека Србије, Београд 711(082)(0.034.2) INTERNATIONAL Scientific Conference Regional Development, Spatial Planning and Strategic Governance - RESPAG 2013 (2013 ; Beograd) (2) 2nd International Scientific Conference Regional Development, Spatial Planning and Strategic Governance - RESPAG 2013, Belgrade, May 22-25, 2013 [Elektronski izvor] / [organized by] Institute of Architecture and Urban & Spatial Planning of Serbia ; [editors Miodrag Vujošević, Saša Milijić]. - Belgrade : Institute of Architecture and Urban & Spatial Planning of Serbia, 2013 (Belgrade : IAUS). - 1 elektronski optički disk (CD-ROM) : tekst, slika ; 12 cm Nasl. sa naslovnog ekrana. - Tiraž 300. Bibliografija uz svaki rad. ISBN 978-86-80329-76-5 1. Institut za arhitekturu i urbanizam Srbije (Beograd) a) Просторно планирање - Зборници COBISS.SR-ID 198531084

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