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2024 | Book

TEMPORARY: Citizenship, Architecture and City


About this book

This book offers a comprehensive overview of forces shaping urban renewal and the sustainable and inclusive transformation of contemporary cities. It discusses temporariness and uncertainty of citizenship, participation, and inclusion, as well as the energy and digital transformation, merging different perspectives, such as the social, philosophical, economic, and architectural ones. Based on revised and extended contributions to the International Congress “TEMPORARY: Citizenship, Architecture and City", held virtually on November 20-21, 2022, from the University of Bologna, this book offers extensive information and a thought-provoking reading to researchers in architecture, anthropology, social and environmental policy, as well as to professionals and policy makers involved in planning the city of the future.

Table of Contents

On Temporary: Citizenship, Architecture and City
Pierpaolo Ascari, Andrea Borsari, Annalisa Trentin

Exploring Temporary

The Crisis of Citizenship. A Symptom of Societal Destructuration
A widespread socio-political diagnosis suggests that renewed reform processes are needed to address the social and environmental crises facing contemporary societies. To understand what this implies from the viewpoint of societal analysis, a retrospective look at the reform processes that characterised the substantial development of welfare after the World War II as well as its later crisis is necessary. The chapter reconstructs these processes with reference to the United Kingdom during the Clement Attlee’s Labour Government since 1945. It shows how the institutionalisation of civil, political and social citizenship rights influenced the building of a shared consensus about the fundamentals of civil coexistence. To understand its later crisis the guiding principles of the neo-liberal worldview as well as the modalities of their implementation since the 1980s are presented. The focus is here on the social fragmentation and the loss of social legitimacy that these processes induced. The main societal phenomenon that emerges from the analysis is that of a failing social structuration that comes to expression in the ‘intermittent normativity’ of contemporary societies. The question thus arises as to how a resumption of regulatory societal structuration in the sense of an ecologically aware twenty-first century welfare can develop. In this respect, the chapter analyses the reciprocal action between the high social plasticity of contemporary societies and the transformative potential of social action.
Gregor Fitzi
The Dangerous Adventure of Designing Bubbles
Bubbles are concretisations of temporary spaces. On the one hand, the bubble constitutes a structural, inflatable element characterised by a specific, malleable, transparent materiality; on the other hand, it represents a conceptual spatial device for expressing a specific feature of contemporary anthropological spaces, a place of exposure, in which the boundaries between outside and inside, between soil and sky, seem to disappear. In this essay, I will first reflect on the ephemeralisation of space, focusing on the definition of space as a network. Second, I will elaborate on this theoretical diagnosis by drawing on work by Vilém Flusser, who explicitly proposes the bubble as a space of contemporary living. Third, through discussing specific examples, I will attempt to develop a critique of bubble spaces as a dimension of contemporary design.
Lidia Gasperoni
Whose Shadow? On Camps and Counter-Camps
Confronting with the current proliferation of administrative detention facilities for displaced and illegalized persons, the paper traces the different manifestations of this specific border apparatus back to a more general and abstract “camp form”—one whose origins date back to the colonial realm, finding in the colonial subject the first internable figure. To such institutional form, it opposes the relentless production of informal, occupied, and often clandestine encampments, dwelled by people on the move and scattered along as many hidden and illegalized routes. By rereading current makeshift camps and hidden routes though the historical lens of the US pre-civil war Underground Railroad, the article suggests to conceive of them in terms of as many counter-spaces of a possible “Underground Europe” whose material and unauthorized existence, often supported by criminalized solidarity networks, mirrors and reverses that one of a “Borderland” or “fortress Europe”. By the same token, it suggests to conceive of these temporary, precarious and informal zones in terms of as many “reverse shot” of the institutional “camp-form”, defining them as counter-camps and focusing on the political, spatial and temporal relation between these two opposed polarities.
Federico Rahola
Inhabiting the Ecological Conversion: Experiments in Diavolution
The paper reflects on the ecological transition from a political perspective. An attempt is made here to reassess Alex Langer’s approach to ecology through the lens of ‘conversion’, examining the implications of his legacy for a new vision of citizenship. A suggestion is made to consider what could be the alternative to a ‘symbolic’ take on the ecological transition, retrieving a few indications from Peirce’s pragmaticist philosophy.
Andrea Mubi Brighenti
Images of the People. Populus, Plethos, Plebs and Ethnos
Numerous scholars have explored the genealogy of concepts such as “citizen”, “the people” and “sovereignty” from the perspective of the history of ideas and political sciences. In the last fifteen years, however, the academic interest in these analyses has been supplemented by lively debates that have occasionally reached the mainstream public arena in the Global North. In this context, social media platforms have played a major role, circulating innovative “images of the people” that tap in the history of political iconography. The essay focuses on the people as a performative entity whose contemporary visual instantiations deserve theoretical analysis. In particular, it combines the conceptual tools of political iconography with the framework delineated by a recent study about four meanings of the term “the people” (the people as “plebs”, as “populus”, as “ethnos” and as “plethos”) in order to analyse brief case studies, and to suggest the need to conduct more in-depth analysis of visual negotiations of “the people” on social media.
Jacopo Galimberti
Making the Temporary Become Chronic: The Transit City
When the French authorities resolved to dismantle the Parisian bidoville, the new dispositif they resorted to was that of transit cities, a programmatically provisional solution that still today, however, awaits to be completely overcome. In Nanterre, for example, the definitive reconversion of the cité des Potagers into a district of rent-controlled housing will only be completed in 2025, but in the meantime the entire history of these complexes will have resulted in the chronicisation of an “unfinished urbanity”, as Abdelmalek Sayad defined it, determined on the border between the dimension of the temporary and the more implicit one of the class, gender and race hierarchies that the reference to the temporary allows to eternalise.
Pierpaolo Ascari
Navigating Crises. Transient Communities for Urban Preparedness
The crisis has been challenging cities and urban planners for decades, producing theories, scenarios, and imaginaries aimed at governing its emergence and its consequences. The latest of such crises—the COVID-19 pandemic—seems to have once again brought attention to the unsolved urgency of planning to tackle the changes and stresses caused by insurgent events, which once again appears to involve cities and their spaces as holders of both the reasons and the possible solutions to the crisis consequences. Despite the abundance of possible approaches, however, the debate has not yet clearly highlighted the operative lessons learned from these challenges. In this vein, the urban studies debate has been reflecting on the possibility to act provisionally but in a preparedness perspective, opening alternative paths, rather than proposing solutions, planning for uncertainty and complexity with temporary means and actions. An attitude that requires both the flexibility and adaptability of consolidated urban systems and the affirmation and legitimisation of collective and practical instances in an operational institutional dimension. The article briefly reviews the relevant positions in the relationship between cities and crisis; next, it highlights the role, responsibilities and relevance of planning to inhabit the consequences of the crisis, from a preparedness perspective; lastly, it calls to consider the potential alternative answers resulting from interaction with temporary communities of practice.
Martina Massari
Energy Community and Citizenship as Enabling Actions for Integrated Energy Plan Implementation and Urban Energy Transition
One of the main challenges of the future is to create climate-neutral and smart cities—with zero CO2 emissions by 2050. Cities have to be conceived, planned and designed in order to remain competitive and survive growing populations, scarce resources and changeable and unpredictable built environments by putting sustainability, health and the quality of citizens’ lives at the centre. Starting from the climate-neutral city vision, this paper aims to investigate the link between integrated energy plans developed by cities and the emergence of energy community as enabling action for the implementation of plans. Methodological examples of integrated energy plans, such as the SmartEnCity (SmartEnCity—Towards Smart Zero CO2 Cities across Europe, H2020 GA691883) methodology and the Sustainable Energy and Climate Action Plan (SECAP) developed by the European Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy, are considered. The analysed GECO (Green Energy Communities, EIT Climate KIC TC_2.2.15_190736_P125-1) and GRETA (Green Energy Transition Actions, H2020 GA101022317) research projects attempt to solve the complex issue of coordinating multiple stakeholders, different sources of funding and innovative technologies under the umbrella of a legislative and contractual framework in a replicable scheme all over Europe. The lesson learnt of this paper contributes to highlighting how integrated energy plans can favour the emergence of energy community, as legal entity, and energy citizenship, as new definition of consumer, and help to move from the planning to implementation phases, as well as opening to new questions that will be developed in future research.
Serena Pagliula
Art of Temporary Living: Looking Inside Student Rooms
Through four brief fragments, this chapter establishes a cause, an approach, and a context for an aesthetic inquiry into student rooms as places of transitory dwelling and materialisations of an art of temporary living. First, based on the notion of the “arts of doing” (arts de faire), the art of temporary living is defined as the ensemble of tactical, everyday practices that shape and are shaped by the students’ landscape of home. Second, the infra-ordinary gaze is presented as an approach for investigating how the basic level of everyday life is lived through its mundane practices and materialities, Third, through a discussion of Georges Perec’s novel La Vie mode d’emploi, and by situating it within the wider context of the visual culture of voyeuristic illustrations of urban domestic interiors, a certain aesthetic is defined for such illustrations along the lines of architectural precision coupled with an exhaustive attention to the mundane traces of lived space. Fourth, the student bedroom is discussed and studied through original illustrations created based on ads posted on online platforms for renting or sub-letting rooms to students in Bologna, Italy. Finally, two recurring material elements of the student room are explored in order to shed some more light on the art of temporary living as practiced by university students.
Arshia Eghbali
Permanent versus Temporary: A Struggle within City Transformations
Permanence and temporariness are two counterposed terms that characterise architecture and urban transformations. This essay intends to address some of the many interpretations of this binomial: from the role of urban permanence and the temporaneity of use, as addressed by Aldo Rossi in The Architecture of the City, to the concept of the temporary duration of the life of buildings and the concept of conservation, presented by Rem Koolhaas with his research Cronocaos. Next, the fundamental role of unplanned areas is analysed as a place for experimentation of the temporary, as a means to test future scenarios, taking as an example the survey conducted by the Urban Catalyst group, and then concluding with the experience of the IPA—Institute for Public Architecture, in the desire to reduce the transitory nature of living, avoiding gentrification and offering a permanent living condition to the most disadvantaged social groups. The examples presented are intended to illustrate how architecture and the city often live in the balance between permanence and transience, that there are no absolute instances and that only a well-structured architecture, on a formal basis that refers to a collective memory, can embrace the continuous transience of function and always remain vital within the urban organism.
Annalisa Trentin
Dissonant Times
The contribution aims at analyzing the different layers of meanings contained in the notion of “dissonance” from the aesthetic, cognitive and emotional point of view. To then make them available for the exploration of the different forms of “dissonant time” analyzed by contemporary thought, in particular by thinkers such as H. Blumenberg, R. Bodei, R. Koselleck, E. Traverso, E. Bloch, H. Rosa, G. Wilder and the studies on the “new urban world”. In this context, notions such as the following become relevant for understanding the temporal experience of late modernity: gap between world time and life time; intertwining and overlapping of future-facing past and present; changing and at different speeds “geologically” multi-layered relations between space of experience and horizon of expectation; “presentism” and breakdown of social frameworks of memory and individualistic reification of the past; “contemporaneity of the noncontemporary”; montage and kaleidoscopic temporal dialectic; disconnection between spheres of economic, social and generational life and lack of time; multiple temporalities and cross-connections across urban spaces; concrete utopianism and multiple lines of time. So that dissonance seems to be the most appropriate conceptual and figural tool to effectively render the condition of contemporary temporal experience in its real irreconcilabilities and perspectives.
Andrea Borsari

For a Lemmary of Temporary Citizenship

The concept of citizenship has traditionally been associated with privilege and the rules defined by nation-states. However, the increasing integration of digital technology calls for a reconsideration of the concept of citizenship as a system of relations rather than a static condition. The assemblage theory offers a way to understand citizenship as a dynamic, temporal, and spatial concept involving continuous transformation and networks of interdependent relationships. This shift from a fixed understanding of belonging to a more fluid and dynamic concept requires a reevaluation of the role of non-human actors and the importance of multiple, shifting narratives of time. Emerging digital technologies are enabling new forms of citizenship that are no longer tied to territorial jurisdictions, but instead are based on participation in distributed virtual communities. The development of decentralised technologies such as blockchain offers the potential for creating new institutions that enable a more agile and rapid recodification of citizenship status. However, the decentralisation of citizenship also raises concerns about the potential for centralised control and the need to protect decentralised activities. A key challenge is to imagine a strategy that can combine centralisation and decentralisation in a way that enables new forms of citizenship based on belonging to extraterritorial, distributed, and decentralised values and affinities.
Andrea Cattabriga
Social structures are living a significant phase shift from complicatedness to complexity and they must exercise their plasticity to cope with the continuous movement from one place to another and the rapid changes of context that require them to adopt always different models of knowledge, interaction and behavior. This attribute of “permanent change” has a deep influence on the meaning of “society” and its founding pillars including that of “citizenship”, whatever permanent or temporary it is. The following essay aims to investigate temporary citizenships as a “transition”, meaning a series of interconnected changes that take place in different environments but can influence each other and generate continuous innovation. How can the temporary citizen contribute to produce innovation and modify knowledge processes, rituals and approaches within a given territory, a context, a community made of diversity, divergence and difference as potentials traits of deviance?
Valentina De Matteo
Hacktivism/Sexual Tourism
The first part analises the problem of temporary citizenship through the case of !Mediengruppe Bitnik’s Random Darknet Shopper, a piece of hactivism art that has been initially arrested by police, then released. The semiotic concept of discursive regimes is here used to inspect the conflicts between the legal, the artist and the technical istances that are involved. This phenomenon allows to emphasise the discord that emerges between a performative and a right-based citizenship. It also shows how the concept of citizenship, if understood in this paradigm, assumes an extension that can include otherwise unforeseen instances, such as masses of data and goods. The second part develops the concept of sex tourism, attempting to show that this species of tourism is indistinguishable from its genus. Both, in fact, involve and are fuelled by urban zooning phenomena. In the case of sex tourism, it is fed by its illegal nature. After briefly overviewing the global politics concerning sex working legislation, the conclusion focuses on the two processes of projecting a metaphysical truth onto the phenomenon and of doubling down on zoning in the psychological introjection by workers.
Francesco Di Maio
Life Cycle Thinking/Life Cycle Phase
The economic model that has characterised the last 150 years is the so-called “linear model” and the extraction of new material and its decommissioning has led to the current climate crisis. Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) is an approach that looks for strategies to reduce the impact and the consumption of resources by goods and services throughout their entire cycle. LCT is needed to operate even where environmental impacts are forgotten, such as transitory residence situations like tourism, reception buildings for migrants, student/worker accommodation, and social housing. These buildings are rarely renovated and they are often at the end of their natural life, but are used again as a residence, giving rise to a new cycle with its own impact. Each type of approach based on the concept of life cycle provides for interventions, with precise purposes, differentiated for each single phase of an object. In this cycle, the phases alternate one after another, in a continuous transformation of matter and energy that leads to the creation and use of goods and services, and each phase brings with it a profound change in the conditions set in place in the previous one. Similarly, the life of each individual can also be divided into stages, with the most varied characteristics and facets, which mark the passage of years. For sustainable development, it is necessary to be aware that every phase of life of a good or person has an impact and must be studied and adjusted to minimise it.
Lorna Dragonetti
Time-Based Packaged Goods/Valigia (Suitcase, Luggage)
The first lemma defines what are those packaged goods conditioned by the “time” variable. A people-planet-based design approach opens up a consideration with respect to those goods (and thus packaged goods) where the functional dimension intersects with a temporal dimension on the ‘end of life’. The dimension of temporary citizenship and its repercussions on packaged goods is also explored. In the second lemma, on the other hand, the investigation focuses on a particular type of case, the suitcase, which introduces the “space” variable within the research. In addition to an investigation of the object’s role over the centuries, we explore how the suitcase intertwines its history with that of migration, becoming the intimate baggage of migrants to carry a constellation of small objects that relate past, present, and future.
Clara Giardina
Adaptation/Cueva and Tomas De Terreno
In psychology, the term adaptation refers to the individual’s adaptation to the environment, the relationship that the individual establishes with the environment in which he or she acts and operates, so as to be able to obtain the satisfaction of his or her physical and social needs; on the other hand, in biology, it refers to the modification to which organisms are subjected when environmental conditions change: individuals and organisms interacting—and adapting—to the environment. Interaction and integration, moreover, are fundamental aspects of contributing to a civil society, understood as the totality of associative, economic, cultural and social relations between citizens in complex societies. Starting from the debate on ‘TEMPORARY Citizenship, Architecture and City’, the cue of the interpretation of citizenship—according to distinct connotations—offers an interesting stimulus for research. The lemma proposal aims to study adaptive forms of architecture, according to an interdisciplinary approach, in particular by addressing a preliminary description of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS), drawing from disciplines such as biology, so as to contemplate different definitions and interactions between various subjects: organisms, individuals and environments. Finally, some examples of ‘adaptive architecture’ are described.
Marco Iannantuono
Temporary Uses/Pop-Up Spaces
The traditional way of planning the city is often too slow to meet the quick changes in the needs and behaviour of inhabitants, which are occurring much faster than in the past. Cities’ layouts change accordingly, with the consequence that many buildings and infrastructures remain under-used or empty since they are no longer able to fit the needs of their users. From a spatial planning perspective, abandoned or underused buildings are considered the most valid alternative for cities to thrive without consuming a large amount of virgin soil, a finite resource. However, reuse practices are often at odds with economic, political and technical barriers that may prevent the transformation. Temporary uses can represent a lever in this perspective, giving citizens and communities the opportunity to affirm their right to participate in city life through proximity activism. In addition, the implementation of pop-up environments for temporary developments represents a possible solution to meet a city’s needs of flexibility, adaptation, and resilience. Pop-up spaces can be seen as forms of spatial and social innovation, allowing new actors to contribute to urban transformation, giving a voice to groups of people who would otherwise be invisible. Pop-up environments inside empty buildings have allowed citizens to appropriate these spaces for the creation of places for productivity and work, as well as for artistic and cultural events.
Giulia Marzani
Classroom/Digital Citizenship/Material Culture
Classrooms are emblematic spaces of educational buildings. In classrooms, students have lessons and exams, both activities related to the principles of collectivity and institutionality. For this reason, the classroom is a crucial place for forming students’ citizenship where the whole community welcomes them. In classrooms, off-site students, who are temporary actors in cities, interact daily with society and its institutions. The unlimited flexibility that is potentially typical of the classroom object, intended in its tectonic meaning, is usually not registered in heritage buildings. Its staticity is incompatible with new learning methods. Therefore, a rethinking of classrooms is expected to allow new relationships between temporary subjects and the community. /Virtual spaces are more than ever connected with the real world, allowing new interactions between cities, urban services and citizens. Consequently, new relationships between human beings and the virtual world have been born in recent times, and more attention is paid to investigating the splitting between the real and the digital identity of individuals. Starting from these themes, the concept of digital citizenship has risen. It refers to the individual’s capability to consciously use virtual communication tools to take advantage of networked services. The potential is clear, but there are many complexities and risks, as digital tools may be limited in terms of accessibility. The digital divide is one of the most evident results of the ongoing digitisation, tending to exclude some temporary categories of the population from the digital, producing considerable socio-economic and cultural damage. /Material culture refers to that portion of the anthropic environment made or changed by society, consciously or unconsciously, depending on cultural and productive relationships. In the architecture and construction domains, analysing the material culture at the urban level implies searching for the links between the built environment (intended as a complex set of human products) and the social issues for which it was materially shaped in a given historical period. This approach is significant for ancient and modern ages and for structured and temporary societies. Indeed, transient phenomena may stand out sharply by emerging from the best-known and most accessible contexts, although these may not be well documented, and their in-depth analysis could help discover unknown aspects.
Angelo Massafra
Grenze Versus Schranke/Open Form
The first part of the paper discusses the gradual emergence of the distinction between the German terms Schranke and Grenze in the history of European philosophy. Where Grenze tends to denote a distinction-relation between two terms, Schranke could be summarized as an absolute negation. These terms are discussed through Kant, Graham Priest, Hegel, Josef König, Helmuth Plessner, Frederik Buytendijk, and Richard Sennett. The second part of the paper discusses the concept of open form: boundlessness, free order, fluidity, and movement seem to be some of its characteristics. The discussion is developed from a comparison of Heinrich Wölfflin’s art history and Helmuth Plessner’s theory of the organisms and philosophical anthropology. Finally, the author examines the use of the concept of open form by Umberto Eco, Bruno Zevi and Richard Sennett.
Claudia Nigrelli
Deliberation/Climate Justice
Representative democracy faces a crisis, and the capitalist economic system has not been able to guarantee the communitarian interest. Deliberative processes could contribute to enhancing democracy and tackling inequality, also through new approaches more linked to the concept of common goods. However, deliberative tools might also introduce new inequalities between people living in different places, making citizenship a temporary and/or more territorially defined right. Climate change is transforming the scenario in which social relations are developed, widening the rift created by inequality. Citizenship is indissolubly linked to national borders, but the consequences of global warming lead us to criticise the capacity of citizenship to guarantee an inclusive answer to the increasing risks related to the climate crisis.
Marco Palma
Through the examination of six examples, both architectural and artistic, the words “border” and “rules” are explained as generative concepts for the creative project, both stemming from the shared impulse of framing and ordering processes and spaces. The “border” can signify first and foremost a line, a material separation of spaces and a basic delimitation of architectural form, but it can equally be a conceptually invisible physical separation between two antithetical relation of that which is divided, and finally, a “border” can affirm its importance through its own absence. The notion of “rules” on the other hand, can be interpreted as a starting point for an automatic process of creation, as a means of collective liberation by orderly framing the singularity of exceptions, or as a mechanism of resistance against itself.
Dafni Retzepi
TEMPORARY: Citizenship, Architecture and City
Andrea Borsari
Annalisa Trentin
Pierpaolo Ascari
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