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Title: Walking on streets-in-the-sky: structures for democratic cities
Authors: Borges, J. C.
Marat-Mendes, T.
Keywords: Golden Lane
Park Hill
Robin Hood Gardens
Alison and Peter Smithson
Urban form
Council housing
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: Taylor and Francis
Abstract: Streets-in-the-sky were conceptualized by architects Alison and Peter Smithson as collective space, an articulation between individual and civitas. This essay argues that streets-in-the-sky are a particularly democratic type of urban element, which also has many positive sustainability potentials. The first use of this concept was in the Smithson’s unbuilt Golden Lane estate (1952), which became a hallmark in post-WW2 debates over urban structure, domesticity, and social housing. Park Hill, the first streets-in-the-sky estate by Jack Lynn and Ivor Smith, was a success in the 1960s. The Smithsons continued to explore the idea in several urban projects, only to put it to built form in Robin Hood Gardens (1968–1972). These estates have adapted streets-in-the-sky and afterward evolved to very different states of maturity. While Park Hill is a refurbished Grade II listed building, Robin Hood Gardens is awaiting full demolition. Streets-in-the-sky were generally abandoned in more recent housing schemes, but the situation of these estates suggests that no consensus exists as to their urban value. Here, we analyze streets-in-the-sky at the time of their emergence as a concept. To assess their cultural, morphological, social, and political implications, we explore their development in built and unbuilt housing schemes, using the above mentioned case-studies to point out how streets-in-the-sky evolved, including their possible role in important urban debates of the present. Since many social housing estates employing streets-in-the-sky have been and continue to be demolished in redevelopment projects, we aim to understand what losses— aesthetic, functional, and environmental—may be implied in the decimation of this element of urban form.
Peer reviewed: yes
DOI: 10.1080/20004214.2019.1596520
ISSN: 2000-4214
Appears in Collections:DINÂMIA'CET-RI - Artigo em revista científica internacional com arbitragem científica

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