Doctoral student Vértiz Márquez Brenda Victoria

108300 €

Care spaces in times of crisis: Designing urban public spaces of play in the Global South

Tieteellinen tutkimus / siihen pohjautuva työ | Nelivuotinen

The current health crisis has re-exposed one of the most important contradictions of contemporary capitalist urbanization: as cities expand and become more powerful than ever, they also grow more unequal and less caring for all. In the midst of this pandemic, while the privilege urban elites are generally able to pay for and access to the care, shelter or leisure they need to sustain their daily lives, for the most deprived populations of growing metropolises, especially in the global South, this is becoming more difficult or outright impossible. The rising of urban inequality is indicative of today’s crisis of care and social reproduction—a crisis highly gendered and racialized, in which people’s capacities for sustaining and replenish their lives are stretching to the breaking point. This research focuses on open public spaces for play, which are often overlooked but are crucially important for everyday’s life, especially for children: open public spaces for play—particularly in Mexico City’s growing periphery, where these spaces are experiencing a considerable shrinkage and deracination. Its aim is to investigate how open public spaces for play might be expanded and reinvented against current restrictions and the acute crisis of care and social reproduction. The research will be developed as an inquiry process in which theory and practice will be in constant dialogue. A theoretical framework will be constructed around the fields of Design, Urban studies, and Feminist Social Reproduction theory. The practice-based part will build on imaginative and participatory design methods to develop spatial interventions that will be employed as playful devices, in order to inquire the concerns and horizons regarding play as care. Through a highly interdisciplinary approach, the research will challenge the established idea that, in times of uncertainty, play spaces do not represent an alternative to the regimes of everyday inequality, particularly in the growing megacities of the global South.