The Temporary City
Routledge – 2012 – 248 pages
Most of the professional training, thinking and strategies of architects, urban designers and planners, are strictly three-dimensional. In reality of course the city is four dimensional, and one needs to acknowledge the influence of time in planning and design strategies. Similarly, there has been relatively little analysis of the importance of interim, short-term or ‘meanwhile’ activities in urban areas. In an era of increasing pressure on scarce resources, we cannot wait for long-term solutions to vacancy or dereliction. Instead, we need to view temporary uses as increasingly legitimate and important in their own right. They can be a powerful tool through which we can drip-feed initiatives for incremental change – as and when we have the resources – while being guided by a loose-fit vision.
Peter Bishop and Lesley Williams explore the growing interest among practitioners at the cutting edge of architecture, urban design and regeneration, in temporary, interim, ‘pop-up’ or ‘meanwhile’ uses for land and buildings in our urban areas. They explore the origins and the social, economic and technological drivers behind this phenomenon, and its place within modern planning theory and practice. The Temporary City challenges our preoccupation with long-term strategies and masterplans and questions our ability to achieve these in the face of increasing resource constraints and political and economic uncertainty. The book includes sixty-eight diverse case studies from Europe and North America which illustrate the range of temporary use opportunities and the benefits that these can bring.
This is essential reading for all those struggling to address the current problems of urban renewal in an era of great change. It offers a prism through which to view the city as a rich mosaic of time-limited, but inspiring urban interventions.
"…a hugely inspiring read." – Property Week
"The Temporary City is a welcome addition to the literature on planning and regeneration – whilst written independently of the recent Mary Portas review of Britain’s high streets, the book deals, from a different direction, with many similar issues affecting our cities. Coming from authors with a practical grounding in the issues of design, planning and delivery it is a particularly valuable and informed contribution to the debate on the future of our cities." - NewStart Magazine
"The Temporary City's…analytical framework offers a clever review of the logic behind a more responsive approach to urban planning, conceived not as a guidebook but as a proposal to understand this phenomenon, to look into its drivers and find reasons to show how this can be more than hype and become a relevant instrument in the future." – Ciudades a Escala Humana
"The Temporary City is a decent and thorough-full document that combines inspiring examples with interesting academic reflections." – The Pop-Up City
"Anyone wishing to capture some Olympic spirit in their projects would do well to begin with this book." – Juliet Bidgood, Urban Design, Autumn 2012, Issue 124
"The Temporary City is a smart glossy book packed with bright images and sharp ideas […] [It] will have a presence and impact enduring well beyond that of some of the activities it describes." – Stewart Williams, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia, in the Australian Planner
"The Temporary City is a valuable addition to the explorative literature on temporary urban interventions. Its broad approach helps raising a lot of interesting question about the incentives for temporary uses, the facilitators and its consequences."— Sabina Uffer, London School of Economics and Political Science
1. Introduction: The Temporary City 2. The Dream of Permanence 3. Temporary Urbanism: Drivers and Conditions 4. Site Life: The Private Sector Response 5. Temporary Arenas for Consumption 6. The City as a Stage 7. Culture and Counterculture 8. Activism 9. Creative Cities and the Gentrification Dilemma 10. Re-imagining the City: Planning for Temporary Activity 11. The Four-Dimensional City
Peter Bishop trained in town planning at Manchester University and has spent his entire career working in London. Over the past 25 years he has been a Planning Director in four different Central London boroughs and has worked on major projects including Canary Wharf, the development of the BBC’s campus at White City and the King's Cross development.
In 2006 he was appointed as the first Director of Design for London, the Mayor’s architecture and design studio. He is an advisor to the Mayor of London and a Director at the architectural firm Allies and Morrison – Urban Practitioners. Peter lectures and teaches extensively, is a Visiting Professor at the Faculty of Architecture and the Built Environment at Nottingham Trent University, an Honorary Fellow of University College London and an Honorary Fellow of the RIBA.
Lesley Williams trained in environmental sciences in Bradford and in town planning at the Bartlett School of Architecture, and is a writer and sculptor. She has worked for the Civic Trust, CAG Consultants and the Environment Trust. For the last 15 years she has worked as a freelance consultant specialising in the design and facilitation of stakeholder involvement processes, consensus building and partnership development.