Loose Fit City: The Contribution of Bottom-Up Architecture to Urban Design and Planning, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Loose Fit City

The Contribution of Bottom-Up Architecture to Urban Design and Planning, 1st Edition

By Maurice Mitchell, Bo Tang


234 pages

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pub: 2017-10-09
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Drawn from a lifetime’s experience of shared city-making from the bottom up, within rapidly expanding urban metabolisms in Delhi, Mumbai, Agra, Kathmandu, West Africa and London, Loose Fit City is about the ways in which city residents can learn through making to engage with the dynamic process of creating their own city. It looks at the nature and processes involved in loosely fitting together elements made by different people at different scales and times, with different intentions, into a civic entity which is greater than the sum of its parts. It shows how bottom-up learning through making can create a more vibrant and democratic city than the more flattened, top-down, centrally planned, factory made version.

Loose Fit City provides a new take on the subject of architecture, defined as the study and practice of fitting together physical and cultural topography. It provides a comprehensive view of how the fourth dimension of time fits loosely together with the three spatial dimensions at different scales within the human horizon, so as to layer meaning and depth within the places and metabolism of the city fabric.

Table of Contents


List of Illustrations and Credits

00 Introduction

Part One: Context

01 The Idea of Loose Fit

02 Dimension and Fit

03 The Remoteness of Mass Production and Planning

Part Two: Practice

04 Exploring Loose Fit Within the City: Survey and Intent

Architect as Detective and Storyteller

05 Fabricating Within the City: Process and Product

Architect as Maker

Part Three: Timely City-Making

06 Form, Familiarity, Fit, Urban Order and the Human Horizon

07 Loose Fit City




About the Authors


Bo Tang

London, , United Kingdom

Learn more about Bo Tang >>

Maurice Mitchell, author of The Lemonade Stand and Learning from Delhi, practised in the slums of Ghana and Sudan, and as both architect and carpenter, upgraded the Victorian slums of south London. Since 2000, he has sought to unlock the huge physical and cultural reserve trapped within informal urban settlements in Kosovo, India, Sierra Leone and Nepal.

Bo Tang, co-editor of Learning from Delhi and The Architecture of three Freetown Neighbourhoods, is a senior research fellow and lecturer in the Architecture of Rapid Change and Scarce Resources. Her research is focused on collaborative live projects and making as a catalyst for civic engagement and social change.

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning