Changing Territories and the “Edge Effect” of the Re-Habited Industrial Structures

Changing Territories and the “Edge Effect” of the Re-Habited Industrial Structures

Jasmina Siljanoska (Faculty of Architecture, University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, North Macedonia), Goran Mickovski (Faculty of Architecture, University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, North Macedonia) and Ivana Angelova (Faculty of Architecture, University Ss. Cyril and Methodius, North Macedonia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9932-6.ch005
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This chapter will examine the transition zones around the borderline of the legal perimeter defined by law and master planning of Skopje that have always played a role of interactive borderland in which the concept of interactivity and urban-rural-exurban synergy is applicable. Of particular interest is how edge position of certain abandoned structures, industrial areas in particular, in the period of post-socialist transition have affected use and movement patterns changing. These structures have originally influenced the surrounding area by their users, and now they are largely neglected or underused and need interventions of rehabilitation into beneficial use. The authors support the view that there is significance in conceiving of a “edge effect” of the re-habilitated social and industrial fringe structures. They find that they should be given more consideration in the context of new economies and innovative technologies which will enable rehabilitation and adaptive reuse of the existing premises.
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Modern societies are constantly exposed not only to their own internal dynamics, but also to the impact of global changes, embracing an ideology of multiple urban transformations. This rapid transformation, economically and socially, as well as spatially, is shaping the new character and gradually is becoming recognizable in almost all the cities in the region of Western Balkans.

Within the context of the contemporary diffuse metropolis the concept of boundary changes and is materialized in new urban morphologies. The boundary between the end of the city and the beginning of nature or urban/rural fringe is subtle and cannot always be discerned. It defines discontinuous route which gradually perforated casing urban structure of the city as a direct influential on the development of the city and the dialectical relationship between inward and outward (the different typologies and morphologies). On the other hand, it is interesting from typological and morphological point of view to consider the constitution of space outside of the urban network, through the phenomenon of suburbanization, in order to clarify the vague spatial morphology and landscape between urban and suburban, as well as rural areas.

The method of forming the edges of the city, its quality and the subsequent consequences, is basically a result of the social system and spatial organization in today's cities. The concept of edge itself can be defined as both borderline of division and meeting place that allows interaction. Border lands besides the spatial aspect concerns include the social aspects, as well, such as segregation or integration between city residents and their activities and the residents of the exurban-suburban territories on the fringes.

The border space defined as borderland has been always an interest of urban planning in providing ways of how porosity and resistance can combine and defines both legal entities and limits, but also allows interactivity, porosity, flexibility and confluence of the urban and extra-urban territories and realities.

Skopje is a city with changing planning paradigms and conceptual misalignment of different periods of development. As a result of a rapid urbanization of Skopje during the XX century and constant increase of the territory former lines that define the border of the city are assimilated into its urban tissue and suburbs. The combination of its structural parts is no longer defined as homogenous mutually harmonious system, but rather its borders, barriers, edges are subject to a constant process of modification and reconfiguration of the dynamic image. Multiple layering and heterogeneity are present in the context of the changes within the social structure, to the interpretation on the architectural identity of the whole.

Comprehensive changes, after the establishment of new political and economic system in the early 1990s, inevitably caused changes in the urban structure inherited from the socialist period and again become the subject of transformation. The planning structures of public amenities were first to bear the negative consequences. Especially affected with these processes were small cultural centers and amenities with suburban position as part of the decentralized model of city planning. Even more affected were the border industrial zones allocated in the period of the industrialization process in the City of Skopje after the WWII, when industry was dominant in the economy and when Skopje has a status of the first industrial center with about 1/3 of the total industrial capacity of the Republic. The transformation confirms multifunctional fragmentation of the former industrial zones in the city. Both functional and spatial structures described above have lost their position in the urban fabric and meaning as important generator of activities and demographic exchange and interconnectivity of the urban-suburban-exurban territories.

Rehabilitation of these sites might enable redevelopment of the urban tissue of the post-socialist city, although it has been proven that in many cases it is not always possible and easy to implement. Unfortunately, the logic of capitalist economic restructuring of the industrial spaces is in the most of the cases inclined to destruction of the existing industrial structures and to building new capacities in newly designated industrial areas. The industries on the border which might have been treated as architectural heritage and rehabilitated by applying adaptive re-use method are rare in the dominantly negative practice. Creation of new policies and strategies for particular border land zones restructuring into places for beneficial use and development, such as creative industries, is necessitated.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Adaptive Reuse: Refers to implementing new functions through renovation and restoration by creating necessary conditions for performing new activities.

Post-Socialist Development: Transformation, economically and socially, as well as spatially, in shaping the new character in the cities with legacy of the socialist development.

Re-Utilize Industry: Once abandoned, misused, underused or unused industrial facility to turn into new use or different practical use.

Urban Boundaries: The boundary between the end of the city and the beginning of nature or urban/rural fringe, a border land in which interactivity and urban-rural synergy is applicable.

Sensible City: The concept of smart city which integrates the ICT (information and communication technologies) together with the human, social and relational capital for enhancement of the environmental quality.

New Economies: Activities based on knowledge, information and high-technologies rather than traditional manufacturing economy.

Rehabilitation: The action of restoring structures and facilities, which has been damaged, abandoned or unused, to its active useful condition.

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