Contemporary cities are human environments: made by humans, for humans, as expressions of biological human bodies and of social human bodies. Sometimes both at once.
The city is the concrete form of the patterns and structures of a culture. The means to achieve this construction is the layering of articles originally made for other purposes. This is called creativity. The possibilities are nearly endless, stretching from junk punk …
… to punk junk.
Below is an extended example from Weimar, Germany: an ultra-modernist public square built cheaply in an old bomb crater (hey, it’s near the train station and the headquarters of the Nazi Gau Headquarters, a nasty place) during the communist period, complete with a biological garden installed at reunification with West Germany and graffiti from the anarchist resistance to that reunification. It is being let go to weeds, because the square is being repurposed. That is as much architectural work as it is a form of social engineering to control opposition to the new capitalist state. If the social engineers get it right, people will flow seamlessly through the square, as the East German architects had also hoped they would with this proud nod to the Bauhaus (just down the street), where modern architecture was invented.
If the plan fails, it’ll look like any old alley in any old city in British Columbia, where restaurant workers go to smoke, because all other space is denied to them. Here in Vernon, that means right beside a flammable liquified natural gas line. It is not safe.
There is power within architecture. How that power flows, and how people fight against its oppressive effects (when fighting against the actual social mores of the society would be far more difficult) is the foundational form of creativity within the Steam Punk City. This energy is present in all layers of society, not just in a dispossessed class. The image below shows a repurposed square in Kelowna, in an area once reserved for all citizens but now being remade for the wealthy. Note that the caution sign faces the wealthy enclave, not the former city. It is to be read from within, on the way out.
Such work is, truthfully, the replacement of humans with virtual humans to such an extent that biological humans are actively discouraged by tangles of razor sharp will.
Some people are fighting it, such as here on a back wall of the old Gau Headquarters in Weimar.
That they’re doing it with more proto-humans is pure Steam Punk!