UBC Graduate Research

Underutilized Space : A Migrating Social Program Khera, Jivan


Global forces have shaped the way modern cities are structured. This has resulted in spatial inefficiencies and a decrease in liveability. The global market demands a commodity based typology to be built into the realestate market while ignoring the impacts on local communities. This has two major repercussions; the production of underutilized spaces that underserve the local community, and forcing those who cannot afford the new lifestyle out. It is possible to combat these forces by understanding them holistically and harnessing the potential of these underutilized spaces through ingenuity in programming, siting, and material application. As people are displaced, they often lack a voice and have no means of upwards mobilization. The key to combating these issues is to inspire empathy in urban citizens to relate to one another regardless of their condition. Those who depend on the underutilized spaces as their residence or means of economic autonomy are often characterised as having an inherently stigmatic nature. This characterization further defines the spaces that these people inhabit. By facilitating a dialogue between all urban citizens, it can create an understanding of the overarching condition. These underutilized spaces are often strictly utilitarian, overlooked, or have become derelict through disuse. It is through layering program in a temporal and physical nature that these spaces can become inviting and establish an identity within the urban fabric. By understanding the potential of these spaces, regardless of the type of neighbourhood they are present in, it becomes possible to have a net positive effect on the community. This can be done by adding an amenity, a place of respite, or a space of production. The underutillized space within the city presents the opportunity to facilitate the discussion about the conditions that all urban citizens face while becoming inviting, and programatically layered. By utilizing this space, and programing it to promote the dialogue between urban citizens, these factors deteriorating the livability in the urban environment can be mitigated.

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