Thinking with the unfinished. The urban reality of an unbuilt megaproject.

Thinking with the unfinished. The urban reality of an unbuilt megaproject.

Submission ID:

108

Edgelands are “unfinished” spaces of negotiation between urban and rural realities.
In 2003 a large social housing development project in the southern periphery of Valencia, conceptualized by a local architect took on addressing this issue so “after 150 years of urbanism, in this project, the city can grow without destroying the structure of the agriculture. (…) a mix of urban and rural” [Guallart, 2004].
The grand project was located on a 350.000 sqm site and envisaged the construction of 2.500 housing units, as well as a vast program of public works and services. Architectural designs were commissioned to 13 well-known offices – including Toyo Ito, MVRDV, and Ábalos&Herreros-. The project was called Sociópolis, a project for a city of the future.
17 years later, as the project remains largely unbuilt the area presents an unfinished urban reality. The area remains an exclave of the city, cut off from the urban fabric by a series of heavy linear infrastructures, and wears the marks of decades of neglect. The problems the publicly subsidized megaproject addressed have intensified.
Both Sociópolis and its adjacent surroundings present a rich variety of “unfinished” spaces –abandoned, forgotten, uncompleted- that characterize the edgelands. The terms employed usually to tackle this condition express positions that are diverse and contradictory. While a “third landscape” [Clément, 2004] is perceived as a fruitful and biologically rich accidentally created space, the term “urban void” announces a call to fill it up with “built” content. “Leftover space”, “non-place” and “generic space” speak of banality and unliveliness.
The notion of “terrain vague” [Solá Morales, 1994], however, brings to the foreground the potentialities. The unfinishedness is read as openness, as an offering of endless possibilities.
The paper proposes to think along the unfinishedness to shed a new perspective onto a specific case: the site that should have become Sociópolis.

Corresponding Author

Matilde Igual Capdevila

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

Author #1:

Matilde Igual Capdevila

Akademie der bildenden Künste Wien

Author #2:

Author #3:

Author #4:

Preferred Track

3. Terrain vague redevelopments

Second Preferred Track

4. Environment Impact Awareness in Urban Developments

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Centre for Socioeconomic and Territorial Studies

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