The independence of the Baltic Countries from Soviet Union is, perhaps, the most important event in the Baltic Sea Region in the last century. Its importance lies in the economic, social, and spatial follow ups caused to the entire region.
One of these follow ups is the gradual economic integration between Scandinavian and Baltic countries. Some scholar call it “economic colonization”, imposed, by the established Nordic countries (i.e. Sweden and Finland), to unstable, but growing, Baltic economies.
This layer of transnational integration brought to cities such as Tallinn huge financial resources to “re-boot” the economic system after 50 years of communist impasse. At the same time, these chaotic economic dynamics caused the spatial disintegration of Tallinn in an “Archipelago” of separate urban islands (Central Business District, old city centre, socialist districts, restored garden neighbourhoods, brownfield areas, etc.).
On the other hand, the “migration”, as somebody called it, of the Russian boarders to the east, left millions of Russian Speaking (russophones) people in an incipient diasporic space, which led to the socio-spatial exclusion of a considerable part of the local population.
This layer of social local-disintegration overlaps with the previous one (the spatial transnational-disintegration), making “Archipelago”, and its in-between space, an even more accurate model.
Cityleft has developed, in the form of a proposal, a “third conceptual layer” which empowers local stakeholders toward the social sustainability of disintegrated urban spaces. The name of this latter layer is Urbanism 3.0. We interpret the ongoing financial crisis as an unique chance to develop Urbanism 3.0 in post-communist countries.
In Urbanism 3.0, Urban Art Interventions and Peer to Peer (P2P) projects are conceived to simulate alternative urban scenarios in public space capable to affect region making as well urban planning.
P2P processes are activated by the direct participation of local stakeholders. In other words the P2P philosophy aims to create streams of open-share knowledge available for the whole community. In this frame, urbanists, social workers, NGOs, environmental artists, graphic designers, minorities, and inhabitants work together in open-share projects related to urban issues such as atlas, courses, digital platform to collect social feedbacks, spatial strategies as well as formats for new social policies. This active form of participation is inspired to trans-disciplinary research and it is aimed to address local urban issues. It constitutes, insofar, a challenge to bring in the material world the energies of the virtual communities which have created, step by step, the P2P phenomenon . A layout for this approach has been drawn up last July at Bauhaus Dessau Foundation .
Urban Art Interventions, on the other hand, are conceived to simulate and put in practice alternative urban scenarios. Through the direct participation of local stakeholders in P2P workshops, UAIs aim to collect indirect social feedbacks from the local milieu made of inhabitants, commuter, and city users. Since performance are addressed in public space, anyone can interact and leave her/his personal trace. Those feedbacks are then re-analyzed by the P2P workshops to refine strategies and projects.
We believe that this new methodology can seriously improve the quality and the quantity of urban research. Therefore, we are collecting researchers, friends, public institutions, architects, artists, and so forth in the working platform Cityleft .altervista.org to implement Urbanism 3.0-oriented projects.