Initial Inspirations

Umbrella Shelter; Kengo Kuma and Associates

I realized today that in ten days, RUE will be celebrating its 1-year anniversary!  When I started this blog last September, I had recently submitted my masters thesis and decided to finally create something that I had thought about for quite awhile – this site.

So, in anticipation for the 1-year marker, I wanted to present an exhibition that, in addition to other things, was a source of inspiration and remains an inspiration for me with respect to this site.  In late November 2008, just before moving home from Montreal, the husband and I went to the Canadian Centre for Architecture with a good friend to check out their Actions: What You Can Do With the City exhibition.

From their site:

The Canadian Centre for Architecture (CCA) presents Actions: What You Can Do With the City, an exhibition with 99 actions that instigate positive change in contemporary cities around the world. Seemingly common activities such as walking, playing, recycling, and gardening are pushed beyond their usual definition by the international architects, artists, and collectives featured in the exhibition. Their experimental interactions with the urban environment show the potential influence personal involvement can have in shaping the city, and challenge fellow residents to participate.

We spent several hours touring the exhibition with each room presenting scores of ideas about human interaction with the urban landscape, innovative environmental modifications, subversions big and small, and simple ideas with substantial impact.

I left full: intellectually, creatively, and, dare I say, emotionally.  I felt hopeful that the way people view cities was not just in terms of massing and abstract planning figures scrolled on a boardroom chart.  I love the sense of play in this exhibition.  It inspires all citizens to look at the city around them as a landscape of opportunity, and empowers them to claim their role as actors and instigators.

So if you need a little reminder that urban living is, at its core, a social experiment where we all come together and try to make it work, visit the Actions site and think of how you (yeah, you) can connect, contribute, and create change in your city.

The full list of actions can be found here; and a virtual exhibit is here.

Initial Inspirations

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