"When I look at my city, Thessaloniki, I see a city suffering from the financial crisis, as most of Greek cities. I witness the consequences on people and families. But I also see how our initiatives and resilience is fighting the gloom. No one would think that in such conditions I could observe my city becoming even more creative and culturally interesting as it previously was.
It made me realize that creativity didn’t depend on how much money or how many creative organizations exist; but rather on the implication and involvement of people and inhabitants. When they seized that moment as an opportunity to change their world, at that very moment, my city truly became creative."
Chrisa, A thessaloniki resident in love with her city
This is a guerilla creative experiment ”Thessaloniki in another way’ which empowers the citizens into doing something for their city because of the failure of the government.
‘ENOUGH IS ENOUGH’ shouts the man at the beginning of the video
And all it took was passion, will, love for what their city represents for them.
Sao Paolo, Brazil is another example of people engagement in the face of the government incapability to invest many resources. It has pushed its resident into taking action about the look and the dirt of the city.
This campaign aimed at ‘cleaning’ the city, but it was not only about physical dirt and rubbish, it also positively engaged people into unveiling the true creative colors of their city! And in order to allow for the public space to become again a space for people to project themselves they decided on the ban of advertising!
‘In today’s synthetically colored cities, people assume that vibrancy derives from neon lights and advertising campaigns. The ban in São Paulo reminds the world that it’s a city’s inhabitants and cultural heritage that bring the true flavor’ http://www.newdream.org/resources/sao-paolo-ad-ban
We believe that to make a city creative you have to focus on its soul: its citizens. Creativity entails freedom of expression, but also the ‘courage’ to do so. In order to bring out the creativity of people you need to shape the appropriate framework. Engaging inhabitants in showing their inner creativity is what we believe is a true creative city project.
We believe that the creative inhabitation of cities can be fostered by simple and creative initiatives. This can sound simple, but it becomes complicated when the approaches at the very base of the conception of city differ.
A first approach to fostering creativity and modernity in a city is by the management through state initiatives and investments (Post on the development soon to come- Link will be posted here).
The Jacana Projects vision is not fighting this conception, but we believe that these top down approaches should be combined with a bottom up focus : We are the fervent defenders of a city made FOR the PEOPLE, BY the PEOPLE and FROM the PEOPLE !!
At the base of this conception lies the idea of space. Because space is something you create, something being define by its owners, its users, its infrastructures and its purposes. We see city spaces as canvas on which are written histories and social experiences. Our inhabitation of space defines and makes it a creative space.
On this subject we are following the conception of the placemakers, as they call themselves, who developped the 'pioneering Placemaking approach' which 'helps citizens transform their public spaces into vital places that highlight local assets, spur rejuvenation and serve common needs.'
Cities are a succession of spaces overlapping with each other, a space is multidimensional physically and temporaly. Good examples of ephemeral transformations of public spaces often take the form of now famous Guerilla initiatives.
Some of the most engaging and simple are the Play Me I Am Yours worlwide exhibition of pianos in city centre that people can play, or the worlwide movement of Guerilla Gardening !!
Jouez, Je suis a vous! Play Me I Am Yours ! Geneva, Summer 2011
...initiatives that can engage and encourage people to make their city finally theirs !