Contemporary Cities After (In)Occupation

Presentation of several projects at the
In Between Public Policies for Transitional Spaces Public conference event 
Goethe Institut, São Paulo, Brazil.
February 15th-­‐17th, 2016

Jean-François Prost: Contemporary Cities After (In)Occupation

In various gentrified and global cities of today, vacant lots, terrains vagues, and derelict lands have progressively disappeared. This reality is visible in cities such as London, New York and Montreal and is also found in an incipient form in megalopolis such as Mexico D.F. These spaces having been described as sites of creative actions for their indeterminate character in the 80’s and 90’s, how can we reinvest their interstitial power to sustain their unforeseen possibilities and social potential? What kind of spatial techniques can resist processes of homogenization, maintain existing differences while developing new infraurban qualities for futures cities? What kind of actions may maintain the possibility of ’emergence’ in the integration of indeterminacy within larger structures and permanent public policies? This presentation will explore how the temporal reality of in-between spaces can stimulate different forms of citizen actions in the context of which space is understood as a relational quality that links bodies, places and buildings rather than a form of occupation. Looking at a series of examples in generic, controlled and hostile environments, I will question how the activation of temporal interstices, as revealed by the action, is opening various spaces to new in-between and trans places and situations. Focusing specifically on spatial qualities of flexibility, ambiguity, and indeterminacy, I will examine how undetermined temporal conditions can preserve differences while simultaneously generating new ones.

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