The Habit of Hard Work

Technicolour buildings bask in the warm orange glow of a dying day catching and exposing the smoke and smog of the Arab district. The smoke sits still in the air barely disturbed by the call to prayer which radiates from Sunan Ampel down into the small stalls and shops which adorn the fringes of bustling streets and alleys, each living in a perpetual cloud of tobacco. The culture of smoking within Indonesian society has permeated every facet of life for Surabaya’s 3 million citizens, from the home to the workplace smoking exists unchallenged with statistics suggesting “33% of the population (67.4% of men and 4.5% of women) as smokers”(2). One of the major trends I observed in these small clusters of consumption was the men occupying their stores consistently smoked cigarettes while conducting business as seen in figures 1 and 2. I interpreted this behaviour as an extension of the masculine perception smoking provides Indonesian men with studies reiterating “the use of tobacco as a masculinity signifier”(1). This notion enforced by the significant contrast between both statistical tobacco use as well as the tobacco use I observed.

Following this encounter, I continued through the main shopping arcade and upon returning to the streets I meet a group of men huddled around their Becaks smoking together while waiting for customers as seen in figures 3 and 4. This notion of smoking within work compounded within a social context perpetuated the masculine perception of smoking within Indonesia as cited by cigarettes being “used to create social bonds among peers, to maintain the group’s identity and to avoid exclusion by their peers”(1). The representation of smoking across Indonesian society as a social activity was highlighted as significantly more evident within the transport workers. An opinion held by the various researchers asserted that “motorcycle and taxi drivers, in particular, will fill the time waiting for customers by smoking and their cigarette consumption tends to be particularly high (85%).”(1). The cigarette in the context of transport providers connotes both a sense of comradery and an escape from the trials of their occupation.

Upon further investigation of the understanding of the cost of smoking both financially and physiologically was a notion poorly understood by those who participate in these occupations. This notion is supported by a study conducted specifically in regards to transport workers with the consensus reached being “those informal workers should be educated on the relevance of cigarette warning labels and how it can help them to live a healthy driving life.”(1). The economic impact of smoking particularly in regards to labour occupations such as transport with the onset of related diseases and breathing difficulties hampering the ability for transport workers to operate.

Map exercise

Reference List

  1. smoking behaviour and attitude towards cigarette warning labels among informal workers in Surabaya City – East Java, Indonesia. Kiranal, R. Dewi, V. Berkinah, T. Isnaniah, viewed 6th of December 2018
  2. World Health Organization [WHO], Tobacco Control in Indonesia, WHO, Geneva, viewed 4th of December 2018, <http://www.who.int/tobacco/about/partners/bloomberg/idn/en/>.

Post B: Maggie’s

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The garden at the Gartnavel Maggie Centre designed by Rem Koolhaas at OMA  

The possibilities for change and innovation when it comes to design are limitless and inspirational examples of the scope and power of design are everywhere. One such initiative is the Cancer Care Charity Maggie’s. created by Architectural writer and theorist Charles Jencks and his wife Maggie Jencks, there is now 19 Maggie centres assisting people across the world and online. Maggie’s centres combine breathtaking architecture with professional therapy to facilitate holistic healing and support families affected by Cancer.

In May 1993, Maggie Keswick Jencks was diagnosed with breast cancer and informed that she had only two to three months to live. Receiving this shattering news, and the stream of subsequent treatments in the sterile, neon-lit, and ultimately dehumanising environment of her general hospital, Maggie resolved to create a space where cancer patients would not have to “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying.”

Based on this simple concept, Maggie Centre’s are a carefully designed environment that features elements of  light, space, openness, and connectedness to nature in order to allow cancer patients to heal not only their bodies, but their spirit. Generally the key elements of healthcare buildings today are determined by practical restraints such as budgets and deadlines – Dutch academic Cor Magenaar blames the separation of Architecture and healing on Modernism and points to examples of ancient temples where healing of the spirit was equally important to that of the body.

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Zaha Hadid’s Fife Maggie Centre

Distinguished architects who have designed Maggie’s Centres include Richard Rogers, Frank Gehry, Zaha Hadid, and Rem Koolhaas. Though it may not be entirely necessary for such famous architects to work on the buildings, it does heighten the charity’s profile, resulting in generous donations that allow them to create such incredible spaces to be enjoyed for free. The Maggie’s centres vary significantly in their size and form. However, they are all modest in size to create an intimate and human environment and they each consist of spaces for gathering, meditation, therapy, consultation, and reading.

Karl Johnson explains, ‘Architects play a critical role in shaping the qualities of our environment; they work in collaboration with end users and their needs and ambitions, and they have the power to restore and promote solidarity, mental and physical health and be a source of happiness” (Karl Johnson 2013). Maggie’s Centres exemplify this and are a unique initiative where design is used to inspire and rejuvenate people as they undergo and recover from cancer treatments.

Rose, S. 2010, ‘Maggie’s Centres: Can architecture cure cancer,’ The Guardian, viewed 16 February 2017 < https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/may/06/maggies-centres-cancer-architecture&gt;

Johnson, K. 2013, ‘Place and public health: the impact of architecture on well being,’ The Guardian, viewed 16 February 2017, <https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2010/may/06/maggies-centres-cancer-architecture&gt;

Merrick, J. 2014. ‘Raising the level of Care, Maggie’s Oxford by Wilkinson Eyre,’ The Architects’ Journal, 05 October 2016, Pp. 20-25.

Foster, N. 2016, ‘Designing Maggie’s Manchester,’ Maggie’s, viewed February 2017, < https://www.maggiescentres.org/about-maggies/news-and-publications/latest-news/designing-maggies-manchester/&gt;

2003. ‘Made for Maggie,’ Building Design, 3 October 2003, Pp. 16-32.