(RESEARCH) Past, Memory and Everyday Life in Post-Atrocity Public Spaces
Project Location: Kigali, Rwanda + Sarajevo, Bosnia / 2021-2022 (ongoing)
Graduate School Independent Study Project
Made possible by George Nelson Travel Scholarship
2022, in a world with so many ongoing conflicts, we may soon have to enter a new round of discussion about post-war recovery.
The restoration of a destructed urban landscape plays an important role in the psychological and economic recovery in a post-trauma society, but on the other hand, it can also serve as a tool for state-sponsored narratives and even the manipulation or alteration of history. Are we, architects and planners, the future builders of post-atrocity cities, ready to engage with
these difficult socio-political issues?
To engage, we have to first understand and communicate. From August to December 2021, I traveled to Bosnia and Rwanda with the support of the George Nelson Scholarship. My goal was to study the aftermath of recent atrocities (1994 Rwandan Genocide, 1992-1995 Bosnian War and the contested Genocide) and the two countries’ urban reconstruction and recovery in the past two decades. After talking with local people from all backgrounds - survivors, architects, politicians, activists and genocide deniers - I found myself struck by the question: how do I talk about something so massive, emotional and contested?