ECObox self-managed eco-urban network

 

 

ECObox is a series of self-managed projects introduced into derelict and underused spaces in Paris’ La Chapelle neighbourhood, in the 18th Arondissement, beginning in 2001.

These projects took form under the guidance of the Atelier d’Architecture Autogérée (aaa – Studio for Self-Managed Architecture), a non-profit, interdisciplinary organization that conducts research and experiments in progressive, sustainable community infrastructure development.Originally constructed in the court of the Halle Pajol, ECObox was intended as a platform for community events and for engaging local residents in ‘micro-politics’ through cultivation and other activities.

ECObox projects take their form from a system of recycled shipping pallets laid out in a grid to form a series of walkways and garden plots. The shipping pallets are laid directly on the ground, two pallets deep. Voids left between them are filled with soil and used by community members as small allotment gardens. The result is a patchwork landscape of flowers and edible plants, created and tended by local community members, who thus take ownership in it. This allows for gradual expansion and upgrades of the garden by its users.

While clearly influencing the project, the founding members of aaa, architects Constantin Petcou and Doina Petrescu, insisted on remaining in the background, allowing untrained members of the community to bring their skills and experiences to the shared space. aaa remained involved in the project until 2006 after which the community successfully campaigned its continuation. This process saw the formation of the ECObox Association, which has managed the project since.

The simple construction of these gardens and their modular and mobile nature make them highly transferable to other sites. This was put to the test when the project was threatened with eviction and a new site had to be negotiated with the city in 2004 and again in 2008. The elements of the project were quickly and easily moved, minimally disrupting the continuity of the community’s activities.

Open on weekends and for special events, the current site at 8 – 10 impasse de la Chapelle hosts concerts, dances, film screenings, workshops and shared meals. It is also host to l’AMAP La Chapelle (a local association linking conscious consumers with agricultural producers) and it interacts with numerous other local entities including schools, artists, cultural centres and other gardens. Furthermore, it participates in movements such as Transition Town, Urban Orchards and others, preserving and growing the biodiversity and cultural diversity of Paris, while encouraging residents to have agency in their surroundings.

http://www.urbaninform.net/home/minidoc/236/ecobox-self-managed-eco-urban-network.html

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2,100 Plastic Bottles Make A Great Intervention

A Greek example..

Athenian architecture firm Kollektivemind*, interpreted Crete’s local traditional weaving patterns into a public intervention, during the P_Public festival. The Argallios project is a public, interactive installation placed on the fence of a primary school, in a less privileged area of Chania. “Argallios” derives from the greek word αργαλειός (loom) and the adverb αλλιώς, which means “in a different way”.

ArgalliosArgallios

Taking advantage of the diamond-shaped, cut-out pattern of the fence, which resembles an embroidery canvas, the creative team, along with the parents, teachers and students of the school created a traditional weaving motive. The concept of the colourful thread that is used to decorate the woven textiles was translated into 2,100 recyclable plastic bottles that were cleaned, painted in six traditional basic colours and tucked into the diamond-shaped holes of the fence.

ArgalliosArgallios

Argallios

The result not only is impressive and brings colour to the school’s yard, but also creates a sense of a landmark of ecological and cultural meaning for the area.  “Highlighting the presence of children in the urban context, it also provides a means of reclaiming public space for the people of the neighbourhood”, explains Kollektivemind*

AAA – Passage 56 / Espace culturel écologique

                                                                                               

Creator:Atelier d’architecture autogeree in association with local organizations and inhabitants

Location: Paris 20°, 56 rue Saint Blaise, Partners: DPVI, OPAC, APIJ, City of Paris/ Charte Main Verte, Area: 200 m2, Cost: 90,000 €

 

Atelier d’architecture autogérée (aaa) is a collective platform founded in 2001 by Constantin Petcou and Doina Petrescu in Paris. The platform conducts actions and research on urban mutations and emerging practices in the contemporary city, involving architects, artists, students, researchers, activists and residents with different social and cultural backgrounds. aaa ‘s projects focus on issues of self-organisation and self-management of collective spaces, emerging networks and catalyst processes, resistance to profit driven developments, recycling and ecologically friendly constructions, collective production of knowledge. Recent projects include Ecobox, a nomadic eco-urban network in La Chapelle neighborhood in Paris and Passage 56, an eco-interstice in St. Blaise area.

The Passage 56 project is located in a former passageway at the core of a very dense and socially deprived residential area in the 20th arrondissement of Paris.

An unusual partnership between the public administration, local organisations, professionals and residents was set up and an open consultation process was organised with the idea of creating a collectively managed space. From the very beginning and throughout a sustained participative process, temporary installation, mobile devices and public events were used for consultations with the residents. A project was thus elaborated gradually and agreed upon collectively, continuing through the minimal-cost construction phase, which was carried out by local youngsters involved in a training programme in eco-construction.

The 200m2 plot was conceived as an ecological interstice hosting a collective garden, a small wooden building (with a green roof and powered by solar panels) compost toilets, rain water collector, cultivation patches, seed catchers and wild birds’ corridor. Ecological cycles are closed on site in such way that the space produces or recycles most of what it consumes: water, fertiliser, food and energy.

Passage 56 is currently collectively managed by a group of residents who organise most of activity that takes place during the week: gardening, screenings, debates, organic food deliveries and neighbourhood gatherings.

This project exemplifies the emergence of new forms of public space which do not culminate in the physical construction of a designed object but are rather continuously developed as a social, cultural and political production. http://56stblaise.wordpress.com

STRENGTHS & OPPORTUNITIES: This inner urban block project takes advantage of under-used pre-existing residual city space. Proximity to a neighborhood and users facilitate the construction and management of the endeavor as well as the ability for it to encourage social cohesion. Physical openness encouraging greater accessibility coupled with neighborhood spatial reinforcement are well-defined strong urban design considerations. Attention to energy cycles articulated by the inclusion of a water recuperation system, green roof and solar panels further strengthen the project.

WEAKNESSES & THREATS: Productivity, although a appreciated output of the project, are certainly not paramount attributes. The small surface area and dedication to much of the space to public congregation, drastically limits the garden’s agronomic productivity. Socially popular gardens place great pressure on often fragile plant structures and growing system. Unless management is well considered, a dilution of tasks may threaten the health of the garden’s vegetation and cleanliness. Aesthetic considerations are often difficult to manage and sustain in organizations that are driven by a more publicly open process of decision-making occurring via the input of many diverse individuals.