Free Soil
Art + Activism
DIY / Homebrew
Film / Video
Open Source
Public Projects
Social Practice
Symposium / Conference
Virtual Soil




14 Oct 2010
The Urban Reinventors Online Urban Journal is conceived as a collection of writings, commentaries, reportages, photographic galleries, films and videos on urban topics. Each thematic issue is meant to lead the reader into a fascinating journey around the bright and dark sides of our contemporary urban condition.

Articles / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
13 Sep 2010
The Nederlands, Utrecht
Future Park is a two-part project involving a series of events that explore the instrumentality of urban parks in relation to social policy and the shifting economic, political and cultural structure to imagine a post-capitalist city. The first is a project titled ‘Teach Me to Disappear’ by Paul Elliman and Nicole Macdonald. At Casco projects.

Exhibitions / Sustainability / Urban/City
05 Sep 2010
Art Trail across Hamburg
"Aussicht auf Veränderungen / Looking for Changes" is an art trail across Hamburg that follows Line 3 of the suburban railway, connecting the north of the city to the south. It invites both residents and visitors to Hamburg to embark on extended journeys into unknown suburbs and foreign neighbourhoods.
9 September – 3 October 2010

Events / Urban/City
16 Apr 2010
A great little video about the growing popularity of the solar powered Wheelie Bin (council garbage bins) Sound System and their uses on the street!

DIY / Homebrew / Urban/City
30 Mar 2010
At various sites in Bjørvika, Oslo
The development of waterfronts is a current trend in post-industrial cities where industrial harbor areas are being transformed into new urban spaces that emphasize mercantile, residential and recreational requirements. Common Lands - Allmannaretten is a one-year ongoing investigation into the context of the waterfront development of Bjørvika, the former harbor area of Oslo.With projects by Bik Van der Pol, Dellbrügge & de Moll, Geir Tore Holm and Søssa Jørgensen

Architecture / Art + Activism / Urban/City
10 Feb 2010
ClubHouse at the Performance Space
Sydney, Australia
A series of informal roundtable discussions focusing on our shared natural and urban landscapes.

“DIY Urbanism” will focus on creative solutions for our cities by initiating collaborations between architects, designers, artists and thinkers. Feb 18th.

“Wildlife in the City” will examine the collision between humans and nature in the modern environment. March 4th.

The findings may be speculative or reactionary, based on scientific fact or part of the combined imagination.

Architecture / Events / Public Projects / Urban/City
15 Sep 2009
MIT Visual Arts Program Lecture Series Fall 2009
Brings together speakers from art and (counter) culture, architecture, urbanism, and media technology to discuss such questions as: In what way is the city not a fixed entity, but a process? How do artists and cultural activists reclaim the street, activating the city as backdrop and insisting on public space? What makes a city a city? Who owns the city? How can media technology be designed to intervene in and navigate the city?

Architecture / Events / Social Practice / Urban/City

02 Sep 2009
Heavy Metal
Germany, And Other Central European Countries
My new feature about the transformation of former industrial landscapes on the German - Polish border. Read it in our features section here.

Articles / Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City

01 Sep 2009
Transforming Industrial Landscapes in Lusatia
The landscape of East Germany is scarred from the change in ideologies following the end of the Cold War.

In the aftermath of the lignite (brown coal) mining, a symbol of GDR Industrial pride and a behemoth of its economic power, vast tracts of barren land and deep gorges have been left. East from Berlin, edging up to the border of Poland, the landscape has endured decades of abuse and upheaval. However this is all changing.

Under the direction of the IBA Fürst-Pükler-Land, SEE is a ten year project and the largest landscape design and earthmoving site in Europe. There are 25 projects currently being undertaken in the Lusatia area, each one addressing environmental renewal, landscape architecture and industrial heritage. To be completed by 2010, it is the first IBA (International Building Exhibition) to focus solely on the landscape instead of built projects.

I visited the area to see this transformation first hand. While I did not visit all the 25 sites, the area is certainly one of paradoxes and an inspiration for the revitalization and creative activation of former industrial areas. It has even more relevance as the history revolves around the cycle that is mining coal for energy, and then creating energy to mine the coal.


In the 1800’s, Fürst Pükler had grand and eccentric visions of transforming this same countryside into a garden. After his extensive travels, the passionate prince brought the English tradition of landscape gardening back to his castle in the area that is now the German-Polish border. It was his life’s work to make nature and art as one and was finally laid to rest in a green pyramid at Branitz. Continuing the Pückler legacy is the IBA director and Director of the Bauhaus Foundation , Prof Dr Ralph Kuhn.

The Lakes

One key rehabilitative idea is to transform the huge holes left by the open-cast coal mining into manmade lake-lands, attracting tourists and leisure seeking urbanites to a future aquatic paradise offering floating architecture, water sports and nature reserves. The lakes will all have their own identity.

My first stop is the Ferdinand Heide designed IBA Terraces on the shore of the new Ilse Lake. This is to be the first completed manmade lake as part of the SEE project, an open cast mine that is slowly filling with water from the underground streams. The sun chooses to radiate this vast place for me, and it takes on another image. Here this once barren landscape is alive and in flux, as it was before. It’s a strange kind of time travel. Green shoots sprout after the rain, and the blue sky is reflected in the waters.

There is still one abandoned house on the edge of the lost village, a silent witness to its life, death and life again. A chilling reminder of the full impact of mining in the area are the memorial rocks in front of the lakes bearing the names of the villages, and the year of their evacuation, that had to be cleared for the mines.

We walk up to the “viktoriahohe”, a lookout point shaped like a boat, and witness the sun shining on the spectacular view of this surreal and ever changing landscape. It is strange juxtaposition, having tourist lookouts over the flooded mines.

Industrial Heritage as tourist attraction

An idea held strongly by Dr Prof Kuhn is to remember the area’s industrial heritage by retaining some of the structures, and not to demolish and forget them like so many other GDR buildings. And like alchemy, transforming these heavy metals into another force, one of culture and spectacle.

The F60 is one such monument to the past. Referred to locally as the horizontal Eiffel Tower (it does look remarkably like the Parisian landmark lying on its side) this overburden conveyer bridge is 502 meters long. It is the largest machine ever created and only one of five ever to be built. Now it stands as a monument to the past. Silent. Except for the audiovisual spectaculars that happen every weekend, one of the cultural projects developed for the site. And the birds that nest in its corners.

In the old Builders workhouse I watch an education film about the history of the F60, and see how these huge beasts operated. There is a small museum with coal memorabilia like bricks with GDR emblems. We have a coffee and a soljanka soup at the café terrace overlooking the steel giant. Couples can even hire an elevated platform hundreds of feet high for a special dining experience.

Lauchhammer Bio Towers

The Lauchhammer Bio towers are another kind of monument, this time the only remnants left from a huge 120 hectre cokery that once filled the town of Lauchhammer. Not ruins, but reminders. Througout Lauchhammer there are old, factory buildings with broken glass and lonely bus stops with names like "Wasserwerk" and "Haal 3", reminders that the town once relied on this coal washery, powerplant and brickette factory to survive. We look at a black and white photograph of the site in 1958 and I am shocked by its huge scale. In 1991 it began to be dismantled. 5000 people lost their jobs.

All that is left of the cokery now are the bio towers and a tree that also miraculously once stood here. Landscape architects Zimmermann and Partner have transformed the area with a green and asphalt park, replacing the dirt and smog with landscape design. A vertigo inducing glass cube hangs off one tower, where one can now look over the site from above and see another design tool, the white crosses that mark the spots where other towers once stood. The paving is made from schlackerstein, the waste products of Lauchhammer. The towers were only saved after much controversy. For a while they were lit up at night until the locals were convinced of their value as a monument to their local history. In the end it was the work of the Kunstgassemuseum Lauchhammer that saved them. Plans for the future are still unclear.
Former worker Dr Konrad Wilhelm joins us on our tour and as he looks out over the area, the sadness he still feels is clear. He tells me how he was born on this area, played there, partied at the rocket bar and the cinema; how he left, came back, employed workers and then had to fire them all. He tells me he turned out the light at the end of it.

Art and Creativity

Creative initiatives are paramount to the SEE project and play a role in many of the 25 projects. They revitalize the area, create interest and engage the community.Internationally renowned landscape artists and architects have also been invited to participate. Nowhere is this so prevalent as Pritzen - a peninsula that forks out into the new lake of Grabendorf.

In the nineties Pritzen had two Art Biennales (1993 and 1995), so it already has some resonance on the German cultural map. These Biennales consisted of site specific land art and landscape design, and addressed the changes. Ben Wagin created his own monument to the destroyed village of Gräbendorf and planted a tree for every demolished house. Like all land art, some pieces have remained, while others have been grown over or swept away by the battering winds. It feels like a treasure hunt trying to find them all now. The Stonehenge like structure on the top of the hill is clearly an art object , while the abandoned caravan in the field - it’s not really clear.

But there are new plans too. Swiss artist Jurg Mantala has been chosen as community arts worker. Together with the locals they will create art works under the name of Paradise 2. Other community projects involved the people of the destroyed villages creating an opera together. Artist Charles Jenkes together with Italian Andreas Kipar have been invited to create a new piece and will create a giant hand, embracing the lake and island. After walking along the windy shores, we took a warm coffee and LPG cake “ every trade cake” at the local café. The town of Pritzen has a sense of hope.

Weltzow – World at the open cast mine

While there are 24 projects to resuscitate the mines, one project, just as spectacular, does not do that. It is the one remaining active coal mine in the Lusatia – Weltzow.
After seeing this, I am aware of the sheer scale and effect of open coal mining, and why the other 24 projects are so necessary in creating an alternative future for the area.
As we near the Weltzow, the road becomes rough and dug up, trees are being felled to make way for large machines. It is like a giant hole creeping towards the neighboring towns, about to eat them up and swallow them into the mine. When we arrive at the mine, Energy company Vatenfall has even provided look out spots to bear witness. As far as the eye can see, up to the horizon, there is a dead desert. No sign of life. Miles of nothing. Just the sounds of strip mining, the monstrously big machine and the F60 overburden conveyer belt, slowly passing and sorting the soil, exposing the black coalface below. Huge endless plains of desert, the largest machines in the world repetitively sorting the soot from the sands of the coal face. It is like a huge rake or a huge insect. Here the F60 is no ruin or monument, it is alive and active and is slowly rumbling its way to devour ghost towns. 80 towns have gone or were relocated due to the mines. And more will go. On our way back we pass through the inhabited town of Proshun, who have to wait until next year to find out their fate. Heidemuhe was not so lucky. We drive through its deathly quiet overgrown streets, cracked windows with flowers growing through the mouldy wallpaper – all abandoned – to make way for the mine. There are open doors and stairways to nowhere, an old glass factory that is no longer needed.

Some ideas work and others do not in this changing and historically forgotten landscape. This area is one of opposites, of destruction and transformation. It is not unique, but the incentive and infrastructure put in place to deal with the changes may well be.
As I leave, I think again that it’s a bit like alchemy - transforming heavy metals into another force.

Thank you to Janine Mahler and IBA SEE for hosting me and showing me around the area.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
05 May 2009
Den Haag
In 2009 Stroom Den Haag begins the program Foodprint: Food for the city. The program takes place over the course of two years and focuses on the influence food can have on the culture, shape and functioning of the city, using The Hague as a case study. With a series of activities Stroom aims to increase people's awareness of the value of food and to give new life to the way we view the relationship between food and the city. The program invites artists and designers to develop appealing proposals on the subject, while at the same time establishing a clear connection with entrepreneurs, farmers, food experts and the general public.

Food / Sustainability / Urban/City
03 Apr 2009
A group of six Landscape Architect students from the Swedish University of Agriculture in Wanå are making small geometrical cultivation plots with an area of 120x120 cm, the original allotment square size, that will organically spread out. The plots will be filled with different kinds of edible plants. Our hope is that these plots, with your help, eventually also will spread in the rest of the world.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
02 Apr 2009
Alternative + Sustainable Cities of the Future
Cambridge, MA
April 3-5, 2009
Harvard University
The conference will bring together design practitioners and theorists, economists, engineers, environmental scientists, politicians and public health specialists, with the goal of reaching a more robust understanding of ecological urbanism and what it might be in the future.

Architecture / Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
01 Apr 2009
The Building Centre
London, UK
April 9- May 30, 2009
In 2007 Lord Cameron of Dillington, first head of the Countryside Agency, famously remarked Britain was ‘nine meals away from anarchy.’ Our food supply is almost totally dependent on oil (95% of the food we eat is oil-dependent) and if the oil supply to Britain were suddenly cut off Lord Cameron estimated it would take just three full days before law and order broke down. We rely on a particularly vulnerable system. Britain needs to seriously invest in agriculture infrastructure if we are to avoid food crisis.

This exhibition looks at different ways to incorporate agriculture into urban landscapes.

Exhibitions / Sustainability / Urban/City
20 Feb 2009
U.S. Baltimore
March 27-29, 2009

A group of activists and organizers, including Red Emma's, the Indypendent Reader, The Baltimore Development Cooperative, campbaltimore, and the Campaign for a Better Baltimore are calling for a conference called The City From Below, to take place in Baltimore at 2640, a grassroots community center and events venue.

"The city has emerged in recent years as an indispensable concept for many of the struggles for social justice we are all engaged in - it's a place where theory meets practice, where the neighborhood organizes against global capitalism, where unequal divisions based on race and class can be mapped out block by block and contested, where the micropolitics of gender and sexual orientation are subject to metropolitan rearticulation, where every corner is a potential site of resistance and every vacant lot a commons to be reclaimed, and, most importantly, a place where all our diverse struggles and strategies have a chance of coming together into something greater. In cities everywhere, new social movements are coming into being, hidden histories and herstories are being uncovered, and unanticipated futures are being imagined and built - but so much of this knowledge remains, so to speak, at street-level. We need a space to gather and share our stories, our ideas and analysis, a space to come together and rethink the city from below."

Art + Activism / Events / Social Practice / Urban/City
20 Jan 2009
Liberating Foreclosed Housing for People
Miami, Florida
Take Back the Land has been liberating public and foreclosed land and homes since 2006-- occupying foreclosed homes and moving people into these places!!

"It is immoral to maintain vacant homes for the purpose of profits in the future, while human beings are forced to live on the street today. The madness of such a policy is only compounded when one considers the owners of these vacant homes are not other people, but banks, the same banks receiving billions of dollars in bailouts without having to trade in the foreclosed homes for use by some of the people financing the bailouts. Additional government resources, including police and other government agencies, should not be used to evict low income people from homes in order to maintain vacant structures for bailed out banks to profit from some time in the future."

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Urban/City
19 Dec 2008
US, New York
We have just occupied New School University.

We liberate this space for ourselves, and all those who want to join us, for our general autonomous use. We take the university in explicit solidarity with those occupying the universities and streets in Greece, Italy, France and Spain.

This occupation begins as a response to specific conditions at the New School, the corporatization of the university and the impoverishment of education in general. However, it is not just this university but also New York City that is in crisis: in the next several months, thousands of us will be losing our jobs, while housing remains unaffordable and unavailable to many and the cost of living skyrockets.

Education / Free / Urban/City
20 Nov 2008
The Present and Future of Park Planning and Design
San Francisco
9 December 2008 - 11 December 2008

Forward-thinking designers, planners, park and resource managers, scholars, preservationists, conservationists, social scientists, and students will come together to analyze current conditions and present critical issues that must be addressed in public park design in order to maintain their relevancy and sustainability into the 21st century.

Events / Symposium / Conference / Urban/City
11 Nov 2008
U.S. Boston
The MIT Visual Arts Program hosts a cross-disciplinary lecture series that includes speakers from art, architecture, urbanism and technology from around the world. These speakers will start a discourse to imagine tomorrow's urban living conditions.

Events / Urban/City
14 Oct 2008
Portland, Oregon
A Portland based database of wild food sources.

Sustainability / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
29 Sep 2008
Brussels, Belgium
PARK 58 is an initiative that aims at a creative reinvention and participative re-appropriation of the city of Brussels, starting from the imaginary mental transformation of a very special place – relatively unknown – in the heart of the city: Parking 58.

This parking lot, built on the occasion of the World Exhibition in ’58, directly tells a lot about the history of Brussels, in its past and present realities. Its highest level offers a stunning and unmatched 360° panoramic view on the city. This specific building, which stands for 50 years of “Bruxellisation” and drastic changes to the cityscape and urban tissue, involving the spectacular rise of King Car, symbolizes many long-abandoned options in the development of urban structures and mobility. Designed for the use of the clients of the Carrefour supermarket at the floor level, its vast rooftop remains largely unoccupied.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
18 Sep 2008
Copenhagen, Denmark
Copenhagen based pracitioners, Pulsk Ravn and Johan Carlsson
develop new ways of looking at design, architecture and art. They work across these disciplines both as a group and in collaboration with others; this is in order to be able to keep an open-minded professional and innovative standard.

RACA'S studio has created an atmosphere for the unfolding of ideas. The space is used as a live lab where prototypes and thoughts can be developed thereby giving us the possibility of trying out new ideas in direct relation to the user.

Architecture / Artists / Urban/City
16 Sep 2008
3 day conference; 18-20 September 2008
Copenhagen, Denmark
Politics of Designing broaches the issue of a possible political practice, and translates it into the field of design and architecture. Speakers and titles include: "Jakob Jakobsen: Gentrification & Revolt in Copenhagen", "Jens Haaning: Design and Fascism in Denmark today – from Bodum to Arne Jacobsen"
Speakers also include Pelin Tan, Lars Bang Larsen and others. Held at (but not organized by) Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture.

Architecture / Events / Urban/City
28 Aug 2008
Aug. 30 + 31

Wander to the wild with artist Amy Franceschini and botanist Stefen Ericsson. Learn to identify the natural enviroment
surrounding your city. By examining a 10 x 10 meter sample of wild space in Umea, Sweden, workshoppers will discuss the relationships in this community of plants as it might relate to relationships in cities both spatially and socially.

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
18 Aug 2008
6-8 September 2008
Stockholm, Sweden
INFORMAL CITIES is an exhibition and symposium that will investigate urban growth. It will focus on the fastest expanding city structures in the world: areas with no city planning or communal infrastructure. In these informal cities, legal rights are denied and citizenship is uncertain. However, organisation, work and economy in informal dwellings are developed in a complex relation to the planned city. The formal city and its economy rely heavily on its informal shadow. Informal cities keep developing and have begun to connect with one another, globally.

Exhibitions / Urban/City
31 Jul 2008
São Paulo creates the "Clean City" law that bans billboards, ads on taxi's and buses and imposes strict limits on shopfront signs. It is no surprise that Clear Channel is claiming this "illegal".

29 Jul 2008
In 2008, Amsterdam hosts its first edition of the Biennale, from 18 September to 2 November, under the theme Space and Place – Design for the Urban Landscape.

ExperimentaDesign Amsterdam 2008 highlights urban culture as the playground for the global citizen. The world’s cities are not only home to over half of the world’s population, they are also a metaphor for today’s cultures and a testing ground for new forms of conviviality and interaction. Throughout its three core exhibitions, the Biennale turns the spotlight on innovative urban design as a process of social action, exchanges and experiment.

Events / Social Practice / Urban/City
26 Jun 2008
London, UK
1 July at 7pm

If the government is to be believed, we are undergoing a streak of freakily bad luck. First the credit crunch, then astronomical fuel price hikes and now a global food crisis. Could all these by any chance be connected?

Mute magazine will be hosting an open discussion with contributions from: Gareth Dale (author of recent critiques of 'green capitalism' including 'On the Menu or At the Table: Corporations and Climate Change'), James Heartfield (author of Green Capitalism: Manufacturing Scarcity in the Age of Abundance), Helena Paul (co-director of Econexus, and long term campaigner against GM and Agrofuels), Graham Burnett (vegan-punk permaculturist and founder of

The Church House
Fletcher St (off Cable St)
London E1

Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
19 Jun 2008
July 26-29
US, New York
Citysol is a four-day music and art festival that celebrates the vital connection between cultural innovation and the movement for environmental sustainability. The mission of Citysol is to provide a new venue for creative artistic collaborations, while engaging young New Yorkers in an advocacy campaign to bring about stronger policies in support of clean, renewable solar power in New York State.

Sustainability / Urban/City
12 Jun 2008
City As Lab
US, Chicago
The magazine AREA Chicago is out with a new issue all available online. Its a Local Reader on Experimental Policies on the Ground in Chicago. Co-edited by Aaron Sarver, Daniel Tucker and Micah Maidenberg.

Art + Activism / Magazines / Social Practice / Urban/City
05 Jun 2008
San Francisco
The Free Farm Stand is an all volunteer grass roots effort whose goal is offer a place where urban farmers and gardeners can share their harvest of vegetables, fruits, and flowers with others, especially those on low incomes and tight budgets. They make locally grown, organic food accessible to all as much as possible by encouraging neighbors to grow some of their own food and turn vacant lots into garden plots and turn gas stations into plantations. The Free Farm Stand offers free organic produce & free flowers free seedlings & starts free garden advice a place to drop off locally grown or gleaned organic food & flowers.

Free / Sustainability / Urban/City
22 May 2008
May 15 – June 1st, 2008

In anticipation of the next “official” Viva! Action Art event planned for 2009, six artist-run centres from the Montréal region are staging a “Mini” Viva!. Loosely organised around performative projects taking place this spring at La Centrale, Dare-Dare, articule, Skol, Praxis and Clark, this edition of Viva! derives its theme from a performance and workshop entitled Performance & Activism in Everyday Life presented by La Centrale, which aims to provide a space for the sharing of tactics and stories amongst peer artists. Viva!, in many respects, shares this collaborative spirit by providing a space for like-minded centres to share dissemination tactics for art practices that might not be as visible. Artists featured include Kerri Reid as well as the launch of Livraison #9, As if all were well with Stephen Wright et al. (Skol), Andrew Chartier (Praxis), Andrea Cavagnaro (Dare-Dare), The Black Market Type & Print Shop (curator: Joseph Del Pesco) and Michael Toppings (articule), Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Lori Blondeau & Adrian Stimson (La Centrale – curator: Joanne Bristol), an exhibition organised by Ayesha Hameed, Nahed Mansour, Tatiana Gomez and Leila Pourtavaf (La Centrale), and an open studio event with nearly 100 artists (Clark).

Art + Activism / Events / Social Practice / Urban/City
14 May 2008
re-use/office space
Belgium, Brussels
Rotor is a platform for the endorsement of industrial waste re-use. When waste is re-used it lives another life in a use that is identical or similar to the one for which the product or material was initially destinated. The processing requires only limited external energy supply.

Rotor built a new office space based on the principle of re-use.

For the construction they refer to the technique of an American organisation, The Reuse People , that salvages demolition yards and resells the released materials in second hand building materials shops.

Posted in conjunction with 'nowHere'.

Architecture / Sustainability / Urban/City
21 Apr 2008
Two days of demonstration, direct action, public information, street-party, squatting… in defence of free spaces and for an anti-capitalist popular culture. Through these two days, autonomous spaces and squats gained visibility as a european/global political movement.

Decentralized and autonomous actions of all kinds, depending on what people feel to be the most appropriate to their local context.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Events / Urban/City
18 Apr 2008
Festival of the Regions
In 2009 the Austrian Festival of Regions will be oriented toward the southern edge of the city of Linz, along the Traun River, with a focus on the satellite town of Auwiesen and the residential complexes of solarCity, an integrated solar village.

From Allende Square to Luna Square, beyond the inner urban orientation toward concentration, commercial use and entertainment, and at a certain safe distance from the cultural spectacles propagated on all sides, the Festival of Regions is interested in the factual or imagined state of normality in urban life and in seeking out its cultural expressions.

Posted in conjunction with 'nowHere'.

Calls / Public Projects / Social Practice / Urban/City
07 Apr 2008
The International Journal of Neighbourhood Renewal
"In most developed economies, the effective renewal of local neighbourhoods has become a key feature of the public policy strategies of city, regional, federal and national governments and agencies. However, examples from around the world indicate that many neighbourhood renewal strategies despite being well meant, have failed to deliver effective neighbourhood renewal because of a lack of understanding of the societal effects that have led to the long term decline of neighbourhoods.

This Journal aims to contribute to the development of high quality neighbourhood renewal strategies by publishing research and practice from around the world."

Articles / Magazines / Urban/City
04 Apr 2008
Critical Spacial Tour
US, San Diego
Los Angeles to Tijuana 2008 Mobile Conference
Saturday, May 3, 2008

A one day train, trolley ride that explores local and regional issues in Southern/Baja California region. Discussions on Track will focus on four topic areas: transportation, social issues, the natural and built environment impacting the region. Projects visited include: the LA River, Hobart Rail Yards, 710 Expansion, Great Park, San Gabriel River, Casa Familiar, Tijuana River and many others.

Art + Activism / Education / Urban/City
28 Mar 2008
City Mine(d) is a production house for urban interventions, committed to the development of new forms of urban citizenship, the re-appropriation of public space -roads, airwaves, stations, estates, parks, squares, virtual space- and the creation of cutting edge public artwork. The initially Belgian NGO now has agencies in Brussels, Barcelona and London.

For the first of may they organise MICRONOMICS with an open call for projects and open stage.


Calls / Urban/City
28 Feb 2008
Portland, Oregon
Sunroot Gardens is an agricultural operation centered in the City of Roses, Cascadia. They are mostly urban, farming 16 plots around the Southeast side of Portland, Oregon.

Their general farming practices:

No chemical pesticides, herbicides, fertilizers, sprays, etc.
No genetically engineered seeds
Heirloom vegetable varieties rather than hybrids
Low irrigation usage (and in some cases, none)
Bicycle-based; over 90% car-free
Cruelty-free soil amendments (i.e., no factory-farmed manure)

Sustainability / Urban/City
12 Feb 2008
Portland, Oregon
Plotting the City is an architectural design studio at the Department of Architecture, Portland State University. From January 2008 a group of sixteen architecture students are investigating the myths of the city of Portland, Oregon, USA. The studio explores the city not as a single definition or absolute, but as a multitude of tales embedded in the topography, built entities and unfolding human drama of everyday life. As if the city were a complex, layered script awaiting interpretation, animation and projection through continued acts of involvement and concern, the students tread streets, read signals, and tell tales about the settings and human situations they encounter. Students are engaged in a story-telling enterprise, translating experience into plot, mythologizing the city inspired by the content and detail of landscapes encountered through successive acts of walking.

Architecture / Education / Urban/City
11 Feb 2008
Copenhagen, Denmark
How Much did you Pay for this Land? is an analysis of land value, political conditions, conflicts, social expectations and hope in Ramallah and East Jerusalem by Oliver Clemens and Sabine Horlitz of An Arkhitektur currently on view at YNKB, Copenhagen.

Architecture / Urban/City
11 Feb 2008
US, New York
The Energy Harvesting Dérive combines new modes of pedestrian movement with alternative energy research goals. The project hacks the recently popular Heelys roller sneaker to transform it into a platform for generating electricity from human motion.

see also:
Kinetic Energy Project: Shoe Power

Sustainability / Urban/City
05 Feb 2008
An older work, but deserves to be archived and received. A wonderful idea and resource.

Since october 2005 mimoSa maps different brazilian and world cities by urban interventions that aim to interfere at the current brazilian mediascape and people's creative reinvention of media and technologies to reveal places, people and their tales.

Public Projects / Urban/City
20 Jan 2008
architectural + urban + ecological design
US, New York
Archinode is Mitchell Joachim (who together with writer/architect Michael Sorkin also formed Terreform.)If only all their designs, such as the Fab Tree Hab, were actually built. A modern day Archigram.

Architecture / Urban/City
19 Jan 2008
US, Los Angeles
Artists, Activists, and citizens reimagine the city asa a living environment, reclaiming its geography and resources; Fallen Fruit, L.A. Urban Rangers, Farmlab, Edible Estates.

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
16 Jan 2008
Portland, Oregon
City Repair was formed in Portland, Oregon in 1996 by citizen activists who wanted a more community-oriented and ecologically sustainable society. Born out of a successful grassroots neighborhood initiative that converted a residential street intersection into a neighborhood public square, City Repair began its work with the idea that localization (of culture, of economy, of decision-making) is a necessary foundation of sustainability. By reclaiming urban spaces to create community-oriented places, we plant the seeds for greater neighborhood communication, empower our communities and nurture our local culture.

Art + Activism / Organizations / Sustainability / Urban/City
28 Dec 2007
Copenhagen, Denmark
Urban Pilgrimages are poetic urban extracts. They dig their way into the grain of cities and find out what places and its people are really about. Participants get involved in individually tailored, dramatized performances about their city, based on an online survey, a blog and continuously growing internet archives.

Urban Pilgrimages can take on various forms, such as behavioral instructions or procession-like journeys with collective movement, gesture, sound, props, food, music and personal encounters. The personalities and communities within the given place with their stories and emotions become the artistic material. Individual experience becomes a public field, which generates a new cartography of a place - the essential toolkit for the 21st century voyager.

Art + Activism / Public Projects / Urban/City
11 Dec 2007
US, Chicago
In the midst of creating new syllabi and updating older ones, I have been revisiting the current work of many people. Daniel Tucker is a very profound and prolific artist and activist based in Chicago–Contributor to AREA, the Journal of Aesthetics and Protest and much more...

Art + Activism / Artists / Urban/City
25 Nov 2007
Greece, Athens
The Streetpanters is a bunch of friends who started slapping orange stickers on cars, after walking around Athens had become a living hell.

"There is absolutely no respect for the pedestrians, the sidewalks and zebra crossings are occupied by cars, walking is no more a legitimate means of transportation. So, we decided that we waited long enough for the state, the local authorities and the police to wake up. It was time for action. Whoever doesn’t comply, pays the price on the spot."

They handed out more than 250,000 stickers depicting a donkey in a car above the message, “I park wherever I want” ... a self-adhesive reminder for inconsiderate drivers to respect those who commit the unforgivable crime of walking.

Organizations / Urban/City

16 Nov 2007
Copenhagen, Denmark
By Nis Rømer

In the course of the summer (2007) the Public Picnic project developed with the help of neighbours, friends and people passing by. A plot in Nørrebro, Copenhagen was temporarily appropriated and turned into a public garden and a hub for a series of public events.
The plot had been hidden behind a fence for years but showed to be quite remarkable; wild berries en mass, apple trees, weeds high enough for a full grown person to disappear into and overall a vast diversity of plants.

The early allotment gardens in Denmark were connected to the workers movement and thus had a political component. Many workers got access to a plot of land away from overpopulated cities and small apartments. Access to land was especially 100 years ago a deeply democratic spatial project, as well as about having places for leisure and retreat from working life. Today it is harder to spot the project in the allotments and it seems there is a need to define what are the spatial rights worth fighting for now?

An attempted answer could be that we need spaces free from the omnipresent regime of disciplining by media and commerce and institutions telling us how to live our lives, how to look, act and feel. Places where the collective is possible, where there is no division between production and play, between pleasure and politics; places for the life-world.

The Public Picnic project was motivated in wanting to act and think on how gardens can have a renewed relevance in urban life and politics. While gardens often are private retreats we wanted this to be a public space for pleasure and production. We trampled some new paths in the weed to open it up. Rosa Marie Frang shouted out the news that television wants us to believe is reality mocking the fiction and creating a new one. Media reality is a farce, and we refuse to reduce our thinking. Shaking the earth in series of events to make geographies or moments where opposites normally fixed can meet, exchange and in the process transform us and the categories themselves.

This is the spaces we want, spaces in out neighbourhood where we can meet, organize and express ourselves in informal ways. It is a modest demand: inclusive spaces free of commercials, self organized urban free spaces where we live, everywhere.

See the homepage for documentation of the events

Public Projects / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City
14 Nov 2007
San Francisco
This public art project is the start of a large-scale urban earthwork that involves replacing sidewalks with native plant life to establish a connective greenbelt between the Mission District’s two largest parks: Franklin Square Park and Dolores Park. The greenbelt will be a narrow landscaped strip running east west through neighborhoods now lacking public green spaces. On the whole, the self-supporting native plants will thrive, as they have evolved for thousands of years to suit San Francisco’s semi-arid climate. Also, the permeable soil will absorb rainwater otherwise headed for the sewage treatment plant, which, during heavy rains, overflows into the Bay. Visually, the greenbelt will be reminiscent of the now landfill-covered Mission Creek with a stream of planted vegetation separating pedestrians from cars.

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
14 Nov 2007
“How can China proceed with its ambitious project to improve living conditions for its population without exhausting the very resources needed to sustain a better life?”

This is the question that the Danish curator and architect Henrik Valeur asks with CO-EVOLUTION. The visionary exhibition shows how architects, in cooperation with researchers and planners, are helping to meet the global challenges following in the wake of China’s massive economic growth and the intended “welfare boost”. The exhibition is the result of a project involving some of the most talented young Danish architects and students and professors from four top universities in China.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Organizations / Urban/City
31 Oct 2007
Club of Pioneers
There is currently a special on sustainable architecture and green building on the Club of Pioneers website. The general focus is future mobility and sustainable lifestyle, but the discussion forums are a great way for urbanists and green thinkers to get their ideas out there and be challenged.

Architecture / Sustainability / Urban/City
24 Oct 2007
US, Berkeley
SAFE, the Society for Agriculture and Food Ecology is a group initiated by students at UC Berkeley who catalyze honest discussion of a truly sustainable food system.

Through panels, speakers, events and workshops they bring this discussion onto their campus with the intention of being inclusive, productive and impassioned on behalf of thier common goals of agricultural sustainability, ecological integrity, healthful human nutrition and vibrant rural economies.

"We feel strongly that this discourse is a critical element in the formation of policy goals, urban consumer literacy, and the shaping of food science. We also hope to embolden those interested in food/farming to make a career in these fertile fields."

They have also organized The Local a market stand featuring fresh local produce on UC Berkeley Campus once a week.

Art + Activism / Free / Sustainability / Urban/City
16 Oct 2007
The Netherlands, Dordrecht
"Noordkaap Foundation is an artist-collective network organization that aims to make a critical contribution to urban renewal projects by initiating multidiscipline art-projects in public space and in empty buildings. From their temporarily headquarter, they aim to make the notion of city development and contemporary artistic strategies in public space accessible to a bigger public. The project-space is a platform for research, intervention and exchange and Noordkaap organizes exhibitions, as well as open brainstorm meetings, lectures, videoscreenings and communical activities to get the people actively involved in the restructuring of their own street."

Call for submissions
Noordkaap is open to project-proposals by guest curators, artists, designers and thinkers that test and question the urban landscape by the use of interview, cover stories, poster art, swopactions, performances, research, etc. They kindly invite you to become part of our growing international network by using our projectspace as a platform to test and present your ideas.

Artists / Calls / Organizations / Urban/City
22 Sep 2007
San Francisco

Once again the Bicycle Film Festival comes to San Francisco. This year it is full of off-site events, street performances and screenings at the Victoria theater. Hop on a bike and come by.

Free Valet parking for bikes.

Art + Activism / Sustainability / Urban/City
16 Sep 2007
Habitat International Coalition (HIC) is an independent, international, non-profit alliance of some 400 organizations and individuals working in the area of human settlements. The strength of the Coalition is based on its worldwide membership that includes social movements, grassroot organizations, civil society organizations, NGOs, academia and research institutions, and like-minded individuals from 80 countries in both North and South. A shared set of objectives bind and shape HIC's commitment to communities working to secure housing and improve their habitat conditions.

Architecture / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City
06 Sep 2007
US, Los Angeles
Spacial Justice is a new journal published by the UCLA Department of Urban Planning. This volume proceeds from the notion that justice is, and should be, a principal goal of urban planning in all its institutional and grassroots forms. Yet why speak of spatial justice instead of social justice? What do critical spatial thinking and practices contribute to the pursuit of justice?

Art + Activism / Books / Urban/City
30 Aug 2007
Sep 21
PARK(ing) Day is a one-day, global event centered in San Francisco where artists, activists, and citizens collaborate to temporarily transform parking spots into “PARK(ing)” spaces: temporary public parks.

Art + Activism / Urban/City
22 Aug 2007
"This blog began as a place to record the acts of illicit cultivation around London. Now it's a growing arsenal for anyone interested in the war against the neglect of public space. Everyone who signs up to the blog is welcome to share any of their guerrilla gardening activities. In the tips section you can find out about all the basic things to remember."

DIY / Homebrew / Urban/City
18 Aug 2007
A new and innovative research centre brings together architects, urbanists, filmmakers, curators and other cultural practitioners from around the world to work on expanded notions of architecture that engage with questions of culture, politics, conflict and human rights.

Architecture / Education / Urban/City
16 Aug 2007
US, Chicago
The Stockyard Institute will initiate an interactive exhibition using the Hyde Park Art Center as a site to critically explore the intersection between art, education, and the city. Working with other artists, collaboratives, and groups, such as The Center for Urban Pedagogy (New York), rum46 (Denmark), Think Tank (Philadelphia), Artlink (UK), and AREA Chicago Art, Research, Education & Activism (Chicago), to name a few, the Stockyard Institute will transform the gallery space into a temporary factory that will design and implement an extensive series of programs and events throughout the two month project.

Pedagogical Factory will interrogate the overlap between education, economics, art, and activism, creating a venue to explore alternatives to traditional notions of education and social art.

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Urban/City
13 Aug 2007
US, New York
GET LOST is a collective portrait of downtown New York. Twenty-one international artists were invited to create a personal view of the city and draw a map of downtown New York, uncovering a territory that is both real and imaginary.

GET LOST is the city as seen through the eyes of: 16beaver group; Francis Alÿs; Cory Arcangel; Jennifer Bornstein; Beth Campbell; Marcel Dzama; Isa Genzken; Inaba and Associates; Dorothy Iannone; Chris Johanson; Christopher Knowles; Terence Koh; Julie Mehretu; Jonas Mekas; Aleksandra Mir; Thurston Moore; Dave Muller; William Pope.L; Lordy Rodriguez; Rirkrit Tiravanija; Lawrence Weiner.

GET LOST is a New Museum production, edited by Massimiliano Gioni.

Exhibitions / Urban/City
25 Jul 2007
Delhi, India
Sarai is a programme of the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies, one of India’s leading research institutes with a commitment to critical and dissenting thought and a focus on critically expanding the horizons of the discourse on development, particularly with reference to South Asia. They are a coalition of researchers and practitioners with a commitment towards developing a model of research-practice that is public and creative, in which multiple voices express and render themselves in a variety of forms.

Education / Organizations / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
20 Jul 2007
US, New York
A Summer Charette Produced by
the Forum for Urban Design and Storefront for Art and Architecture

Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
06 Jul 2007
An ambient audio tour through Golden Gate park.
San Francisco
A unique way to experience Golden Gate Park, a strange way to spend an afternoon. This audio tour of navigates one by a guide down hillsides, through fields, into caves and across ravins while you hear the stories, encounter the creatures and discover the mysteries that haunt our fair park. Where is the feral cat colony? What is in those large green boxes? Who stole the stones from the spanish monastery? Can I eat that? Do people really assemble here at night? Why do I feel so unusual? What is that in the bushes? Are coincidences merely chance events? Or is it somehow all connected? Will I ever make it home? And will my home even be there to return to?

Public Projects / Urban/City
04 Jul 2007
London, UK
"A Festival of European Young Urbanists brings together, in one place, over one frenetic week, young Europeans working on and in cities face to face to foster, nurture and enhance human relationships, professional networks, and, to provide a platform and party for Europe's young urbanists to respond, stimulate, create and influence our cities, now and for the future."

TINAG’s Steering Committee is requesting proposals for seminars, events and parties.

Calls / Events / Urban/City
04 Jul 2007
Kitchen Budapest, opening in June 2007, is a new media lab for young researchers who are interested in the convergence of mobile communication, online communities and urban space and are passionate about creating experimental projects in cross-disciplinary teams.

Education / Organizations / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
03 Jul 2007
A network of artist research groups
London, UK
The alt.SPACE Network is an international, transdisciplinary formation of self-organized, non-institutional research groups with the collective aim of exploring cultural production through a variety of different media and through a range of contextual and theoretical approaches. They share the belief that in a time that stands witness to the increasing entrenchment and subsumption of research and criticality into the manufacturing processes of global, profit-driven corporate industries, self-organization and the non-totalizing, informal networking of micro-practices offer a site of resistance and dissent.

Art + Activism / Urban/City
29 Jun 2007
This is a real resource for people interested in alternative city development and research. Editors and authors Jochen Becker and Stephan Lanz and others have made publicly available major parts of their writing on Cities like Istanbul, Teheran, Farvelas in Rio and more. Among the books are "City og COOP", and "Space // Troubles". The books continue a strong German tradition for alternative but thoroughly researched urban investigations.

Articles / Books / Free / Urban/City
27 Jun 2007
Program Gallery
Einar Thorsteinn's geometric proposition for a green community in the center of Iceland.

Exhibitions / Urban/City
23 May 2007
Brussels, Belgium
City Mine(d) is a production house for urban intervention for and by the city. The organisational structure is flexible, network-oriented, rhizomatic and its activities are temporary. See the many projects they have initiated and organized!

Organizations / Urban/City
15 May 2007
a research initiative of the Institute of Infinitely Small Things
U.S. Boston
Members of The Institute for Infinitely Small Things had been seen for a while in the streets of Boston and Cambridge, MA translating corporate advertising language into simple performances. Cingular's "Rollover" campaign resulted in groups of people rolling around on the sidewalk in front of the poster.

There's also a database of ads and user-suggested ideas for acting out the commands. The misguided language becomes obvious with Daimler/Chrysler's "Build it, Find it, Drive it" campaign once a user conjures the suggestion to make your own "Ramshackle car made of driftwood."


15 May 2007
See slide show:

Last week while I was in Barcleona, I had the good fortune of meeting up with a friend who offered to host me for a day. I asked if there were any urban garden projects going on, and the next day we were on the subway leading to the outskirts of town, walking up a dirt road into the valley of San Genis to Can Masdeu.

A winding dirt road lead us to a cluster of hand painted signposts and bulletin boards framing a view of arcadia"

You have arrived in a
rural/urban social center.
It is not a hostel.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If you would like to visit the
house and/or get involved in
the project please talk to someone
from the community.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here we collectively organize
diverse acitivities. We invite you
to come especially on Sundays to the
interactive workshops of Collserola.
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
If you use any materials
return them to where you found them
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Here there are no door keepers,
Security, cameras, or cleaning service.
This project depends on

Can Masdeu is a squatted social centre in one of the last non-urbanized valleys, San Genis, part of the Collserola National Park in Barcelona. It was squatted by an international group of activists in December 2001, and the terraces surrounding the masia (country mansion) are cultivated by neighbors who live in the neighborhood below, Nou Barris. It sits on 49.4 acres of land. Parts of the masia were built in the 1600s, and in the early 20th century and the house was a nunnery and leper hospital. Surrounding the mansion are terraced gardens that provide food for the entire community. Sections of the land are community gardens dedicated to the neighbors. These are broken up into small plots separated by bamboo fencing.

Can Masdeu gained international attention in April 2002, when over 100 national police came to evict 11 squatters defending the house in positions of passive resistance. Unable to remove the squatters from lockdowns, tripods, on ropes and planks extended out of windows, and even a hanging bathtub, the police waited for the squatters to get thirsty and hungry and come down. After three days of media attention, hundreds of protesting onlookers chanting slogans and stopping traffic on the local highway, and even a solidarity group organizing a sit-in in the Spanish Embassy in Holland, the judge ordered the police to leave and the case reopened. Later rulings favored the owner, the Hospital of San Pau, but no eviction notice has been given.

The project includes a bakery, pizza oven, bike kitchen, cafe, and a social center, the PIC, or Punt d'Interracció de Collserola, which opens Sundays to the public and offers a variety of activities and workshops, often related to environmental issues, permaculture and organic farming, communal living, and community autonomy.

The PIC and the rurbar, a cafe serving local and organic meals and drinks, is open most Sundays from noon until evening. Activities are listed on the website and in the newsletter Infousurpa.

As of 2007, more than 28 people live in and share the house. Community participation includes bi-weekly meetings, organic gardening, housework, and two collective meals per day, and each member contributes roughly 25 euros/month to food costs. The working languages of the house are Catalan and Spanish, but as it is an international group, English, Italian, French, Basque, and Esperanto are also spoken.

Upon entering the main courtyard, we were greeted by a table of people enjoying a community lunch including fresh baked bread and several dishes of food from their gardens. We happened to arrive on a Friday which is the baking day.

After wandering around the grounds and leafing through their extensive zine and radical left library for over 2 hours, it became very clear that Can Masdeu was organizing beyond the local community and that it had become an important link in an international network of social organizations and movement carrying genuine social ecological and political value;
many of its residents have participated in broader social struggles, including the demonstration for a "New Culture of Water" against the Damming of the Ebre River, and the Campaign Against the Europe of Capital and the War.

One aspect of this community that seemed to be the glue of its efficiency and survival was the distribution of responsibilites. The group works in a very open way, such that they make sure that people who have specific skills pass them on to other people. In the case of doing renovation work, they might run a workshop so that when they repair or develop something, they can also teach a group of people as they go along. It seems that skill sharing and rotating roles is essential, such that if one system fails, more than one person will know how to fix it.

Currently Can Masdeu is prodding ahead with educational programs, outreach and rehabilitating the compound with the intention of being completely sustainable. Evidence of this dots the land; solar panels, composting toilets, pedal powered washing machine, rainwater catchment tanks, solar showers...

The city of Barcelona has plans to develop the valley, but the project has received international attention and is in a holding pattern at the moment. The project was an inspiration and breath of fresh air during our stay in Barcelona. I will carry this day with me into the urban garden in San Francisco. Thank you Can Masdeu!

Relative links:
Interviews +photos

Art + Activism / Social Practice / Sustainability / Urban/City
11 May 2007
US, New York
Once again. The ever wonderful festival including, city joy ride,
art exhibition, screenings, and more...
May 16-21, 2007

Art + Activism / Events / Sustainability / Urban/City
08 May 2007
Mexico City
Inferus is an independent project of cultural resistance in the public space. The first stage of intervention takes place in the city subway, a territory of cognitive experimentation, a sphere where the perceptual reorganization of spatial and temporal notions among users makes possible the development of a distinct perspective in an appropriative-intention scheme.

Social Practice / Urban/City
06 May 2007
US, New York
August 10, 11, 12
New York University

The theme for the 2007 IVSA conference is the multi-faceted relationship between public and private realms and how they are shaped by human action while at the same time condition our lives. The aim of the conference is to visually examine the various layers of the public/private relationship. Presenters and panelists are invited to explore how the social is embodied in the built environment, how visual media challenge and/or reinforce the traditional divide between public and private; and alternative frameworks that visual sociology offers for reconstructing this relationship.

Events / Social Practice / Urban/City
28 Apr 2007
Copenhagen, Denmark
Stewart Home reports in an article in Mute magazine from the seminar "Expect anything fear nothing" recently held in Copenhagen. This and the description of the riots and situation around the now demolished Youth House makes it a necessary read. Plus the seminar site have some good resources to situationist material.

Art + Activism / Artists / Urban/City
20 Apr 2007
US, New York
May 12-13, 2007
Creative Time, inSite + The Cooper Union
Two day conference re-thinking the challenges of engagement in the public sphere.
"In the network society everyone puts together their own city. Naturally this touches on the essence of the concept of pubic domain...Public domain experiences occur at the boundary between friction and freedom."

Art + Activism / Events / Urban/City

18 Apr 2007
US, San Francisco
by Corinne Matesich

Browsing the contents of a new acquaintance's bookshelves is a common impulse. I do it all the time, sizing people up, looking for common interests, potential conversation starters, and, I guess, ideas for something to read next. It can take some time to meet all of your acquaintances' bookcases, but on Sunday, April 15th, 2007 an event for public book sharing was held at the Garden for the Environment. The garden is a seventeen-year-old space headed by Blair Randall, and offers the local community resources for growing things. Amy Franceschini, the demonstration garden's first Artist in Residence, initiated the One-Day Library, a social gathering to further interest in urban gardening and related ideas.

A simple bookcase (milk crates and boards) was set up in the garden-- its bare shelves awaiting the arrival of books. Library attendees were invited to bring selections from their personal libraries about urban gardening, food history, art and nature, and related ideas. Together, more than fifty attendees created a new library. It could be assumed that attendees were veritable green thumbs, but hardly a word was traded about how to grow a specific bean. Instead, the majority of talk amongst the artists, educators, and students was about how to encourage gardening, the local politics to support urban gardening, and the wealth of things published in recent history about the matter—topics of conversation that surprisingly don't rule out the participation of those who kill most of what they plant.

The collective library was one of both old gems and current discourse. Some books had been found in garage sales from decades past. University course readers, small press, underground and local publications sat alongside how-to guides, non-fiction paperbacks, essays about biology, mushrooms, and the urban environment. I found my own favorites in a dictionary-style book of pretend locations, and a book of illustrations explaining the world of utilities underneath the street.

The One-Day Library readers paid dues to some other offbeat subjects. Contributors to the library were welcomed to read passages aloud from their books. Those who read shared relevant ideas. A few provocative thoughts go nicely with donated bread, baked goods, tea and a little wine especially on a bright day surrounded by flourishing vegetation. Amy Balkin read a selection from a 1974 children's cookbook shedding light on a long-forgotten dietary supplement promised by the UN to end protein deficiencies worldwide. Seemingly, the supplement called "CSM" never lived up to the language used to triumph its saving powers, and one has to wonder whether writing to the address in the book for a free sample would yield anything at all.

Megan Shaw Prelinger shared her connection to the land via mushroom hunting by reading from David Wolfe's Tales from the Underground. Rick Prelinger also of the Prelinger Archives and Library introduced an educational film from the 50's titled, Our Foster Mother the Cow, allowing younger imaginations to conjure exactly what kind of teaching went along with rural agricultural lesson plans.

Henrik Lebuhn read a worthwhile selection about sleeping in public from A Pattern of Language by Christopher Alexander. And, Ian Boal arrived in time to take his shoes off and read from The Country in the City, a just published book exploring the environmental disputes behind the green spaces that now make up the Bay Area.

The One-Day Library found success in its temporary nature as a public event, for me, because the image of a collective bookcase resonates even though it has already been taken down, and all the books have gone home with their rightful owners. The act of creating a dream library out of both book owners and the books beats the traditional lending library at usefulness and approachability — the indispensable part being people who can talk about the books they brought. Building such a library ultimately works to recognize one's own community as the most necessary resource we have.

Free / Public Projects / Social Practice / Urban/City
17 Apr 2007
Copenhagen, Denmark
Two projects are unfolding simultaneously in Copenhagen city spaces, organized by "publik" that produces temporary art in public spaces:
How Do you belong? is a series of public art project focusing on different aspects and meanings of belonging. First project to open was Hartmut Stockters "Ponganer for a day" Where you can rid yourself of the prejudices that go with your current national identity. The nature and culture of Ponga is richly described in drawings and objects
Read more

Surface Tension_Copenhagen invites Danish and international artists to take a look at Copenhagen's infrastructure and backsides. One project is a Public Air Quality Indicator installed on Copenhagen City Hall. With Yvette Brackman, Octávio Camargo, Ken Ehrlich, Robin Wilson & Nigel Green, Brandon LaBelle, RACA and Nis Rømer.
Read more

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
13 Apr 2007
US, New York
Dr. Dickson Despommier, a professor of environmental sciences and microbiology at Columbia University, has developed the idea of “vertical farm” skyscrapers. In his theory he speculates about 30-story towers producing fruit, vegetables, and grains while also generating clean energy and purifying wastewater. Roughly 150 such buildings, Despommier estimates, could feed the entire city of New York for a year.

from New York Magazine

Architecture / Magazines / Sustainability / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
04 Apr 2007
San Francisco
A very active and organized San Francisco group who cretaed a 40 year plan: The Path to a Livable City. Thier mission is to promote policies which shift travel from automobiles to more appropriate means—create a balanced transportation system and promote complementary land use.

Sustainability / Urban/City
26 Mar 2007
Architecture + Landscape Research
US, Los Angeles
M&A is an outdoor exhibition space that is visible from the street 24 hours a day.
FREE ENTRY -- Donations are welcome!

M&A is a research center dedicated to pushing new and underused ideas for art, landscape and architecture into view.

Architecture / Organizations / Urban/City
11 Mar 2007
Seminar on the Situationist Movement in Scandinavia
Copenhagen, Denmark
The Situationist movement was a cultural revolutionary movement that had its highest point of activity across Europe in the 1960s. But many of the Situationist ideas are still relevant and useful in our daily struggle against neoliberal globalised capitalism.

The seminar also serves the purpose of putting the Situationist movement back into the Scandinavian cultural history from which it has been excluded. Read more in the Scandinavian situationist text archive

The seminar takes place: March 15 & 16 2007 at Folkets Hus, Stengade 50, Copenhagen

Art + Activism / Events / Urban/City
10 Mar 2007
San Francisco
Saturday April 21 through Sunday April 22, 2007
Along the Third St Corridor

CCA's Curatorial Practice presents: The San Francisco World’s Fair of 2007 asks, “What would today’s world’s fair look like if it didn’t privilege a singular ideology and how would it define itself?” Using this idea as our conceptual framework, the project begins to sort through the accumulated values and investigates multiple ways to proceed. Our World’s Fair creates a space in which to debate the nature of progress through the creative act.

Events / Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
01 Mar 2007
Polar Produce is a multidisciplinary group who create interactive media and live art experiences. Based in Bristol, UK the group's work explores the interface between virtual and real environments with particular emphasis on real-time, site-specific and locative experiences.

Artists / Social Practice / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
26 Feb 2007
U.S. Boston
Wendy Jacobs, "Line, North Adams, 2006" and "Taxi, 2003" offer spacial and relational goodness.
-Happy Monday!

Artists / Public Projects / Urban/City
24 Feb 2007
Presented by Worldwatch, State of the World 2007: Our Urban Future explores the myriad ways urbanization is affecting our lives and the global environment—with a special focus on the ideas that can make our cities environmentally sustainable and healthier places to live.

Books / Sustainability / Urban/City
21 Feb 2007
Somewhat a blunder that the magazine and effort; An Architektur hasn't been mentioned here before. Apart from making the mag they also organize Camp for Oppositional Architecture last time in Casco in Utrecht. The magazine was founded out of the architecture collective Freies Fach that dealt with urban politics in actions, performances and writing. See the history of Freies Fach here (in German but with images)

Architecture / Magazines / Urban/City
18 Feb 2007
A project at The interface of private and public urban space
Between April 15 and May 6, the project will present artworks in the Berlin districts of Mitte, Wedding and Gesundbrunnen.
It is both exhibition and an artistic/curatorial research project, with the blog making public many of the logistics of implimenting an exhibition of this kind.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Public Projects / Urban/City
14 Feb 2007
16 May – 15 July
11 artists including Mark Dion, Oliver Croy and Martin Kaltwasser/Folke Köbberling have been invited to reflect on the location of Berlin´s Hansaviertel from an archaeological view. The title refers to the 1957 exhibition, Die Stadt von Morgen, and will include a film programme, symposium and accompanying book.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Urban/City
14 Feb 2007
The Hansaviertel in Berlin is a primary example of post war, West Berlin architecture. 50 years after its conception, Stadtfinden Moderne offers one a virtual tour using GPS that includes video, audio and historical background on the the area, particularily the Interbau exhibition of 1957. It offers 80 points of interest, to be found at your leisure, and the PDAs are available until May 31.
More to come...

Architecture / Events / Urban/City
10 Feb 2007
Totnes is the first town in the UK to have a 25 year plan that will help them become a non-oil-powered community. They are planning to reduce and even stop using oil within the next 20 years.

Sustainability / Urban/City
05 Feb 2007
San Francisco
"The Digger Archives is an ongoing Web project to preserve and present the history of the anarchist guerilla street theater group that challenged the emerging Counterculture of the Sixties and whose actions and ideals inspired (and continue to inspire) a generation (of all ages) to create models of Free Association.

The Diggers combined street theater, anarcho-direct action, and art happenings in their social agenda of creating a Free City. Their most famous activities revolved around distributing Free Food every day in the Park, and distributing "surplus energy" at a series of Free Stores (where everything was free for the taking.)"

Art + Activism / Free / Organizations / Social Practice / Urban/City
26 Jan 2007
New Art on the Picadilly Line
London, UK
Thin Cities is a series of new artworks commissioned by Platform for Art to appear in specific stations along the Piccadilly line.

Among some of the artworks is Nils Norman's Above-ground tube map that provides information for passengers about nearby, "low-key" landmarks at stations on the line.

Public Projects / Urban/City
20 Jan 2007
A grassroots protest gains attention and action
The "Children of Don Quixote" organized a tent city made up of 300 red tents to house Parisians in a demonstration demanding some attention from the government to deal with the homeless situation.

Within weeks, "Quixote cities" appeared in Marseilles, Lyon, Strasbourg, Bordeaux, and Toulouse. These demonstrations led to the French government increasing funds to $92 million from $11 million, allowing shelters to stay open 24 hours - and on Monday earmarked $46 million more to place 27,000 persons. Next month, lawmakers will debate a law that makes housing a legal right - something President Jacques Chirac, under pressure from the Quixote media coverage, proposed in his New Year address.

News stories:
CS Monitor
Habitat International Coalition

Art + Activism / Organizations / Public Projects / Urban/City
11 Jan 2007
'Green' Olympics plan to bulldoze 100 year old Manor Garden Allotments for a screen to show events to non-ticket holders.

-Watch the beautiful and informative BBC Video!
-Visit the organizational diagram.
-UK Citizens! Sign the petition:
"We the undersigned petition the Prime Minister to Incorporate rather than demolish Manor Garden Allotments within the 2012 Olympic site."

Sustainability / Urban/City
11 Jan 2007
US, Chicago
A chicago based group, Echo Studio, presented landscaping suitable for use in an urban environment at the Garden in a City exhibition.

I post this link as a reference to a possible educational format to present the various configurations of plantings that can happen in citites.

Architecture / Exhibitions / Sustainability / Urban/City
09 Jan 2007
The Dutch Architect Aldo van Eyck (1918-1999) built with a social purpose. His most famous building is maybe the Amsterdam Orphanage that influenced school building around the world with its integration of smaller pavilions to form a small town as a building. He had great attention to in-between spaces that could be occupied in endless ways by the kids.

One of his often overlooked achievements was building around 700 playgrounds on vacant lots in Amsterdam in the 40s and 50s. Up to 90 of them can still be seen today.

Architecture / Urban/City
05 Jan 2007
Anywhere is an internet-based system that applies the unique potential of web-based databases to cities. The platform is designed as infrastructure that can support and enable the temporary use of vacant space. A series of forums (Pools) allows all parties interested or involved in temporary use to share relevant information resources.

Architecture / Urban/City / Virtual Soil
31 Dec 2006
A plethora of places, spaces and oddities. "Border crossings" are especially interesting!

Architecture / Free / Urban/City
26 Dec 2006
An urban planning social/community and portal site. Cyburbia includes a busy message board, image gallery etc.

13 Dec 2006
Nina Katchadorian's Office Semaphore
US, New York
Ever spot someone in a distant office window and wonder what is going on in his or her life? Part message decoding, part small-scale reality show, artist Nina Katchadourian's Office Semaphore is a signaling system in which one person, who works on an upper story of an office building, will communicate messages to people outside on street level.

The Public Art Fund is New York's leading presenter of artists' projects, new commissions, and exhibitions in public spaces. For over 25 years the Public Art Fund has been committed to working with emerging and established artists to produce innovative exhibitions of contemporary art for neighborhoods throughout New York City. By bringing artworks outside the traditional context of museums and galleries, the Public Art Fund provides increased access to the art of our time -dismantling any barriers to the accessibility of contemporary art - and provides artists with a unique opportunity to expand their artistic practice.

Public Projects / Urban/City
16 Nov 2006
D.I.R.T says of their work- “‘Waste’ becomes the design fodder for the future. We feel obligated, and better yet, inspired to remake vast trashed sites into renewed landscapes of ecological and cultural production.”
Here’s an interview with Julie Bargmann from the Archinect site.

Architecture / Urban/City
03 Nov 2006
A tour to explore the unknown future of Europe
The “Lost Highway Expedition” was initiated by the School of Missing Studies [SMS].
LHE is the first event of Europe Lost and Found (ELF), a multi annual and three-phased project, involving following major themes: “Balkanization” (2006-2007), “Europeanization” (2007-2008) and “Map the Future” (2008-2009). Each project phase will build the base for the next one, thus posing new set of questions and determining new research directions. In this way, it will reflect on contemporary Europe, which it understands as a cycle of continuously reshaping social, political, economic and urban conditions and communication processes. However, each phase is planned to realize an expedition, an exhibition and a publication.

Events / Public Projects / Social Practice / Urban/City
25 Oct 2006
GfZK Leipzig, 28 October 2006 – 21 January 2007
LIMINAL SPACES/ grenzraeume originated from an initiative of individual Palestinian and Israeli artists united in their opposition to the destructive dynamics and ever growing hardship and deprivation of basic civil and political rights endured by Palestinians under Israeli occupation.

An unprecedented network of artists, curators and cultural producers emerged, meeting often under difficult circumstances, despite the harsh context of ever increasing violence and the complete collapse of the political peace process.

The results are an exhibition and conference. No website but here's a link to the rhizome announcement in English.

Art + Activism / Events / Exhibitions / Public Projects / Social Practice / Urban/City
11 Oct 2006
Inspired by Cuban urban gardening, Organopónico Bolivar 1 is a pilot project supported by Hugo Chavez in Venezuela.

Sustainability / Urban/City
09 Oct 2006
Copenhagen, Denmark
A wonderful world of social, public and fantastical projects. Parfyme is Copenhagen based: Pelle Brage, Ebbe Dam Meinild, and Laurids Sonne

Artists / Social Practice / Urban/City
03 Oct 2006
A production of General Public Agency, Thurrock: A Visionary Brief in the Thames Gateway has redefined what is meant by ‘culturally-led regeneration’. It is a major programme of new thinking about Thurrock and the Thames Gateway, bringing an international perspective to local, regional and national policy debates around cultural practice in regeneration.

See Nils Norman's, Thurrock 2015 from the Obsolescence and Entropy Mobile Research and Investigation Field Centre Vehicle.

Art + Activism / Urban/City
02 Oct 2006
On their website they present five examples of intercultural garden projects in Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Göttingen and Dessau, in Germany. The initiators were faced with different starting conditions; for example with a high percentage of immigrants in the West and a low percentage in the former GDR. Also the local cooperation partners vary in each city – they are essential for the success of a project. Apart from Stiftung Interkultur, the projects have gained other actively committed partners, such as the Torture Treatment Centres, municipalities, local churches, refugee organisations, commissioners for migration in states and city councils, ministries, foundations, universities and environmental organisations.

Organizations / Sustainability / Urban/City
01 Oct 2006
Austrian Photographer and video artist
Konrad's photographs examine urban border zones - the periphery, urban infrastructure, construction sites, and anonymous buildings - remote from the typical urban scenarios.
Her video work “Desert Cities” shows the haunting scenes outside of Cairo, miles of unfinished and empty buildings. What happens when urban communities try to live in a dry and unfriendly terrain.

Architecture / Artists / Urban/City
22 Sep 2006
US, New York
Infrastructure and facilities for high-density bird cohabitation on the roof of Postmasters Gallery with public housing projects by: a myriad of architects and consultants.

Visit OOZ:A place to observe animals.

Exhibitions / Public Projects / Urban/City
20 Sep 2006
Copenhagen, Denmark
A group of artists and curators from Copenhagen have formed an independent organization for art in public places and media.

A part from "Hot Summer" publik is also running a project called "Sit Down" taking place in the city. Superflex have made a neon sign pointing to "Mjølner Parken" the most disputed ghetto in Denmark that very few people have actually visited or know where is. Artist Jeppe Hein made a number of altered benches. Sonja Lillebæk Christensen did a video about a soccer player that once were in the national team who recently campaigned against homeless shelters in his neigbourhood. "Sit Down" is Curated by Christian Skovbjerg.

Public Projects / Urban/City

20 Sep 2006
8 visual artists in the city and on the web
Copenhagen, Denmark
The "five finger plan" of Copenhagen, is made to make the city develop along five lines of infrastructure and leave intact green belts between the fingers deep into the city. In a way this quite ingenious plan holds the promise that the city and its surroundings can be integrated and the growth of the city controlled to some degree by planning the infrastructure. The plan developed in 1947 does still work as the overall framework for the city though much has been built also between the fingers.

Hot summer of urban farming continues along this trajectory and explores various ways that gardens and farming can be integrated in the city, though on a much smaller scale. Over the summer 8 artists and groups have been making plantations and temporary gardens in Copenhagen's lesser used spaces.
The works are situated in Outer Nørrebro, which is characterized by the highest density of people, the biggest ethnic mix and the least square meter public space per inhabitant. If you take a careful look there are small pockets of undetermined spaces mainly used by dog owners if by any. In the tradition of "zwischennutzung" -temporary uses of city spaces -the projects that the artists made are temporary or made to slowly dissolve in the city and take a life of their own.

Åsa Sonjasdotter have made potato gardens with a variety of sorts supplied by the Nordic Gene Bank a quite remarkable institution that stores seeds and plants from all over the world. A thorough research into the cultural history of the potato, tells a story of how patents to plants are managing to make it illegal to grow most varieties of potato's. One sort has a special status; the "Asparges potato" has been bought by an independent group who has given the rights back to the public.

Marie Markman has done calculations on how much could actually be grown if the leftover spaces were cultivated. While the project does not suggest that this should actually happen it would provide for some weird parks and plantations in the city if other crops were introduced. At least in free Soil we like farming and parks together a lot.
An on going fight for one of the biggest free areas in the city by artist group YNKB is documented on the "hot Summer" website as well as a pretty rough weed garden turned into a parterre. Nance Klehms has made a project about immigration and farming; she exported corn from the US into Denmark made it into tortillas and served them in exchange for stories of migration. Gillion Grantsaan has harvested stories about national and international politics from a bench in a newly made park.

All projects can be seen on the website:

The project wil run until Sept. 26, 2006 and is organized by free Soiler Nis Rømer in the context of publik -a newly established organization for art in public spaces and media.

Dandelion Town by Camilla Berner
Oxygen Greenhouse by Hartmut Stockter

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
19 Sep 2006
US, San Francisco
SoEx OFFSITE, a series of major commissioned public art projects investigating diverse strategies for exploring and mapping public space, features new work by Ledia Carroll (SF), Glowlab (NY), Packard Jennings (OAK), Neighborhood Public Radio (SF/OAK), Christian Nold (UK), Jeannene Przyblyski (Bureau of Urban Secrets) (SF), Rebar (SF/OAK), and Stamen (SF).

Public Projects / Urban/City
19 Sep 2006
London, UK
British artist, Paul Curtis, aka "Moose", Draws 'Clean' Graffiti from Dirty Walls.
[see slideshow]

13 Sep 2006
8 visual artists in the city and on the web
Copenhagen, Denmark
Over the summer, 8 artists from Denmark and abroad have made temporary works, gardens and plantations in outer Nørrebro, Copenhagen. The projects explores informal and temporary uses of spaces that are undetermined. An oxygen greenhouse, a project about what can be grown in the city and a dandelion town are among the works. The website has a big resource section and shows the works online should you not be in the Copenhagen area.

Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
05 Sep 2006
US, Chicago
Salvation Jane is:
-a pasture weed in australia (pretty, but unedible to our hooved friends),
-the name of a yet-to-materialize all girl rock band,
-an evolving and involved network of earnest, experimental, adventurous and big-hearted bunch who really are in the practice of re-connecting self to self, mapping private ways through the public realm and discovering and nuturing the wild within the built environment.

Art + Activism / Public Projects / Urban/City
22 Aug 2006
high rise honey!
Artists Harry Sachs (31) und Franz Höfner (35) have used the former No Man's Land of the Berlin Wall to build mini “plattenbau” for bees! The project - Honig Neustadt - currently houses around 500 000 bees and produces ecologically controlled honey too. More to come….

Artists / Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
30 Jul 2006
A trans-disciplinary exhibition platform with 35 protagonists creating a collective dialogue on reconfiguring and reactivating the marginal, residual and public spaces of our contemporary cities.

Some favorites: Atelier Bow Wow +Rural Studio

Architecture / Urban/City
23 Jun 2006
urban TV
URBAN-TV 2006, IV International Television Festival on Urban Life and Ecology proudly invites you to send your latests productions. The festival will take place in Madrid (Spain), from November 20th to 24th, 2006.
The competition is open to documentaries, reports and other productions finished after January 1st, 2003, about any topic related to life in the cities.

Calls / Urban/City
14 Jun 2006
Mexico City
Structures built to house and provide shelter for the security guards in the wealthy neighborhoods (Lomas de Chapultepec) of Mexico City.

The men (it is a gendered space) who work/live (they often work 24 hour shifts) in these casitas decorate them with photos of women (the virgin of Guadalupe and pinups) and fill them with amenities, such as radios, televisions, hot plates for cooking tortillas and, in some, even toilets. They are very personal spaces that are placed in a public setting .

Architecture / Urban/City
13 Jun 2006
@ Wave Hill
US, New York
To many visitors Wave Hill is a utopian garden, a place to seek ideas and inspiration for their own homes. Garden Improvement offers an alternate view of the relationship between people and nature by looking at how a garden is made more inhabitable, personal, and domesticated.

Exhibitions / Urban/City
06 Jun 2006
For a “live” hour by hour account of the “dismantling” of Berlin’s Palast der Republik (and the changing weather conditions), hook into the Senate's website and click the image.

Ironically, the losers, The Volkspalast (the people’s palace, and the creative public), have just won the 4th European Prize for Urban Public Space.

Architecture / Public Projects / Urban/City
05 Jun 2006
A Planned City
In the 1950's Lucio Costa, a Brazilian architect, proposed a bird shaped (or airplane) garden city for Brazil's new capital city. The city was a collaboration between president Juscelino Kubitscheck, Costa and Oscar Niemeyer.

For more info:
Dreaming up Brasilica, The Economist

Architecture / Urban/City
19 May 2006
US, Los Angeles
Known as one of America's largest urban garden, South Central Farm's 14 acres and 360 garden plots are on the brink of becoming parking plots for a large development.

For 14 years, the South Central Farmers have worked to transform the land into a farm that meets the needs of a community regularly ignored and neglected by the City and its “elected” representatives. The State has failed Los Angeles residents who lack access to healthcare. The South Central Farmers grow medicinal herbs as an alternative to the high cost of prescription drugs. The City has failed to provide safe places for the children of South Central Los Angeles to play free from threats of violence and gang activity. The South Central Farmers welcome families and community into a veritable oasis.

Sustainability / Urban/City

11 May 2006
by Joni Taylor

There's a particular word being thrown about with verve here in Berlin, Germany. Zwischennutzung. Directly translated, it means "between use" and describes the temporary uses for spaces where their future is as yet undecided. These range from urban green areas to large East German housing blocks. It is a contentious issue due to the historically charged landscape of Germany's capital city.

Urban Green

Berlin is a city of gaps. Memory spaces left over from a destruction. Years of forgotten ghosts lie dormant in the grass. On one street, the grey, peeling facade of a pre-war building stands next to a freshly painted yellow apartment block, and between this and the neighbouring building - which is hidden by scaffolding - is a gap. A place where a building once stood, was then either bombed to oblivion or destroyed so badly it had to be demolished, and then forgotten. In all 48000 buildings were destroyed in WW2.
Architects Kenny Cupers and Marcus Miessen calls them "spaces of uncertainty". Architect Phillip Oswald refers to them as "the residual".

Empty weedy lots stand waiting to be sold, or bought, or thought about. In the meantime, temporary uses are created. On one green strip running along-side the canal, ponies graze peacefully. On another roadside block, saggy men sun-bathe nude. Some locals have turned a former East Berlin rubbish dump into an open air café and cinema for the summer. The graffiti scrawled on the building above the Lungo Lungo Lounge reads "all good comes from above" and for 5 months each year it becomes a public garden for the community that live around it. They plant trees, have parties, and built a mini golf course from the brocken TVS and other junk they found there.

Of course the biggest gap is the one left by the Berlin Wall. All 155 kilometres of it and dividing West Berlin from the rest of East Germany.
If one chooses to walk the historic trail that the wall took, one would be surprised at the attempts to remember and the attempts to forget.
At historic Bernauer Street, where the Wall divided the road into West and East, a museum has been built, and a large memorial dedicated to those that lost their lives trying to cross it. Along the street itself, a thin copper line marks the old division. On the East side, a straight line of windowless walls continues all the way to the horizon. A green scar runs alongside these houses, trees and unkept shrubs and flocks of birds live in this empty space, this belt of nothingness. Overgrown vines climb up the sides of the houses, some painted bright colours, others the original grey they had deteriorated to.
On one corner a funfair has been set up for the weekend, making use of this un-owned land. Reminiscent of Wender's "Wings of Desire", there are no angels or white horses here, but the music sends carney vibes over to the other side of the road.

The former no-mans land between Prenzlauerberg in the East and Wedding in the West - where the grass was always kept short for accurate firing range and riddled with land mines - is now one of the largest open spaces in the area.
To some this is an ugly reminder of what was once there, but to the young locals and summer visitors, it's the "Mauerpark", one of Berlin's many green oases within the city. In summer punks, dogs, drug dealers and an amazing escalating toddler population take over this space. On the night before the annual Mayday riots the park is particularly active. Thousands gather for the "Wahlpurgesnacht" celebrating the release of purged spirits with huge bonfires and an even huger police presence.
It is a true public space, without any monuments, memorials, and without any shops. It is not aimed at the consumer, unless you count the odd mobile beer seller. It is a rhizomic entity, growing according to the needs and desires of the community that use it.


It's not just the gaps between being used, but un-used buildings as well. The utopia of squatting has dissipated in Berlin's current real estate market, but many buildings still stand empty.
One of the most exciting examples of recent urban Zwischennutzung has been the "Palastes der Republic" and also one of the city's biggest controversies.
Berlin's original castle was badly damaged in World War 2 and then demolished under the GDR.
On the same site, the party built the "Palastes der Republic", the People's Palace to be used for state meetings and parties. Apparently the sound system was un-surpassed. Following the fall of the Wall, the building was discovered to be choked full of asbestos, and millions of Deutschmark spent on it's removal.
Now after years of debate, the federal Government - in a move pungent of the Disney concept of "imagineering" - has decided to rebuild a "new" castle on the original site, in the former style and glory of the past. Chancellor Schroeder has called it a choice of the "beautiful over the ugly".
Thanks to the work of Think Tank Urban Catalyst, this in-between stage has been given to cultural organisations who have breathed new life into the structure by using it for events, parties and seminars. Even letting the river flow into the lower floors for a theatre performance.

Other projects have meant that the large East German housing blocks on the outskirts of the city, which are rapidly becoming obsolete and empty, have been taken over by artists and students in temporary experiments. The "dostoprimetschatjelnosti" project involved 55 young architects, designers and students from 17 countries moving into an eleven story building for 3 months.

So while Berlin battles with the financial burden of being the Capital, and the desire to build and upgrade is seen on every corner, there seems to be a never ending supply of forgotten and empty sites.
Berlin is still not finished, it's not new and the cranes will remain for a long time more, but the feeling of possibilities here is infectious.

10 May 2006
Copenhagen, Denmark
A batch of wonderful pamphlets from the Artist Placement Group to Copenhagen Free University all avaliable in print and online.

Also check out Jackob Jakobsen's Info Center.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Artists / Public Projects / Urban/City
10 May 2006
May 6 - June 10, 2006
Group exhibition, workshops and lectures at SPARWASSER:
Offensive for Contemporary Art + Communication

“ Through all the changes ‘something’ remains – that something is the moment…no sociological or historical determination can adequately define this temporality…its wish is to reinstate discontinuity, grasping it in the very fabric of the lived.”
-Henri Lefebvre

Exhibitions / Urban/City
07 May 2006
Free access to wonderful content; Free Range Practice Guides, Buying Collectively, and Protesting in Public to name a few.
Other projects and connections:
Energy Beyond Oil
Access to Recycled Technology
Brave New Brum


Art + Activism / DIY / Homebrew / Free / Organizations / Sustainability / Urban/City
05 May 2006
The Hidden Life of Garbage
Heather Rogers takes a look at society seen through the recent history of garbage. She investigates controversial topics like the politics of recycling and the export of trash to poor countries, while offering a potent argument for change.
see also: Garbology -thanks to Emily Forman for pointing to this.

Books / Sustainability / Urban/City
26 Apr 2006
Jane Jacobs was a writer, intellectual, analyst, ethicist and moral thinker, activist, self-made economist, and a fearless critic of inflexible authority.She wrote "The Death and Life of Great American Cities"

From Wikipedia
Jane Jacobs Interviewed by Jim Kunstler
From treehugger

(Correction; jane jacobs did not curate the show "culture in action" as was previously stated, this was Mary Jane Jacob who is very much alive! apologies)

Architecture / Urban/City
26 Apr 2006
The Netherlands
A site filled with fantastic transformative ideas for the Utrecht area.
The Municipality of Utrecht has developed a scenario in which the introduction of public art is linked to the urban development of Leidsche Rijn in cooperation with SKOR (Foundation for Art and Public Space). Includes N55 and Nomads In Residence.

Architecture / Public Projects / Urban/City
23 Apr 2006
US, Los Angeles
Founded in 1994 by two AIDS activists, Ultra-red have expanded over the years to include activists and organizers from a variety of social movements both in Los Angeles and abroad. In 2004, on their tenth anniversary, the four members of the group launched a restructuring of Ultra-red into an aesthetic-political organization. The newly reorganized Ultra-red permits a greater diversity of projects and campaigns on a local and international level, with multiple groups and alliances taking up the Ultra-red moniker. Collectively, the Los Angeles-based group has produced radio broadcasts, performances, recordings, installations and pubic space occupations (ps/o).
[from their mission statement]

Art + Activism / Urban/City
20 Apr 2006
Converting unused train tracks to public promenades!
US, New York
Friends of the High Line is an organization dedicated to the preservation and reuse of the High Line, a 1.5-mile-long historic elevated rail structure on the West Side of Manhattan.

If only they could keep it wild like it is right now, but they are supported by nearly all the elected officials representing the High Line neighborhoods, numerous civic organizations, and thousands of preservationists, open-space advocates, design professionals, and civic-minded individuals and businesses from New York and across the United States which seems to have pulled them in a very corporate direction.

Nonetheless, it will be an accessible, car free zone and...their site is a great resource.
{see images now!}

Art + Activism / Organizations / Public Projects / Urban/City
18 Apr 2006
US, Los Angeles
Edible Estates is an ongoing series of projects to replace the American front lawn with edible garden landscapes responsive to local culture, climate and inhabitants.

Click around for Edible Estates projects.

Architecture / Art + Activism / Public Projects / Sustainability / Urban/City
14 Apr 2006
US, New York
Beekeeper, David Graves farms bees on New York City rooftops in exchange for tasty honey. He claims that NY city sprays less pesticides than an orchard where he would normally retrieve honey. His honey is also contributing to a local pride, as the honey collected from New York City bees is distinctive, varying in flavor from borough to borough and even neighborhood to neighborhood.

Another great link:
High Rise Honey

DIY / Homebrew / Sustainability / Urban/City
Previous / Next Top
By Joni Taylor
Part 1

Apocalypse may be the new black, but the Plague, the Cold War and the Millennium Bug combined did not add ...
Joni T


nowHere, a space where a spot becomes a place.
15 march - 25 may, 2008

nowHere, is a cabinet which invokes a dialogue on re-appropriation of the private and public domain. Through personal tags and geographies (books, movies, music, websites, drawings, mappings, photocopies, art works, ... ) it reads as a 'certain' historical relation between human, space and technology.

bolwerK considers the constructed in-between space of architect C.Kieckens, within the art space, Z33, not as a sub-art space with a curatorial reading; a cabinet as 'museum' but as a space with a personal narrative and a social meaning embedded in a neighborhood. The active use of the space for living, eating, working, sleeping implies that the cabinet is more a 'room of collection', in a live, real-time situation.

During PLACE@SPACE Marthe Van Dessel will post live from Z33, as a guest contributor on Free Soil, to connect, publish and share her discourse
with the virtual open public resources of the net.

The the conceptualization of the space as 'ongoing', work-in-progress externalizes the precarity of information, issues of copyright, authorship, knowledge production and hierarchical information networks.
Link of the Week:  
Interview with Fritz Haeg by Nato Thompson

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