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.

co+laboradović   co+labo Spring Urban Research ... cupboard 
In the period 23-25 May 2014, co+labo Urban Research Pavilion was back in Kuhonbutsugawa Street. This time it was conceptualised as an urban cupboard. When open, our urban cupboard consisted of two tatami-sized volumes of shelves and foldable benches which, as a true treasure cupboard, reflected the richness and diversity of the Green Promenade, exhibiting the objects borrowed from supportive shops and cafes along the street. When locked overnight, the cupboards were transformed into a perfect cube, a blackboard which invited the passers-by to leave their marks and comment on urban quality of this subtle suburb of Tokyo.
As co+labo students and researchers were conducting their regular, various data-collection research exercises, they attracted and engaged more citizens than ever before. The playful cupboard attracted a number of children, who took its blackboard surfaces as a serious challenge and offered a lot of ... feedback, and "design proposals" (while their parents were dutifully filling in our research questionnaires). 
The activities of the Spring Pavilion were coordinated with the Symposium On Thinking, Making and Living Public Space … towards Tokyo 2O2O (held at Keio University on 24 May), included working celebration of the new, collaborative research and design-research unit co-established by Gehl Architects, Copenhagen and co+labo Radović, Tokyo; and distributed a number of copies of 都市の質を探して:自由が丘、九品仏川緑道百景, In theSearch of Urban Quality: 100 maps of Kuhonbutsugawa Street, Jiyugaoka, new book which documents some of the results of the work conducted in Jiyugaoka by co+labo Radović so far.
co+labo Spring Urban Research Pavilion has, as on two previous occasions, been generously supported by local Jiyugaoka community and LIXIL Foundation. 
co+laboradović   Thinking, Making and Living Public Space ... towards 2O2O Symposium 
Thinking, Making and Living Public Space … towards Tokyo 2O2O Symposium, organised by co+labo on 25 May 2014, has brought together a group of  participants variously involved in production of open urban spaces, from academia + practice + local stake-holders + industry. A very intensive programme included presentations by Darko Radović (Keio, co+labo), Tadao Ishikawa (Jiyugaoka machi zukkuri and J Spirit), Kengo Kuma (University of Tokyo and KKAA), Yoshitaka Oshima (Smart Cities), David Sim (Gehl Architects) and discussion chaired by Davisi Boontharm (Keio and Sofia University). A number of the participants from Keio University, Chiba University, Jiyugaoka, Tokyo 2020 Olympocs Organising Committee, University of Tokyo and others took part in discussion.
The Symposium announced the beginning of collaboration between co+labo Radović and Gehl Architects, and launched new book in the Mn'M series In the Search of Urban Quality: 100 maps of Kuhonbutsugawa Street, Jiyugaoka (Radović, Boontharm; flickStudio).