Catalysts for Urban Regeneration ?
Publicated on the proceeding of 4th International Symposium of Nusantara Urban Research (NURI): Change + Heritage in Architecture Urban Development. ISBN : 978-979-704-809-9. Diponegoro University Publisher, Semarang, 2009.
In 2008, Imma Anindyta (co-director of Formologix) had develop a research as part of fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Architecture at Dessau Institute of Architecture (DIA), Germany.
This research concern is about cultural clusters in Berlin, mainly about its architectural aspects and urban quality that stimulate and sustain urban life in the area of North Mitte and area around the Spree in which are the perfect example for the alternative cultural projects flourish in Berlin. The creation or nourishment of cultural clusters has been increasingly taken up as an alternative source for urban development. The recent art and cultural projects in Berlin have focused less on capital projects, and more focused on the capacity to support community-led regeneration in such of derelict lands. Culture of improvisation sprang up and parlaying its acres of empty, rundown spaces into colorful hubs of creativity where artists and cultural organizations have contributed to the vitality and character of it through the creation of studios, workshop and “cultural clusters”. The emergence of cultural clusters represents an interesting turn in the organization of the urban cultural field. Whereas in the former days it restricted itself to a vertically organized public art sector, today it operates on a much more comprehensive level, including horizontally articulated linkages to locally roots. In line with this, Berlin state has taking cultural clusters into their objectives on “economic, social and spatial regeneration”.
In describing the term “catalyst” in architecture and urban design, it compares with term renewal and revitalization. Those who describe the rebuilding of cities typically employ the metaphors of renewal and revitalization, suggesting with the first a surgical procedure comparable to an organ transplant of a prosthetic implant and with the second the reintroduction of life. Although both metaphors are useful to describe the final results of rebuilding, the process of renewal itself is too radical because it means tearing out too much and replacing it with aliens’ elements and the process of revitalization is not powerful enough to structure an ongoing regeneration. Catalysis, in contrast, is both an appealing metaphor and an appropriate process for rebuilding, one that is too sensitive to its context and also powerful enough to restructure it. The chemical analogy of catalysis accurately describes our approach to urban redevelopment in the research. We postulate that the strategic introduction of new elements can revitalize existing ingredients of the urban center without necessarily changing them radically. And, even as the catalyst stimulates such new life, it also affects the form, character, and quality of urban elements that are subsequently introduced. In short, a controlled catalytic chain reaction takes place.