03_Commons and the city

Liane Lefaivre

Liane Lefaivre is Professor and Chair of Architectural History and Theory at the University of Applied Arts in Vienna (retired). She curated a historical exhibition on Aldo van Eijk’s postwar Amsterdam playgrounds at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam under Rudi Fuchs in 2003 and has written widely on the playgrounds since, including Ground-Up City. Play as a Design Tool (010, 2006), based on research into playground planning in Oude Westen, a multicultural area of Rotterdam, funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education. With her students in Vienna she also conducted playground design and planning studios as a means of enhancing integration in multicultural neighborhoods of the city. Among her recent publications are Rebel Modernists. Viennese Architecture since Otto Wagner (Lund Humphries, 2017) and, with Alexander Tzonis, Times of Creative Destruction. Architecture and the City in the 20C (Routledge, 2017) and an expanded edition of Regionalism in a Globalized World (Routledge, 2020). 

  1. The Child, the City and the Power of Play, or the PIP Principle (Beijing, Tsinghua University, 2010) is one of Liane Lefaivre’s many publications on the topic. She argues that playgrounds inserted into the urban fabric according in a way that is polycentric, interstitial and participatory (that is according to the PIP principle) provides one of the most effective types not only of playgrounds but, indeed, of public space in general. Her first publication on the topic, co-authored with Alexander Tzonis, is Aldo van Eyck Humanist Rebel; In-Betweening in a postwar World (Rotterdam, 010, 1999).
  1. In Ground-Up City; Play as a Design Tool (Rotterdam, 010, 2006) Lefaivre  traces the roots of the PIP principle to the Netherlandish tradition of play in the city, going back to the 17th century. She ties it in with the more recent manifestations of , to cite the Dutch historian  Johan Huizinga, “homo ludens”  in 20th century art, architecture and urban design, focusing particularly on postwar playgrounds realized in Amsterdam as joint ventures between Aldo van Eyck, Cornelis van Eesteren and Jakoba Mulder. She proposes that implementing it today in a multicultural area like Oude westen in Rotterdam, can improve public space. 
  1. With her students in Vienna, she has, in collaboration with the local government of Vienna’s 15th district, led studios based on the idea of using the PIP principle in playground design as a means of enhancing integration in a multi-cultural neighborhood, where over 90 languages are spoken. 

Sushma Iyenger

Sushma Iyengar is a social activist and educator. She founded the Kutch Mahila Vikas Sangathan, a women’s collective and organization in the late eighties and it’s offshoot Qasab, a collective of women embroidery artisans. In the last three decades, Sushma has led transformative action with marginalised communities in the area of gender justice, indigenous cultures, traditional livelihoods, local governance, and post disaster rehabilitation. Based in Kutch she has also founded and co- founded the Kutch Nav Nirman Abhiyan – a district network of civil society organizations,  Setu, which works on issues of local governance, K-LINK, an information communication technology organization which works to make ICTs accessible, and applicable to developmental needs, and Khamir, a platform for craft artisans which works with the eco system of their crafts. She has pioneered many grass root initiatives including the first  community radio initiative run by rural women in India, and piloted one of the first successful community run resorts in India – Shaam-e- Sarhad, governed by pastoral communities in Banni.  She is an advisor to the UK based Paul Hamlyn Foundation’s India Programme,  is an advisory member of the National Disaster Management Authority, GoI, and is on the Board of the Axis Bank Foundation, and the Bharat Rural Livelihood Foundation. She is an associate professor with the Centre for Heritage Management at Ahmedabad University as an adjunct professor.   Her publications include Picture This! Painting the Women’s Movement (Univ of Chicago, 2013) and she is the lead curator of the national exhibition ‘Living Lightly – Journeys with Pastoralists’ – an outcome of her longstanding interest and experience with indigenous communities, including nomadic pastoralists.

  1. Livelihood interventions: Towards zero waste..
  2. The Transformers : Episode 3 (Sushma Iyengar, KMVS) with Pradan,                                  A natural calamity does away with several inequalities in society and brings out the best in human beings – shows how effective they can be in rebuilding lives! Sushma Iyengar had experienced this when Gujarat had the deadly earthquake in January 2001 – she shares the experience.
  3. The development discourse in India neglects women                                 “The development narrative homogenises women’s experiences and contexts, refuses to delve deeper into their life experiences, and is content to have counted women as participants, beneficiaries, victims, and case studies.”

Aziza Chaouni

Aziza was born and raised in Fez, Morocco. She is trained both as a structural engineer and as an architect, with 14 years working experience in Morocco, France and the USA. Aziza graduated Cum Laude from Columbia University and with Distinction from Harvard Graduate School of Design. Prior to creating ACP, Aziza co-founded and ran Bureau E.A.S.T. with partner Takako Tajima. Her work with her previous office with partner Takako Tajima, Bureau E.A.S.T, and with Aziza Chaouni Projects has won several top design Awards and Recognitions including the Holcim Gold Award for Sustainable Construction in 2009, and has been published and exhibited widely. Aziza is also an Associate Professor at the Daniels School of Architecture Landscape and Design, where she leads the Designing Ecological Tourism lab. She is a member of the scientific committee of ICOMOS isc20c.

  1. Out of Water – Design Solutions for Arid Regions. Water scarcity is becoming increasingly familiar to us. Although access to water resources is an issue of global concern, arid climates are where necessity begets inventions that may serve as examples for action or prevention across a multitude of climate zones and geographies.
  2. Desert Tourism: Tracing the Fragile Edges of Development. Deserts are becoming increasingly popular tourist destinations. However, the growth of this tourism niche raises particular challenges, jeopardizing their fragile ecosystems and straining scarce resources. Paradoxically, the increasing popularity of desert tourism is undermining the very essence of the allure of these places.

Shivani Chaudhry

Shivani Chaudhry is the Executive Director of Housing and Land Rights Network (HLRN), New Delhi, India, where she has been working since 2004. Prior to this, she worked for five years with the Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL) in Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

Shivani received her B.A. (Economics) from Bombay University, India, and her M.A. (Environmental Studies) from Brown University, Providence, U.S.A. She has been working in the field of human rights for over fifteen years, with a specific focus on economic, social, and cultural rights, especially the human rights to adequate housing, land, livelihood, and the environment. She has been engaged actively with issues related to forced evictions, displacement, homelessness, land rights, disasters, climate justice, discrimination, women’s rights, and human rights education. She has carried out several human rights workshops and contributed to the development of tools to monitor housing and land rights, in India and at the global level.

  1. The Human Rights Dimensions of India’s Smart. Shivani Chaudhry from the Housing and Land Rights Network argues that India’ Smart Cities Mission lacks a human rights dimension – with highly problematic consequences. Cities Mission. 
  2. Taking the ‘Right to the City’ Forward: Obstacles and Promises 

The phenomenon of urbanisation continues to accelerate at a rapid rate, both with the movement of millions of people to urban areas and with the absorption of peri-urban and rural areas into the ambit of cities.1  As urbanisation transforms the world, and as cities change, adapt, and grow, so do the challenges.

  1. Smart city. Just city – making ‘Smart Cities’ inclusive
  2. Forced Evictions Are Unjust. Here’s Why They Should Concern Us Even More Now. 

Books and other resources:

  1. The City as a Commons; Yale Law and Policy by Sheila R. Foster and  Christian Iaione.
  2. Common Space: The city as Commons by Stavros Stavrides
  3. Sylvester Baxter Lecture: Sheila Foster, “Co-Cities: Reimagining the City as a Commons”