Eva Minoura

by evaminoura

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I am an architect trained in the United States and here in Sweden at KTH. I began my PhD studies in september of 2009 and aim to finish in 2014, I am currently also working as a project manager in the planning department at Stadsbyggnads-kontoret in Stockholm.

My research focus in broad terms is on how spatial configuration affects social interaction and appropriation of urban territories. I am interested in how an urban structure and it’s material expressions frame and delimit space and what effect this has on use/agency of that space. I spent three months in the fall at TU Delft in the Netherlands and found it fascinating to see how intensely appropriated even very small patches of transitional territories could be. These zones are often called semi-private and semi-public spaces in design practice without much reflection on the social and spatial mechanisms of such spaces. I found a clear logic to the use of these zones, (sometimes just thin strips at the interface between building and street) and saw this relating to the formal or informal character and privacy control implicit in the urban design. The aim of my research is to encourage reappropriation of ’lost space’ through better knowledge on user appropriation and sense of agency.  Currently much infill is shockingly ad hoc in spite of the scale of densification of medium-density suburbs planned for Stockholm (and other cities striving for greater compactness). In dense urban settings (and perhaps more so in low-density areas), it is often at boundaries that things start to happen. One challenge for designers is to reconceive of these boundaries so that they invite change/agency/effects, at the moment, this represents the design component in my architectural research. Within systems theory, there is a conception of boundaries as needed to regulate difference (Luhrmann) I find this useful applied to social mechanism as well. I’d like to recast boundaries or delimitations as sites of agency since today boundaries are often reduced conceptually to being about inclusion/exclusion.

As a theoretical base, I lean on spatial justice theory and right to the city (Harvey, Rawls, Fainstein, Soja) with the equity dimension of privacy control and it’s uneven spatial distribution. The spatial distribution concept engages with theories by Hillier & Hanson and other urban morphologists like Paola Vigano.  For ideas on discrete versus fluid space (and the terrein vague) de Sola Morales among others.