Last year a group of architects who call themselves YA+K opened a space on the edges of the special planning district that is meant to serve as an incubator. Like them, an increasing number of artists are using the city as their studio. Some are architects, landscapers or designers. Others come from street theater or fine arts. The youngest aren’t yet 30 years old. They form a loosely-defined constellation in which the participants know each other and work together over the course of the projects. They demand a transdisiplinary approach and ask that design be more closely associated with land planning. The artists’ contribution is to both design the urban project and occupy the space as the project is being constructed. Creating on-site events is a way to increase the dynamics of urban transformation and challenge the expertise of a handful of urban planners and elected officials, which is where the collective and participative nature of the projects come from. The artists, architects and designers involved all reject hierarchies — their preference for organizing in collectives, which assumes a horizontal structure, is an example of that rejection.
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