Tuesday, November 30, 2010

DIY Urbanism: Call for Projects

As part of the exhibition and symposium The Right to the City, we will be presenting a collection of realised and unrealised work that challenges the spatial politics of the City, namely Sydney, and use a bottom-up-approach to transforming urban spaces. We are looking for artists, activists, planners and architects who are involved in “remaking” the city in more socially connected and sustainable ways, who use a do-it-yourself (or design-it-yourself) approach.

The work may have already been created or be just an initial idea. What we need are images and project information that can be collected online and exhibited at the Tin Sheds Gallery, Sydney in April 2011.

The project will present an overview of the current urban condition - the concerns and issues that are bubbling away under the surface, and distinct from large-scale, commercial and spectacle-driven urban developments.

We particularly encourage ideas that challenge the hegemony of many of the developments under construction, and open up the process of urban design.
Projects may include micro-architectures, performative urban interventions, temporary installations and strategic design.

We would like the ideas to specifically address Sydney, although the call is open worldwide.
The project DIY Urbanism is in association with the Exhibition and Symposium The Right to the City curated by Zanny Begg and Lee Stickells.

For more information please contact DIY Urbanism curator Joni Taylor.
Email: diyurbanism@gmail.com

DIY Urbanism: Submitting your Idea

Image Requirements:
Up to 10 images

Project Information:
Project Title:
Team / Anonymous:
Project Description (up to 200 words):
Reasonings (up to 200 words):

Deadline is Feb 1, 2011.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


It is a much quoted fact that by 2030, more than 3 quarters of the planet’s population will live in cities. While this creates a kind of hysteria in the upper echelons of planning and development departments worldwide, there are other glaring social and cultural factors to be considered in this new move towards an urban existence. It goes beyond architecture and the single dwelling, and it includes the networks and flows and accidents that occur.

DIY Urbanism is the shared experience of designing and participating in the creation of our urban environment. It uses a bottom-up and participatory approach. It includes the tactics of small-scale intervention, experimental and micro-architectures, the temporary, the nomadic and the add-on. It’s a radical urbanism, one that challenges the current dominance of top-down urban planning and capitalist development.

It includes activist strategies and creative resistance to challenge the forces of control that are at work in the city. A spontaneous city should be encouraged, offering up opportunities to experience and experiment in the urban and public sphere. By being playful in the city and street, the functions that are dominant in the program are challenged.

It can be a temporary or new use for a transitional space. Like site specific and research based public art that examines situations occurring in a neighborhood or location, where public interaction is vital. The Zwischennutzing of gaps , terrain vague, wastelands, residual spaces and forgotten or unoccupied territories offer up a myriad of opportunities for creative use or misuse. It’s a chance to hack the city, to manipulate the plan.

We cannot deny the need for more housing in this burgeoning city, but what are the alternative forms we can experiment with? Can the community play a role in housing design and communal living? What kinds of democratic processes are there to participate in for the future city? Planning processes need to open up and made transparent. The community must be involved in building its own city to symbolize the diversity it encapsulates.

In keeping with the worldwide trend in sustainable design, it is obviously clear that any future direction needs to incorporate ecological understanding. But other issues arise. Is it more sustainable to develop new green technologies, or simply reuse and recycle existing buildings and ruins? In an act reeking of Disney’s Imagineering, will the industrial heritage of place like Cockatoo Island be forgotten under man made and picturesque rolling hills?

The city of Sydney is at a turning point. The next decade will see many new large developments built, and the future urban landscape is one in flux.

Now is the time for speculation, inspiration and dreaming.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Monday, February 15, 2010

DIY Urbanism Participants

The Roundtable brings together architects, urban thinkers, designers and artists to discuss DIY ideas for the future city.

DIY Urbanism aims to

- Share experiences, skills and tools in defining and building local spaces

- Examine how the dominant system of urban planning can be challenged

- Discuss our local Sydney landscape and create initiatives that may consolidate change

- Create opportunities to research and investigate spatial politics


Robyn Backen (Artist)

Jack Barton (Urban Researcher, Cityfutures)

Nigel Helyer (Artist)

Katie Hepworth (Urban Researcher)

Gilo Holtzman (Architect)

Hugo Moline (Architect)

Joni Taylor (Curator/Researcher)

Zanny Begg and Keg De Souza (Artists/Curators - You Are Here)

Roundtable Discussion

"DIY Urbanism" is an informal roundtable discussion happening as part of the Urban Transformations event at ClubHouse. It will take place on the 18 February, 2010 at the Perfomance Space in Carriageworks, Sydney.

The main focus of the event is to bring together a radical and diverse group of architects, designers, artists and urban thinkers to critically engage with each other about the built environment, and to develop creative solutions for our cities. It aims to be a platform where ideas and strategies from a broad spectrum of the creative community can be developed. In particular we hope to present a bottom up approach to urban design.