Juliet Sakyi-Ansah

The self—organised YOUTH PARLIAMENT

“As for young people, although they are crushed by the dominant economic relations which make their position increasingly precarious, and although they are mentally manipulated through the production of a collective mass-media subjectivity, they are nevertheless developing their own methods of distancing themselves from normalised subjectivity through singularisation.”
Guattari, Felix. Three Ecologies. New Brunswick, 2000, p23.

Guattari questions the role of youths in society in his theories on marginalisation. This can be related to how marginalised groups in banlieues1 are spatially excluded from the public realm based on their social structure. The Youth Parliament as a design project that deals with the social needs of youths in Colombes in terms of their development by means of self-transforming their own environments.

The self-organised youth parliament is an alternative project to the type of social facilities that are provided from top-down institutional level such as poorly maintained youth and community centres. This project looks at allowing youths to recognise their own needs and develop skills so that they are able to set their own briefs and be able to implement building projects for benefit of themselves and the rest of the community.

Personal Ethos
As an emerging condition in the 21st century, Rurban is concerned with resilience to global scale economic, environmental, social and political structures and how these can be achieved by spatial appropriation through means of participation and collaborative events with local and/or external community groups. The personal approach to Rurban is in the sense of environmental transformations where the political and social structures of banlieues contributes to the development of rural-urban condition it looks at the utopian promise land as a social and economic wasteland.

Explorations have been made through the notion of self-organisation, ecosophy, transformative power, distributed cognition and adaptive reuse. This feeds into the approach of the studio and expands on previous themes of activism and challenges to social and economic power structures. The ethos was conceived to respond to the urban condition of banlieues with focus on challenging existing places for youths and allowing them youths to implement their own projects through knowledge, experience and power.

Project Theme
The project addresses Rurban with two main themes:

1) How urban conditions of French suburbs have developed social problems for the youth communities. Studies of places for youths show that existing youth amenities are inadequate and unsatisfactory. It relates to how these places are delivered by government institutions more like service delivery and problem solving solutions with ‘top-down’ approaches in the banlieue community. The agenda is inspired by traditional rural condition where self-subsistence was the norm and the idea of self-governance, least in the informal sense, is a strategy towards self-subsistence;

2) Inhabiting vacant land in Colombes looks at number of post-industrial sites that have been identified as low in economic and social value due to its history of use and contamination, pollution and climatic risks particularly floodings with focus on flooding and dealing with this type of sites as social wastelands.

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