Today, the built environment upholds cultural norms that marginalize the deviant, the non-normal, and suppresses people’s agency in public space. Architecture has been complicit in exposing marginalized communities to conditions of precarity and disfranchisement through the formalization of spaces that privilege (or construct) commonality and conformity and restrict people’s freedom to act in them. Whether it’s through fetishizing commodity as an urban spectacle or creating environments that resist personal expression and change, architecture has woven precarity into modern space by limiting and structuring the performances it may hold.

    Architecture can aid and participate in communities’ struggle against precarity through interventions in public space that afford a plurality of idiosyncratic performances and accommodate their constant flux. Here the issue is twofold. First, architecture must allow for the appearance of multiple subjectivities and identities rather than a culturally ideal one. This means providing the necessary infrastructure for all identities to freely perform (and be recognized for) their truth and find a sense of independence and community. And second, architecture must also create environments that afford and encourage their subsequent change. Places that afford and celebrate a plurality of performances while also allowing people to shape, change, and participate in them, paired up with relevant community programming, can create urban environments focused not only on the healing and growth of those who architecture has disproportionately exposed to conditions of precarity but also, the community at large.

Landscapes of Resistance presents a housing and urban parks project for the people of Los Angeles that struggles against conditions precarity by incentivizing a plurality of idiosyncratic performances in public space —performances that correspond to people’s unique identities and desires. It does so, by creating moments where the freedoms and informalities that we understand as being associated with domestic space are stitched into the fabric of public space. Programmatic rearrangements and domestic affordances create a quasi-domestic spatiality of public space that reframes its sphere of acceptable performances. This new kind of urban fabric seeks to seep into its context and foster environments that do not reinforce conditions of precarity, but instead, participate in the expression, growth, and healing of its community.

SITE PLAN | Housing, community resources, and public space over the Los Angeles River, between Downtown Los Angeles and Boyle Heights. 

PROGRAMMATIC CONCEPT | From woven precarity in public space to a liberated quasi-domestic public space. 

PERSPECTIVE | Quasi-domestic spatiality of public space reframes the sphere of acceptable performances.