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Chapter 03: DIY Urbanism

Christina Farrell

Do it yourself is building, modifying or repairing something without the aid of expert professionals.

Case Study 01: Almere Oosterworld / MVRDV

MVRDVs proposal for an urban development in Almere Oosterworld, the Netherlands, is a template for a D.I.Y. project that puts power into the hands of neighborhoods and communities. This development strategy is bottom-up, inclusive and very intuitive to the needs of individuals and their communities. It allows the design to develop organically and over a stretch of time as needs change and neighborhoods grow.

The approach is also a critique of the Netherlands urban planning strategies, which
MVRDV writes, gets too perfect and hence predictable. The new Town Almere, of which Almere Oosterworld will be a part, was designed in a similar fashion, allowing individuals to build their own homes. In this instance, MVRDV is the organizer, but private initiative is the driver.

50% of the site has been designated for urban farming to provide specialized food production for the city. As individuals begin to realize their designs they will also be held responsible for the components that make their share of the land livable: the piece of road, energy, sanitation, rubbish collection, public green and urban farming.

Case Study 02: University of Cincinnati Community Design Center_DIY Urbanism Competition_Goatz Alley Update Installation

Alleys were once the backbone of Cincinatis urban fabric. From transportation to trash removal, these narrow passageways helped city life move efficiently through time and space. For the upcoming Cincinnatti Fringe Festival we propose a temporary installation to breathe life into Goetz Alley- a narrow allley running adjacent to Main Street, connecting Liberty to 12th through a cobblestoned passageway. With day and evening performance in venues along Main Street, attendees will discover a previously abandoned alley is transformed with light and color, offering a safe well lit, alternative path from show to show. Even after the Fringe Festival has come and gone, undertaking this project will help to clear away the stench and debris of an otherwise pleasant public right of way. Cincinnati will benefit from another portion of this historic neighborhood having undergone a much needed facelift.

Case Study 03:

Any person walking in Los Angeles will noticeat least if they're accustomed to more pedestrian-friendly environmentsis the striking lack of places to sit. A couple of local designers took that problem as inspiration.

Case Study 04: Play Me, Im Yours.

Touring internationally since 2008, Play Me, Im Yours is an artwork by British artist Luke Jerran. Reaching over two million people worldwide-more than 700 pianos have already been installed in cities across the globe bearing the simple instructions Play Me, Im Yours. Located in public parks, bus shelters and train stations, outside galleries and markets and even on bridges and ferries, the pianos are available for any member of the public to play and enjoy. Who plays them and how long they remain is up to each community. Many pianos are personalized and decorated by artists or the local community. By creating a place of exchange Play Me, Im Yours invites the public to engage with, activate and take ownership of their urban environment