Living with others

Reflection on first exercise

The first exercise involved identifying points of friction around Can Batlló. During our walk, I noticed that the biodiversity of the neighborhood was confined to specific areas. It was intriguing to comprehend the boundaries imposed by humans on non-human agents. Consequently, plants thrived in unexpected places, such as the cracks in the concrete. However, the environment did not readily support a diverse range of life.

My primary observation is that these ecosystems managed to thrive even in challenging conditions. Nature, uninvited, found its way. This prompted me to contemplate how we could adjust our current lifestyle to ensure a better quality of life for the non-human agents essential to our ecosystem.

My understanding of ‘designing within a community’ is using ourselves as tools for the intervention, engaging with a certain community personally, studying points of friction, awareness on how the intervention will be deployed over time, and knowledge passing with professionals.

The mapping method of friction points is a system that I want to try incorporating into my research methodology. It's a simple visual way of explaining very complex ideas.

Reflection

Having a deeper understanding of our economic system involves examining the decisions generated by this system and understanding the relationship between macro, meso, and micro levels in society. Macro factors encompass politics, the economy, and culture, while meso factors involve socio-technical regimes, and micro factors include niches in public or cooperative housing.

This concept led me to reflect on Spinoza's interpretation of potestas and potentia. Potestas represents the power of authority, while potentia is the actual force and strength of the multitude. In a recent lecture, the question was posed: Housing as a right or housing as an asset? Exploring the consequences of treating housing as an asset reveals affordability challenges, inequality, limited access to homeownership, and gentrification pressures.

Treating housing primarily as an asset tends to disadvantage individuals with low incomes by restricting affordability, reducing access to homeownership, and exacerbating wealth inequality. Addressing these challenges requires thoughtful policy measures aimed at creating more inclusive and affordable housing options for all income groups.

One alternative approach involves investigating policies and economic systems that recognize housing as a basic human need and a crucial component of a stable and inclusive society. During a recent trip, Alvaro presented the cooperative housing project of La Borda, which aims to address the housing crisis in Barcelona. The municipality provides the land for approximately 75 years, making it a promising project filled with empowerment and hope.

However, cities often have restrictive laws and building codes that limit space for alternative architecture. Finding loopholes demands extensive knowledge. I am intrigued by architect Santiago Cirugeda and his method of making political statements through his buildings. He offers hacking solutions to combat high housing prices for communities, and his ethical approach becomes especially valuable when state flexibility is lacking.

In conclusion, understanding housing as a fundamental human need and exploring innovative alternatives, such as cooperative housing projects and architects challenging restrictive norms, offers a pathway to address affordability challenges and foster a more inclusive and ethically grounded approach within our societal structures.

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