Public Playgrounds

Small spatial interventions for a spontaneous use of public space, connected with a red thread

Public playgrounds are responding to an overall lack of public space initiatives in Skopje and are places for free expression. They are based on personal interpretations of public spaces around MKC – Youth Cultural Center in Skopje. Through open access of public spaces to various social groups, we tried to understand the variety of uses of public spaces and answer the questions such as: How to create places that invite and provoke curiosity for interaction? How to raise awareness on the importance of public space? How to test different solutions to issues in public space through short-term and temporary interventions?

Nine students from five countries (Macedonia, Turkey, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia) participated at a workshop that included a physical, visual, social and psychological analysis of the site – an identification of the site’s potentials and drawbacks. Due to the lack of public equipment and interesting content, people waiting at the bus stop and marginal groups visiting the site at night were identified as the only users of the place. Besides them, we tried to focus on other potential users, which are by passers, students, employees from the surrounding buildings, visitors of Academy of Science and Art and most of all, visitors of MKC.

A series of ideas for interventions was created from already existing, unused urban elements. They were incorporated in a way not to disturb the flow of activities detected on the location, but to improve their use and quality. The thread of all the interventions was a red rope, which is present as a main element of interior of MKC. It appeared in different ways in all the interventions; as a new seating at the bus station, a missing lean on the existing bench, a part of swings, a hammock between the trees, an attachment for trash bins and a cushion covering stumps and logs in the park.

Immediate reactions of the by passers proved small and smart interventions can easily test and point at possible scenarios for alternative use of public space. Woven together by the search for new, alternative approaches to spatial design, all the installations, and small but smart, pointed at possible scenarios for alternative use of public space.

 

Skopje, Macedonia

Mentors: Maša Cvetko (prostoRož) + Ivana Kostovska (Skopje) + Velimir Zernovski (Skopje)

Participants: Uroš Anželič (Slovenia), Marinela Arsovska (Serbia), Gokhan Aydin (Turkey), Damjan Balkivski (Macedonia), Sonja Brdar (Serbia), Nastasja Budjevac (Serbia), Ivona Krnjač (Croatia), Hilal Menigolu (Turkey), Olga Strejič (Serbia)