1st Edition

Insurgent Public Space Guerrilla Urbanism and the Remaking of Contemporary Cities

Edited By Jeffrey Hou Copyright 2010
    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    288 Pages
    by Routledge

    Winner of the EDRA book prize for 2012.

    In cities around the world, individuals and groups are reclaiming and creating urban sites, temporary spaces and informal gathering places. These ‘insurgent public spaces’ challenge conventional views of how urban areas are defined and used, and how they can transform the city environment. No longer confined to traditional public areas like neighbourhood parks and public plazas, these guerrilla spaces express the alternative social and spatial relationships in our changing cities.

    With nearly twenty illustrated case studies, this volume shows how instances of insurgent public space occur across the world. Examples range from community gardening in Seattle and Los Angeles, street dancing in Beijing, to the transformation of parking spaces into temporary parks in San Francisco.

    Drawing on the experiences and knowledge of individuals extensively engaged in the actual implementation of these spaces, Insurgent Public Space is a unique cross-disciplinary approach to the study of public space use, and how it is utilized in the contemporary, urban world. Appealing to professionals and students in both urban studies and more social courses, Hou has brought together valuable commentaries on an area of urbanism which has, up until now, been largely ignored.

    1. (Not) Your Everyday Public Space Jeffrey Hou  Part 1: Appropriating  2. Dancing in the Streets of Beijing: Improvised Uses within the Urban System Caroline Chen  3. Latino Urbanism in Los Angeles: A Model for Urban Improvisation and Reinvention James Rojas  4. Taking Place: Rebar’s Absurd Tactics in Generous Urbanism Blaine Merker for Rebar  Part 2: Reclaiming  5. eXperimentcity: Culturing + Publicizing Sustainable Development of Berlin’s Freiräume Michael A. LaFond  6. Re-City, Tokyo: Putting "Publicness" into the Urban Building Stocks Shin Aiba and Osamu Nishida  7. Claiming Residual Spaces in the Heterogeneous City Erick Villagomez  Part 3: Pluralizing  8. Claiming Latino Space: Building Cultural Capacity in the Public Realm Michael Rios  9. ‘ Night Market’ in Seattle: Community Eventscape and the Remaking of Public Space Jeffrey Hou  10. Making Places of Fusion and Resistance: the Experiences of Immigrant Women in Taiwanese Townships Hung-Ying Chen and Jia-He Lin  11. How Outsiders Find Home in the City: Chung Shan in Taipei Pina Wu  Part 4: Transgressing  12. Machizukuri House and Its Expanding Networks: Making New Public Realm in Private Homes Yasuyoshi Hayashi  13. Niwaroju: Private Gardens Serving the Public Realm Isami Kinoshita  14. Farmhouses as Urban/Rural Public Space Sawako Ono, Ryoko Sato, and Mima Nishiyama  Part 5: Uncovering  15. Urban Archives: Public Memories of Everyday Places Irina Gendelman, Tom Dobrowolsky, and Giorgia Aiello  16. Funny…It Doesn’t Look Like Insurgent Space: the San Francisco Bureau of Urban Secrets and the Practice of History as a Public Art Jeannene Przyblyski  17. Mapping the Space of Desire: Brothel as a City Landmark Yung-Teen Annie Chiu  18. Spatial Limbo: Re-inscribing Landscapes in Temporal Suspension Min Jay Kang  Part 6: Contesting  19. Public Space Activism, Toronto and Vancouver: Using the Banner of Public Space to Build Capacity and Activate Change Andrew Pask  20. Urban Agriculture in the Making of Insurgent Spaces in Los Angeles and Seattle Teresa M. Mares and Devon G. Peña  21. When Overwhelming Needs Meets Underwhelming Prospects: Sustaining Community Open Space Activism in East St. Louis Laura Lawson and Janni Sorensen


    Jeffrey Hou is Chair and Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Washington, Seattle. His research and practice focus on design activism and engaging marginalized social groups in the making of public space. He received his Ph.D. in Environmental Planning and M.Arch. from University of California, Berkeley.

    "[W]hat this book provides through its narratives are strategies which have led to at least some remaking of the cities mentioned and through that hope for more inclusive cities in the future."International Planning Studies Journal, Brian Simpson, University of New England, Australia

    "All chapters are short and to the point; they are written in a reader-friendly manner, with a limited amount of theoretical abstractions and jargon. Furthermore, the case studies are illustrated by a good number of well-chosen and eye-catching photographs."Society and Space - Environment and Planning D, Ioannis Chorianopoulos, University of the Aegean, Greece

    "For the reader open to rethinking the nature of public space, Insurgent Public Space is an energizing read."Carolina Planning, Maire Dekle

    "Due to the book’s broad range of articles, the book will appeal not only to serious scholars, students and academics, but also to working professionals and citizens whose personal interests touch on the public realm. The discussion on public defiance has broadened to include more people and a more nuanced understanding of public spaces, and Hou’s book offers a refreshing, critical glimpse into these acts of spatial resistance."Berkeley Planning Journal, Nicola Szibbo, UC Berkeley