Containporary

Curator/EXHIBITOR Maksut Vezgishi, Pavilion Of The Republic Of Kosovo. Earth is Home / The role of urbanization is to create sustainable environments that bond humans with Nature and it is part of planetary biodiversity. Hence, this is the noblest mission of architecture. Global urbanization is in expansion: population growth, constructions of megastructures (housing, economy, communications, etc.). The process involves countries and societies where every decision—making has a global impact, thus lack of sustainable planning places Earth at risk. The most acute issue is the global warming crisis. We lack the awareness and coordinated actions in order to avoid the effects of climate disaster. Today we learned that no human action can be viewed as an individual anymore.

STAT(e)ION of KOSOVO

A city in itself cultivates a retro-memory that people are emotionally attached to. Likewise, they refer to old and easily distinguishable points as identifying points, as the landmark of their city, as something that they belong to and it belongs to them.

We know threshold as a symbol, as a strong line between the private and the public, extreme hygiene inside our homes and a cold distance with the communal sense.

The Kosovar society has spent most of its time in anarchy, not feeling represented by the institutions due to the system of representation. Hence, this situation had a direct impact on the perception of the public, consequently inciting them to be strongly bonded with their property, yards and homes, thus the deprivation of public rights has strengthen the connection with the private, with the sense of ownership.

The difference in the perception of the public and the private is not accidental, it has been created over the years after the distrust in the institutions of the pre-war period. The same situation and setback has continued after the establishment of institutions which were called on the name of autonomy, where ideological preferences and biases aside from nepotism and mismanagement turned into synonyms of representation. Here the gap between the two affiliations aggravates, which is continuously manifested by an attachment with the sense of possession.

Urban contexts are a hybrid and complex stratification of miscellaneous activities that the user experiences. Furthermore, the reaction to space is individual, a chronic call made to the subconscious to experience the chemistry with what surrounds it.

As part of human nature is also the fact that the state “off the records” is where we feel comfortable, where we are ourselves, we reveal who we really are, the growth, the individual development, and the way we approach situations.

According to human behavior studies, people throw the most trash at train and bus stations, because they are waiting for a mean of transportation to go to another place. They do not express any kind of emotion for the environment where they are, in fact they consider the station only as a passing stage, ergo they throw garbage. Moreover, they do not create interaction with the ones who are waiting there, even if it happens, it is extremely superficial because there is no desire to  consume energy, a setting where the sense of belonging is faded.

The way of construction reflects the trajectory wherein the community has gone through, it depicts the spirit of the country, and the authenticity that cannot be overcome by the trend of globalization, it is powerful because it makes sense to the people it represents, it is a message and it is a history.

Pristina Bus Station,1980, Unknown author, Old Pristina

In Kosovo, one can easily notice a Balkan syndrome of  “Toxic Planning”, where the building casts a shadow on the other, envious and suffocating construction, where greenery is a ghost of municipal documents and children’s playgrounds are crumbs for optical illusion, quality living as a unit of measurement has m2, an intellect coefficient of field professionals. This conglomerate of injustices reflects a society which has aborted the transitional system.

The segment that pursues urban policies should be established from the local to the central level. In order to develop national urban policies we should begin from micro representative instances because these documents need to be a reflection of each community priorities.

The upside-down concept, from macro to the micro level, denotes the imposition of norms and regulations that are not constructed on the local context. This approach of legislature drafting produces the distance of citizens from rule and order, an unnatural embrace with the regulatory system that later leads to the difficulty of respecting it.

The phenomenon “This land is your land, this land is my land…”, by Woody Guthrie, represents the inclusion, where the city belongs to everyone, where despite the ethnic, religious and political background, one belongs here because a part of this city is yours. The cafe where you go in the morning, the walk to work that seems monotonous without some good music, and the potholes that you know by heart.

In the spirit of cold capitalism that reveals economic, social and political inequalities, inclusiveness is developing as a utopian concept. The heterogeneous mass does not mean segregation between different groups, in contrary, it means a group as a unity with different representatives that when it comes the concept of the city, should be united by urban well-being.

The lack of cohesive development comes as a result of a system that has mismanaged public institutions and unconsciously supported the divisions between different social strata. The city itself is nothing more than a reflection of political clashes history, where segregation of groups with different economic standards is easily noticed.

A woman in Roma’s Plementin camp, Obiliq , Valdrin Xhemaj, April 2020

The aggregation of  houses in gated neighborhoods  implies great financial stability, where units are distinguished from each-other only by the types of cars parked close (read: double expression of the disclosure of the economic standard). The grassy part in front of their homes is a bourgeoisie relic of past centuries, nonetheless it has become a trend, a globalization of habits with lots of planning gaps.

On the other hand, a few kilometers away from this supremacy, there are built facilities for social housing, apartments are offered to families of different categories such as: unemployed, invalids, single mothers and other marginalized groups. Concentrating a social group with low incomes in a specific location means exclusion, it expresses tendencies of instilling ghettos in the urban context.

These kinds of divisions should prompt a social alert about the way we plan, how we make people feel by showing them where they belong and setting boundaries on the vision of city development.

The only way to live together is when we do not treat inclusion as a privilege of public spaces, but as a need of every neighborhood, as a call for equality, diversity and representation.