What could you do with 72 hours?
72 Hour Urban Action aims to push the boundaries of collaboration, innovation, and solution by holding a three-day long architecture competition aimed at solving issues of public space. While most urban development projects are extremely time-consuming and complex, 72HUA encourages citizens to solve problems quickly and creatively. The mission: reappropriate obsolete public space that have lost meaning and use over time into spaces of public use. This theme of reevaluation is seen in many cities across the globe; for example, see the library phone book project.
The rules of the game: ten teams participate in this architecture festival, which has hit countries such as Germany, Ireland, Israel and the U.S. All team members eat, sleep, work and party on the site of their project for the 72-hour period. Each team receives a different challenge or goal for their space (an intimate public space, a playground theme) and a limited budget with few resources, such as a truck or team of construction helpers.
After 72 hours, judges consisting of an international panel of architects, policy makers and academics make their decision and crown a winner. And in the making, issues surrounding use of space in cities are resolved in 10 creative ways.
This past summer 72HUA worked with local activists in Germany around Stuttgart 21 – a railway and urban development project priced at almost 4 billion euro that has been in the works for almost 20 years. The winners of the Stuttgart competition turned a dilapidated lot into an inviting urban living room where children could play safely.
72HUA held conferences in Long Island City for partnership later this year to re-envision their city amidst the rising occurrence of gentrification. LIC believes artists are the ones to make change and promote green initiatives that would increase the economy and overall well-being of the neighborhood. While 72HUA probably won’t be enacted by architecture firms, it is an progressive take on addressing immediate needs of cities as they continue to grow and change. The moral of this story: change can occur almost overnight by passionate people who are willing to collaborate and get their hands dirty.