Designing Disorder is the result of the architect Pablo Sendra reading the book in 2009 The Uses of Disorder (1970) by sociologist Richard Sennett. He bases himself on the book's ideas of a "disordered, unstable and direct social life" with urban design experiments in areas where there are no spontaneous activities and social interactions.
The book's proposal for a more social citylife may not be suitable during the time of the pandemic, where people are encouraged to maintain social distance and spend as much time as possible at home, but in a world without corona restrictions. During the reading, I long even more for the social city life, which before the pandemic was a big part of my everyday life.
An open system
Designing Disorder also suggests a urban designs where people can be out together but alone. This proposal is more relevant and gives me hope for a better future where we can cope with a new pandemic better, without it affecting public health – physically og mentally.
In the first part of the book, "Civil Society", Sennett reflects on why he wrote The Uses of Disorder and what it means today, and he proposes an open city that can liberate hidden and forgotten areas.
Fences and walls do not encourage social gatherings and activities.
Civil society should respect the differences in people so that we can be free to be ourselves alone, Sennett believes. The distance between people's apartments and houses should be respected, since it makes society in a dense and diverse city civil – as opposed to a village where everyone knows everyone.
The city streets create loneliness in the sense that you can be out in the crowd, but at the same time withdraw from other people. The big city compresses people together, the density also makes it possible for us to be completely alone.
I do not experience loneliness when I am alone in my apartment, but when I sit at a twin table. . .
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