COMMONS PLAYGROUND by Isabel Gutiérrez Sánchez, Nelly E. Estevez
Lincoln’s Inn Fields in Holborn is the largest public square-park in London. Students and professionals frequent this peaceful space, full of beautiful trees. Yet, Lincoln’s Inn Fields is also a meeting point for homeless and low-income people, who daily assemble seeking to collect a food ration provided by charity organizations on a free-of-charge basis. These people queue for long time, awaiting the “soupvan” with the food and hot drinks. They have their meal seated on the sidewalk and rarely come inside the park.
The project seeks to make this activity more visible. We see Lincoln’s Inn Fields as an extraordinary public asset to enhance a practice of social care, much needed in these times of crisis and increasing inequalities in the city. We want to reimagine Lincoln’s Inn Fields as a space to raise social awareness and engagement to transform it from a public square to a Common Square.
We propose a simple set of modular furniture to be used in multiple forms and combinations, broadening the range of activities realized in the park. Each module is made of recycled enduring plastic, as a low-cost and light material. Rather than providing furniture to the park per se, these cubes seek to raise awareness in the users of this place about people in need.
Lincoln’s Inn Fields is owned by the Borough of Camden. As the major public agent, it will provide the modules through a crowdfunding campaign. The charity organizations, depending on the amount pledged, will deliver a specific module to be used and keep in the park under the name of its donor, filling the space with play-pieces. Ideally, the campaign will be replicable in other spaces in the city, spreading the commoning culture.
Isabel Gutiérrez Sánchez – Architect and socio-anthropologist from Madrid, currently studying at the LSE. I am seeking to explore how the functions of social reproduction, that is, the social cares, are increasingly demanding a visible role in the public urban sphere, in a process that can be understood as a feminization of the contemporary city.
Nelly E. Estevez – Ecuadorian architect, currently studying at LSE, I am interested in the urban phenomena that demand visibility and created its own shapes. Uses, reproduction and expansion of the ‘urban goods’ along the cities.