05 June 2014

co+laboradović   latest co+labo book in Mn'M edition: In the Search of Urban Quality: 100 maps of Kuhonbutsugawa Street, Jiyūgaoka-都市の質を探して:自由が丘、九品仏川緑道百景

This book presents material compiled for one of the case studies conducted within Measuring the non-Measurable – Mn’M research project (keio University, 2011-14). It brings together a number of maps (and other, various ways of linking data to representations of territory) of one particular place in Tokyo - the precinct of Jiyūgaoka and, more precisely, only one of its streets, Kuhonbutsugawa Ryokudô. The focus on one small location in the largest city in the world is a message in itself.

The primary focus of Mn’M is on the elusive notions of urban quality. We enter discussions by challenging the very idea of measurability. In this book the emphasis is not on how to measure, but how to recognise, record and communicate urban quality, especially those aspects which tend to be left out, either declared “unimportant”, “too subjective” or, simply, too hard to deal with. Urban theories presented or, rather, touched upon in this small volume, are theories of action, arising from practical experiences in thinking and doing urban design and urban research in co+labo radović, Tokyo (an urban design and architecture laboratory at Keio University, which is the hub of Mn’M project, and its various associates), and co+labo international strategic partner, Gehl Architects, Copenhagen – with texts by Jan Gehl, Birgitte Svarre and David Sim.

One of the most important aims of In the search of Urban Quality is modest - to stress the importance of those elements and practices which constitute the urban and which tend to considered “too small”, or overtly “subjective”, and to present ways of recognising and nourishing those qualities. At the other end is a very ambitious aim, so ambitious that it borders with hope - to help empower the citizens to think about urban quality, to get informed, see how her/his experiences inform broader issues, to try to communicate own impressions and knowledges and, eventually, to request the quality he/she considers important. One of basic entitlements of each citizen is the right to the city, Lefebvrian “right to the oeuvre (participation) and appropriation (not to be confused with property but use value)”.

The book can be purchased, along with all other Mn'M publications, through the publishers www site.

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