Learning from the informal and temporary use of public space From bottom-up tactics to adaptive strategies of medium-term projects

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Matteo Clemente


The paper deals with the theme of the temporary uses of public space related to bottom-up actions, with the aim of obtaining adaptive and resilient strategies for planning and designing the contemporary city which is currently characterized by uncertainty and scarcity of resources.
A literature review of tactical urbanism will help investigating the contingent requests behind these actions, with the aim of understanding whether the proposed models are enough effective to provide an answer to the citizens’ needs or if we can, at least, derive useful information from these self-organized models in terms of use of public spaces and socio-spatial relationships in the contemporary city.
On the other side, the paper reflects on the risk of a possible ideological drift towards a model of “city on demand", related to episodic urban transformations not supported by a wider vision.
The paper prospects a complementarity of top-down strategies, planned from above, and bottom-up tactics, identifying a possible synergy in the intermediate scale of urban regeneration projects.
Overcoming the idea of a "populist" urbanism, which sees the uselessness of the urban planner, we try to define a new role of the urban designer as a strategist, who has the ability to prefigure scenarios as well as to configure inclusive spaces for people.


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ClementeM. (2021). Learning from the informal and temporary use of public space. UPLanD - Journal of Urban Planning, Landscape & Environmental Design, 6(1), 5-12. https://doi.org/10.6093/2531-9906/8806


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