In the first part of a four-part series for Places, Mimi Zeiger looks at how the trend of DIY urbanism is playing out.
"Our current recession is inspiring its own strategies and tactics: It's increasingly a catch-all for a host of urban interventions. This is a trend that I like to describe with a mouthful of a title: Provisional, Opportunistic, Ubiquitous, and Odd Tactics in Guerilla and DIY Practice and Urbanism. With this verbaciousness, I hope to capture the tactical multiplicity and inventive thinking that have cropped up in the vacuum of more conventional commissions. These days vacant lots offer sites for urban farming, mini-golf, and dumpster pools. Trash recycles into a speculative housing prototype (see the Tiny Pallet House). Whether it's The Living's Amphibious Architecture or Mark Shephard's Serendipitor, the built environment speaks through mobile devices. Retail spaces hit by the recession are fodder for reinvention, as the art organization No Longer Empty transforms unleased storefronts into temporary galleries. Even the street itself is reclaimed. REBAR's annual initiative, Park(ing) Day, urges global participants to use a pranksters wit to turn parking spaces into pocket parks, one quarter at a time."