Becoming Public: Critical interventions and emergent urban spaces in Sao Paulo

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperResearchpeer-review


Within the last few years, Sao Paulo has changed from only being the Latin American centre of economical growth also to be the place for DIY urbanism and artistic interventions questioning economical growth, gentrification and urban development. In this framing, the paper seeks to answer what role temporary occupations and spaces of resistance play in Sao Paulo based on field research carried out in summer 2012-13.
With the temporary intervention Bolha Immobiliaria (by Muda Coletivo and Basurama Brazil) as illustrative examples, I will argue that in opposition to political social movements, the creative activists or every day urbanists are not only posing an inherent critique of gentrification and economical urban growth; in their ways of operating they also propose new methods for urban transformation.
Whereas architectural urban development is based on master planning, durable architecture and the signature of the architect as mastermind, the design approaches in MUDA_Coletivo and Basurama Brazil suggest alternative participatory, timely and temporary ways of transforming the city.
Finally, the paper seeks to frame DIY practices within the framework of the emergent city: whereas the industrial and modernist city was merely one of functionality and physical design, the emergent city takes place through mediated, timely and ephemeral properties. Thus, an underlying presumption in the paper is that DIY initiatives may inform new practices in conventional architectural planning.
Original languageEnglish
Publication date1 Jun 2013
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2013
EventRadical Gestures: designing protest, resistance and refusal - Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London, London, United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Jun 2013 → …


ConferenceRadical Gestures
LocationCentral Saint Martins College of Arts and Design, University of the Arts London
Country/TerritoryUnited Kingdom
Period01/06/2013 → …
Internet address


  • DIY Urbanism
  • Spatial design
  • emergent properties
  • intervention
  • temporary architecture
  • Design process
  • urban design
  • urban transformation
  • Activism
  • Protest
  • Urbanism

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