What do pop-up shops and homelessness have in common?

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24 February 2012

What do the 'DIY urbanism' movement and homelessness have in common? Whether it's a temporary studio, a pop-up shop, a sleeping bag in a doorway or a tarpaulin under a bridge, all are informal responses to the scarcity of space for everyone's needs and ambitions. But while DIY urbanism is hailed as a creative, revitalising force, the homeless are still marginalised in many cities.

 

A group of young fashion designers occupy a studio space while the property group who manages it seeks a corporate tenancy. Next door, a snap-happy couple set up a temporary photography gallery in a disused shopfront owned by a wealthy local family. Across the street, a discussion group meets every week in a time-shared office space while it is being remodelled. Another group holds a bake sale and zine fair out the front about once a month. 

Elsewhere in the city, a man in his thirties keeps his sleeping bag and a couple of milk crates under the steps leading up to a large empty building on a street corner. Across town six families erect tents in a city park, planning to stay for a time. Down by the river, five middle-aged women erect a tarpaulin under a bridge, filling the space with an old couch and a bag of donated groceries.

How are these two scenes related?

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