Events and Ecologies of Design and Urban Activism: From Downtown São Paulo to the Peripheries

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The aim of this article is to explore ecologies of design activism over time in the city of São Paulo. By examining the outburst of design activism in São Paulo in 2012-13. It firstly investigates how and to what extent DIY urbanism and design activism have the potential to reshape urban power relations. Secondly it looks into the aftermath of the DIY urbanist projects that took place in 2012-13 in light of recent tactical and spatial design practices in the peripheries of São Paulo. The article argues that while the early cases of tactical urbanism addressed rights to the city concerning the use of public spaces, they also reproduced existing power relations between center and periphery. As recognized in the recent collaborative projects in the peripheries, the limitations of the earlier activities question the colonizing aspects of collaborative design activism but also leads to new forms of collaboration with the urban poor in the city’s margins.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationDesign and Political Dissent : Spaces, Visuals, Materialities
EditorsJilly Traganou
Place of PublicationNew York
Publication date15 Jan 2021
ISBN (Print)9780815374220
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2021
SeriesRoutledge Research in Design Studies


  • Design
  • Dissent
  • sustainability
  • Space
  • Ecology
  • Co-design
  • Environmental communication
  • Environmentalism
  • architecture
  • visual culture
  • Activism
  • Urbanisme
  • Urban design
  • Sustainable cities
  • resilient cities

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