Painting Insurgent Artscapes

Authored by: Stefano Bloch

The New Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138302129
eBook ISBN: 9780203731932
Adobe ISBN:


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In this chapter I introduce the concept of the insurgent artscape as a physical space in which unsanctioned, uncommissioned, and often unruly but always expressive art and art practices thrive. These physical spaces, which act as sanctuaries for members of place-based subcultures and other marginalized and maligned groups, dot the urban landscape as remnants of mainstream development. As an incarnation of “terrain vague,” insurgent artscapes are sites of transgression as well as sites of possibility, belonging, and citizenship. I argue that insurgent artscapes cannot be planned from the top down, but rather, they provide an example of creative, informal, and just urban design that is assertively conceptualized, built, and maintained from the bottom up. Planners can tacitly help maintain such spaces by acting as advocates rather than top-down regulators of such necessarily unruly spaces.

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