Austerity Urbanism: Connecting Strategies and Tactics for Participatory Placemaking

Sara, Rachel and Jones, Matthew and Rice, Louis (2020) Austerity Urbanism: Connecting Strategies and Tactics for Participatory Placemaking. CoDesign: International Journal of CoCreation in Design and the Arts. ISSN 1571-0882

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Austerity has led to a growing interest in smallscale urban practices that engage community groups in participatory placemaking as an alternative to developing government or commercially funded parks and urban spaces. These approaches draw on bottom-up tactics to empower local community groups to take ownership of small communal spaces but are also often supported strategically by small financial grants provided by local and national governments. In this article, we draw on de Certeau’s theory of strategies and tactics to explore the relationship between topdown strategies and bottom-up tactics in urban placemaking in response to the politics of austerity. We explore this process through critical analysis of our own participatory action research project to engage in the ideation and implementation of a community run, ‘Pocket-Park’. We argue that the complex interplay between participatory bottom-up tactics and more formal top-down strategies provides an approach to placemaking that uniquely facilitates creative practice and allows for a resurgence in noncommercialized public placemaking. We identify a process of manoeuvres (or strategic tactics) between de Certeau’s two concepts in which key participants undertake a translational process, to unlock the resources needed to support tactical placemaking.

Item Type: Article
Identification Number:
21 April 2020Accepted
13 May 2020Published Online
Uncontrolled Keywords: austerity, participatory design, community activism, tactics, strategies
Subjects: CAH13 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01 - architecture, building and planning > CAH13-01-01 - architecture
Divisions: Faculty of Arts, Design and Media > Birmingham School of Architecture and Design
Depositing User: Matthew Jones
Date Deposited: 29 May 2020 12:54
Last Modified: 13 May 2022 03:00

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