Do-It-Yourself Urban Design | City & Community Video Abstract


Video

Description

There are numerous ways in which people make illegal or unauthorized alterations to urban space. This video provides an overview of a study that identifies and analyzes one that has been largely ignored in social science: explicitly functional and civic-minded informal contributions that I call “do-it-yourself urban design.” The research, which began as an investigation into more “traditional” nonpermissable alterations, uncovered these cases—from homemade bike lanes and street signs to guerrilla gardens and development proposals—that are gaining visibility in many cities, yet are poorly accounted for by existing perspectives in the literature. The article examines the existing theories and evidence from interviews and other fieldwork in 14 cities in order to develop the new analytical category of DIY urban design. Gordon Douglas, doctoral candidate in the Department of Sociology at The University of Chicago, presents findings on the creators of these interventions, on their motivations to “improve” the built environment where they perceive government and other development actors to be failing, and on the concentration of their efforts in gentrifying areas. This introduces the possibility of conflict and complicates their impact. He argues that DIY urban design has wide-ranging implications for both local communities and broader urban policy.

FEATURING:
Stanley Cousins
Jason Eppink
Matt Tomasulo

BROOKLYN INTRO AND NARRATION
FILMED AND DIRECTED BY
Jon Chen

INTERVIEWS FILMED AND DIRECTED BY
Kelly Loudenberg

PHOTOGRAPHY BY
Gordon Douglas

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS AND VIDEO COURTESY OF
Diego Enrique Hernandez Gonzalez
Jason Eppink & POSTER CHILD
Martin Reis
Sean Bonner
Matt Tomasulo
Ken Mori & Jenny Lang
MUSIC BY
Heath Walton’s High Life

PRODUCED AND EDITED BY
Sawyer-Lux Quality Cuts
WITH SUPPORT FROM
Wiley-Blackwell
AND
The University of Chicago
Social Sciences Division

SPECIAL THANKS TO ALL THE PARTICIPANTS
“Do-it-Yourself Urban Design:
The Social Practice of Informal
Improvement Through Unauthorized Alteration,”
by Gordon C. C. Douglas.
City & Community, vol. 13, no. 1. 2014.

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