Citizens as Customers: Students’ Lectures

31.01.2012, 15:45
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In addition to visiting microrayons and factories that produce panel housing, the Citizens as Customers group are also busy making short lectures to each other and inviting experts to their studio. This all is part of the second step  of their research: finding out what they already know. For example, the  founder of the Project Russia magazine Bart Goldhoornv gave a talk on how the block standard should be introduced in the architecture world and how it can shape the market. Matiss Groskaufmanis, in his turn, looked into the subject of microrayons in Riga.

Below is an extract from Matiss’ lecture:

Even if Riga and Moscow are incomparable ex-Soviet capitals in terms of scale, they both share a common past. Both were planned and organized by the same structure of power and ideology, both have been subject to large scale construction of prefabricated built forms that are making up a major fraction of both cities’ housing stock today. Therefore, it is interesting to look at Riga as an urban entity of smaller scale and greater absorptiveness to change, as well as a much clearer stance towards adapting neoliberal ideology.

In his presentation, Matiss explores the ownership and maintenance of the remains of the Soviet microrayon in Riga. After 1991, the closed and hierarchical system of the Soviet microrayon broke down to many plots and the microrayon as one entity of management ceased to exist. Newly created land parcels are acquired by various players, each with different interests and capabilities. This means that the original logic of the microrayon is disrupted. Today there are more villains and challenges in the microrayon, but the presence of new players creates more opportunities.

You can catch the students’ lectures here and here.