CBE Research Portal

May 15, 2019

Guerrilla Urbanism: Urban Design and the Practices of Resistance

Completed in 2020.

Against the ever-expanding institutional codes and regulations, temporary and unsanctioned uses of urban spaces have long been a distinct feature of cities and cityscapes from Global South to North. In recent years, under the banners of DIY urbanism, Tactical Urbanism, Pop-up and so on, improvised uses of urban spaces have become a language of urban design interventions. The growing acceptance of DIY and Tactical Urbanism, on one hand, create openings in the rigid, formalized planning systems for greater flexibility and expedient change. On the other hand, the professionalization and institutionalization of previously informal and even subversive acts has resulted in criticisms and concerns regarding co-optation and de-politicization, particularly in the context of the prevailing neoliberal governance. How can guerrilla urban tactics continue to serve as a vehicle for social and political transformation? What are the conditions and barriers that impel individuals and communities to undertake these guerrilla acts? How can small-scale, temporary actions lead to potential structural change? How can actions of resistance result in institutional and political change without becoming subsumed by it? What are the implications guerrilla urban tactics for a social practice of urban design? This special issue of Urban Design International invites leading and emerging scholars to explore these questions and offer their insights through either in-depth case studies or evidence-based observations.