Center for Metropolitan Studies

Temporary and Tactical Urbanism as 21st Century Planning Trends

For the past two decades, the concepts of temporary and tactical urbanism have become increasingly popular in the field of Urban Planning in Europe. City managers, architects and land developers alike have successfully used short-term and interim uses of space as tools to renew derelict sites, bypass State bureaucracy, and increase popular participation in the decision-making processes of cities. Several publications perceive Berlin as a pioneer of this approach, especially in regards to temporary spaces with a cultural or artistic character. They consider improvised cultural centers, seasonal beach bars and pop-up markets as some of the German capital’s best-practice examples, encouraging their replication in other cities.

However, what these recent works often fail to take into consideration is the fact that temporary cultural spaces can also lead to negative consequences. When incorporated into broader urban branding and placemaking schemes, they contribute to real estate speculation, gentrification, and even spatial segregation. Berlin’s overwhelming raise in rent prices and the eviction of historic squats in the 2010s are evidences of the social setbacks of such trend. In fact, they lead to the question of how the recent spread of temporary urbanism as an international trend could affect cities of the Global South, which already face severe inequality problems.

The present research aims to investigate and understand the effects and risks of using temporary spaces as tools within the urban policies of uneven cities. It proposes a unique and original comparative study between Berlin and Rio de Janeiro, representatives of its two funding agencies: the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation (Germany) and CAPES-Brazilian Ministry of Education (Brazil). By using data collection and the conduction of selected empirical cases through ethnography in both cities, it will be possible to assess the particularities of collaborative and temporary planning in varying contexts and to propose mitigating solutions to known problems and to those that emerge from this study. The interdisciplinary character of this research will also enable the creation of new parameters, which can help in the evaluation and reformulation of cultural and urban policies in both countries.



Dr. Claudia Seldin