Kathrin Golda-Pongratz defends the role of urban planning as a political tool and collective practice beyond technical functionality

The lecturer from the UIC Barcelona School of Architecture presented an urban memory activation case in Lima (Peru) during her participation in the Society of Architectural Historians’ virtual conference

On 14 April,UIC Barcelona School of Architecture lecturer Kathrin Golda-Pongratz, participated in the Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) virtual conference with a talk entitled “Hidden Landscapes of Palimpstic Urban Memories: The Case of Lima/ Peru”. In her talk, she highlighted the need to expand the notion of urban memory by supporting a kind of “memory-based urbanism” that requires a holistic overview of the territory and all its physical and social layers. “Urban planning needs to be understood beyond its technical functionality, as a means of territorial ordering, as a political tool and collective practice that allows the intrinsic logic of a place and its social use to become synthesised and united,” she argued. 

To illustrate this idea, the lecturer presented the case of Lima (Peru), as a particularly complex case, where memory and urban identities are threatened by the politically motivated destruction of archives, and where pre-hispanic preexistence (huacas) has been neglected by urban practices at all stages of modernisation. “This paper presents a case for the double activation of memory: based on archival material and, through this, on unwritten local memories from a self-built neighbourhood in the northern part of Lima. The value of local initiatives to protect the biodiversity of a threatened landscape makes real an awareness of the memories of its inhabitants, a sense of responsibility and the hope for a holistic overview of the macro region-city,” she explained. 

The Society of Architectural Historians (SAH) is a non-profit organisation set up at Harvard University in 1940 that brings together a network of local, national and international institutions and researchers dedicated to the history of the built environment and its role in contemporary life. The SAH virtual conference was held from 13 to 17 April and brought together academics, professionals and architecture students from around the world. 

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