Learning from Ourselves


Șerban Țigănaș


  • planning
  • open process
  • public consultation
  • design failure
  • temporary construction
  • Baukultur
  • Cluj-Napoca

Claiming the need for constant and critical account of the gestures that shape the urban space, the article puts forth a series of Romanian contemporary urbanity realities and general precepts. This permanent questioning is described as a pedagogical learning method, a sine qua non condition for honest comprehension and progress. While “learning from others” means choosing, adjusting and applying foreign models, “learning from ourselves” is an in-house much more intricate trial and error practice, as it deals with the acceptance of failure. Throughout the text, several local urban practices are compared to the Baukultur, a type of necessary planning instrument, that combines design standards with holistic social, environmental, economic visions; through this lens and using several examples, problems of regulations (as not flexible and open ended), participation, decision making (a process lead by politicians with a facultative input by professionals) and finally development are disclosed. Rounding off that urban development is nothing but a continuous learning process, a list of possible matters we can learn from ourselves is provided in the end.