Izdavač: Urban Studies, 42
Mesto izdanja: n/a
Godina izdanja: 2005
Materijal: članak


This paper discusses the phenomenon of ‘informal actors’ influencing the agenda of urban planning and urban politics by means of temporary reappropriation and animation of ‘indeterminate’ spaces. The latter are spaces left out of ‘time and place’ with regard to their urban surroundings, mainly as a consequence of rampant deindustrialisation processes and the ‘shrinking’ city. The unclear and undetermined status of these urban ‘no-man’s-lands’ may allow for the emergence of a non-planned, spontaneous ‘urbanity’. This intervention may be based on different motives: marginal lifestyles, informal economies, artistic experimentation, a deliberately open transformation of public space allowing for equal access and equal representation or a high degree of social and cultural inclusion. These expressions of the ‘lived’ city at present constitute a pronounced paradox for established city planning and urban politics. Institutionalised stakeholders may occasionally appreciate their presence for their inherent potential to enhance attractiveness of and revitalisation of certain parts of the city. On the other hand, these sites and the actors involved also spatialise and visualise a resistance and temporary alternative to the institutionalised domain and the dominant principles of urban development. Urban restructuring in the post-Fordist city, foremost in the development of inner-city areas, is increasingly focused on a unidimensional logic of commodification, monofunctionality and control. Thus, the complex qualities of animated ‘indeterminate’ spaces are difficult to incorporate into planning procedures. They often become threatened in their existence and pushed to the margins. Nevertheless, the urban conflict around these sites and the appearance of ‘non-planned’ planners on the urban scene, may decisively alter the urban agenda and set the themes for further development, which takes their positive economic and social function and their key role in sustaining and renewing urban cultures into account. The paper discusses this phenomenon, illustrated with an account of three case studies in the cities of Helsinki, Berlin and Brussels. The comparative dimension allows for a subsequent discussion focusing on elaborating the conditions of ‘success’ for informal actors in urban development processes. The predominant question then is how these new forms of urbanism can be given a place in city planning in order to pay more justice to the social and cultural complexity that constitutes contemporary urbanity.