Community as an Ice breaker: More together than alone

LAHORE – The phase 5 commercial area is an ecological niche or a “natural area” for architects and other professional practices in which creativity is an essential prerequisite. My perception about the area is that of a very dull and boring neighbourhood that is expansively misconstrued and generally uninspiring.

The “Chicago School of Thought” very efficiently explains “Symbolic Interactionism”, which is a frame of reference for understanding human interactions and how it creates an environment which in turn shapes the human activities and interactions. It’s basically a perpetual process that pushes people and their environments into contact, conflict and accommodation.

I feel that this social connection is what’s missing here. Call me ambitious but I have always imagined this area as a friendly neighbourhood that embraces the concept of “The Public Realm”. What we need is a public space that is neutral and inclusive of people of all backgrounds, ages and point of views. While doing research, I came across a really inspiring blog by the “Side Walk Labs”. It basically ascertained the idea of a space that helps quality interactions to occur between people who wouldn’t necessarily have come across each other otherwise.

“Each project is a device meant to get people talking and connecting to each other and their environment”; says Mouna Andraos, a Montreal based designer. Their whimsical projects are proof that playful public spaces inspire serious connection.

Technology has facilitated a lot of things, including online connection, but it is in the invisible space. I believe it is our job to bring these conversations out so they become tangible. The best way to achieve that, is to design an environment that is a “conversation starter” and an “enabler”. Montreal based Design studio: Daily tous Les jours tries to “work with whatever assets are available in a place”.

Following in their footsteps we should also try to create an infrastructure that creates pleasant memories. Not only that, but it will also create opportunities for informal learning which usually takes place outside educational or working establishments.

As the phase 5 commercial area is predominantly an architectural hub, WE are the “assets” in literal terms. Therefore we must come up with a proposal that echoes creativity which not only encourages but also inspires designers to come up with ingenious ideas. As a result, we can build a neighbourhood that not only reveals the fabric of the population that surrounds it, but also purposely generates excuses for people to bump into each other to collaborate. On a poetic level, we need people moving the tables together to really achieve things.

Mahnoor Imran

Mahnoor Imran

Mahnoor Imran is an Architecture graduate from Punjab University College of Art and Design (2011-2016). She is currently running her own “Dot Architects”.