Sunday, 9 October 2011

doing up the dvor

The courtyards/dvors/двопа of Russian housing blocks come into their own at this time of year; as people sit out with a book, or their dogs, or their children, or their friends, and/or their cans of lager and snacks, and/or just staring into space - and bask in the last moments of autumn warmth.

There is something uniquely Russian about these spaces; both because of the block layouts (which seem weirdly random), and the endless ubiquity of green-painted low metal fencing, yellow-green striped kerb-stones, primary coloured play equipment, tarmac paths and tightly packed trees. And their slightly hidden quality - offering brilliant (but difficult to negotiate) green and pleasant short-cuts across the city.

Came across a fascinating investigation of this micro-rayon living by partizan publik, which explored two such dvors, one in Tblisi, Georgia and one on the outskirts of Moscow. On the surface these are almost identical - given that blocks like this were built right across the Soviet Union. But the group provide what they call "an inventory of user strategies' to show differences as well as similarities in how people occupy these spaces, and their various responses to a post-soviet world where such public spaces are really beginning to show neglect.

No comments:

Post a Comment