In an exploration of contested territories, this publication investigates the political agency of architecture and urban design in Famagusta, Cyprus, presenting stories about the future common spaces in their city.
Can collective urban practices contribute to peace processes in divided cities? How can they be used in a targeted manner as part of urban policy, to challenge dominant divisive narratives and offer alternatives to segregating urban reconstruction approaches? The book is dedicated to this role of architecture and urban planning as a political instrument for transforming ethnic conflicts into urban controversies towards the city’s commons. The town of Famagusta in Cyprus serves as an example, a town characterized by polarizing narratives and burdened by memories loaded with conflict. In order to transform the contested territories into areas of common interest and action, the “Hands-on Famagusta“ project team developed methods for urban transformation. The guide brings together practical examples of this project and international articles from relevant literature, thereby communicating strategies and tactics for the formation and spatial organization of the collective. It actively encourages deeply contested societies to invest in common urban imaginaries.
Socrates Stratis is the curator of the Cyprus Pavilion at the 15th Architecture Biennial 2016 in Venice with the project entitled “Contested Fronts: Commoning Practices for Conflict Transformation”. The “Hands-on Famagusta” project is the main part of the Cyprus Pavilion together with six international practices, networks and pedagogical programs: “Archis Interventions SEE”, “Build Up”, “City Reparo”, “Institute of Threshold”, “Mapping Controversies”, “Passages”.