While artists, activists and event organizers have embraced the pop-up phenomenon, urban visionaries have remained overwhelmingly concerned with permanence, writes David Lepeska.
That may be changing, according to The Temporary City, a new book by urban planner Peter Bishop and environmental scientist Lesley Williams that outlines a greater appreciation for immediate outcomes and temporary activities among planners, architects, developers and city officials.
“An alternative approach to master planning is beginning to emerge,” the authors write.
Temporary uses are nothing new. Nearly all of the 200 buildings of Chicago's magnificent 1893 White City came and went within a few years.* And the reclaiming of public space has been going on for more than half a century, in free zones like Copenhagen's Christiania, a squatters' settlement founded in 1971.
The continuing economic crisis has curtailed development funding and increased unemployment, particularly among the young and educated. Many cities have lost sizable chunks of population, leading to vast swathes of vacant property. And today's constant communications capabilities have made organizing events much simpler and quicker.
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