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“The Future of Sharing as Urban Making”

BAITASI – Beijing’s New Design Neighbourhood

First launched with the 2015 edition of Beijing Design Week in the context of Baitasi historic hutong district, Baitasi Remade is a program of urban renewal tasked to integrate communal engagement, architectural and infrastructural upgrading by way of soft-strategies of development taking design thinking and cultural making at their heart.

Once again a partner program of BJDW, the 2016 BTS Remade project unveils long-term operations under the creative direction of Beatrice Leanza, positioning itself as a living incubator for a networked community of design professionals and entrepreneurs to take home in the area and partake to the rejuvenation of its cultural and social ecosystem.

The program presented at BJDW 2016 therefore offers insight into post-event activities fostering dialogue between perspective and existing communities, as a prelude to a generative process of interactions among various professional stakeholders – from economic and institutional actors to creative players in the fields of design at large – and local residents.

Under the thematic agenda of Urban Learning & The Future of Sharing, the program dives into an articulated strand of site-oriented initiatives that labour around ‘the future of design education and sharing culture’ intended as key fora for the discursive and pragmatic exploration of methodologies of redevelopment specific to the Baitasi area that could be further employed as blueprints for similarly challenged social and built environments in and out of China.
The Baitasi Remade project aims at emplacing unprecedented modes of collectively rethinking the sustainability of life in the city as products of networked systems for knowledge making-and-sharing inspired by the human-scaled dimension of traditional settlements like Beijing’s hutong areas, to eventually shape new urban communities and social alliances.

Urban Learning – For a new distributed sense of place and global belonging
By taking Baitasi’ unique urban and social formation as its prime area of investigation, Baitasi Remade looks at creating strategies of productive re-positioning for similarly shaped living environs within the larger ecosystem of the city and its global expanse. Transformations in the structural and demographic outlook of large metropolises like Beijing, present challenges as much as opportunities for such historically stratified neighbourhoods and their constitutive values of communal reciprocity and social co-dependency to accommodate a distributed sense of place and belonging as fostered across the evermore dematerializing spatial confines we inhabit and traverse in our daily endeavours.
How can past and present forms of spatial thinking and social making together inform novel living standards and knowledge systems for contemporary urban residents? Is there a place for thereof ensuing modalities of life to partake in the larger urban economy of global expanse? How can we mend the disruptions of urban conglomerations by way of rewiring connections among the desires, needs and expectations of fragmented social groups and interests?

The Future of Sharing – The Future of Urban Making

The Baitasi Remade project takes an investigative approach of participatory observation into the constitutive nature of today’s processes of transformation that motivate individuals’, institutions’, corporate and governmental co-participation in the grand narrative of urban-making. It does so by addressing potential outcomes for today’s network-based, digitally-shaped economies of sharing to escalate collaboration and engagement to extant urban problems and their otherwise atomizing social effects. The project strives to configure new process of dialogue among clusters of knowledge and expertise – urban, social, anthropological, scientific, economic, etc. – to generate new ideas for start-ups, social entrepreneurship and creative initiatives to be integrated in and bring positive value to the area.

‘’Urban Learning & The Future of Sharing’’

The 2016 BTS Remade curatorial framework encapsulated under the agenda of ‘Urban Learning & The Future of Sharing’ is articulated around two core knowledge-making hubs connected to a set of initiatives and participatory projects engaging the local context&residents. These are to be found around selected spaces in the area and are organized with long-term partners and collaborators involved in post-event planning, as well as in the form of ad hoc public programs and newly created projects rethinking how design can enter productive dialogue with the social and infrastructural givens of this historical urban enclave.
The program is thus divided in three core sections including: two knowledge-making hubs which are The Global School and the Baitasi Print Club, and a number of connected initiatives scattered around the area under the umbrella of Baitasi Projects.

A dense set of discursive programs, talks, roundtables, presentations, together with making-sessions and workshops, are constitutive of the BTS Remade program, as an essential exercise that, together with exhibitions and context-specific interventions, help generating a novel ‘narrative of participation’, by harvesting material and intangible data as product of field work and site-driven research.

You can read more about each program section at the dedicated links in the website and discover how these hubs and relevant projects in the area inform a longer term strand of actions to understand more of Baitasi neighbourhood, its history and community.

Furthermore the finalists’ exhibition, jury meeting cum forum for the Baitasi International Design Competition – Rethinking Beijing Courtyards launched earlier this year in collaboration with World Architecture magazine will be presented in the market and the winners announced by the end of Beijing Design Week.