The Permanence of Temporary Urbanism
The Permanence of Temporary Urbanism
Normalising Precarity in Austerity London
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Table of Contents
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Chapter 1. Temporary urbanism: a situated approach
Reclaiming spaces and the role of temporariness
The trope of temporariness as 'alterity'
For a situated approach to temporary urbanism
'Post-crisis' London
The book's questions
Chapter 2. The entangled field of temporary urbanism
The emergence of a discourse
Countering recessional perceptions
'Creative' fillers
Art showcasing to the world: pop-up in the shadow of the 2012 Games
The rise of the pop-up intermediary
Meanwhilers: a clever rebranding
The Meanwhile London Competition
Enrolling urban professionals in the shift to austerity
The unresolved question of unlawful occupations
Conclusion: the primacy of property
Chapter 3. 'Not a pop-up!'
The experience of performers and visual artists
A well-established history
'Provided you can beg, steal or borrow a space'
Group+Work and 1990s myths in public commissioning
Pop-ups in Westminster
ArtEvict in 'forgotten spaces'
Settling down in Hackney Wick Fish Island?
Pop-up spaces as festivals and digital arts incubators
Conclusions: in the cracks of the creative city promise
Chapter 4. Staging temporary spaces
Experiential economies and the performativity of urban activation
The Elephant as a site for 'community engagement'
Studio at the Elephant
A strategy of open programming
Visibility for recognition
Mediating face-to-face interactions
Empowerment for surrender?
Conclusions: the openness of agonistic encounters
Chapter 5. Planning a temporary city of on-demand communities
Temporariness in planning at times of austerity
'Stitching the fringes' before and after the Olympics
Learning from Others: interim uses as urban 'testing sites'
Vacant land and setting up a temporary community hub
Young people and the 'two communities'
Risky grassroots
Temporary 'urban vitality' in the LLDC Local Plan (2015-2031)
'Seeding' long-term uses
Learning to become 'on-demand communities'
Conclusions: the risk of planned precarization
Chapter 6. The normalisation of temporariness
Underused spaces as a 'problem'
The projective logic
Ephemeral architectures
Permanent 'times of uncertainty'
Tactical or precarious acting?
Precarity as temporal foreclosure
Conclusion: reclaiming urban space-time after the pop up

Reviews and Features

'This is an excellent book. The author combines an analysis of the complex narratives and policy rhetoric surrounding the temporary uses of urban space, with an in-depth ethnographic observation of practices of temporary use and their perceptions by various stakeholders. She embeds the London field work in contemporary debates and recent scholarship from urban and cultural geography, urban studies, architectural and planning studies, in a perceptive and refined manner, leading to powerful conclusions about the ambiguous role of temporary uses of space in a post-austerity, neoliberal city where precarious forms of living and working have become dominant.'
-Professor Claire Colomb, The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London

Mara Ferreri

The Permanence of Temporary Urbanism

Normalising Precarity in Austerity London

Temporary urbanism has become a distinctive feature of urban life after the 2008 global financial crisis. This book offers a critical exploration of its emergence and establishment as a seductive discourse and as an entangled field of practice encompassing architecture, visual and performative arts, urban regeneration policies and planning. Drawing on seven years of semi-ethnographic research, it explores the politics of temporariness from a situated analysis of neighbourhood transformation, media representations and wider political and cultural shifts in austerity London. Through a longitudinal engagement with projects and practitioners, the book tests the power of aesthetic and cultural interventions and highlights tensions between the promise of vacant space re-appropriation and its commodification. Against the normalisation of ephemerality, it presents a critique of the permanence of temporary urbanism as a glamorisation of the anticipatory politics of precarity which are transforming cities, subjectivities and imaginaries of urban action.

Mara Ferreri

Mara Ferreri is an urban and cultural geographer. She is VC Research Fellow in the Department of Geography and Environmental Sciences at Northumbria University, UK, and is the co-author of Notes from the Temporary City (Public Works, 2016).