Tactical Urbanism 5 - Italy [english]

Page 1

Paola Bazzu

Valentina Talu

tactical urbanism Italy


Paola Bazzu

Valentina Talu

tactical urbanism Italy


ISBN 978-88-94224-21-4 Tactical Urbanism 5 – Italy © November 2016 tutta mia la città Revised version january 2017 Graphic design: Paola Idini Translation: Antonio Solinas Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0 www.creativecommons.org TaMaLaCà Srl Corso Trinità, 125 07100 Sassari - Italy info@tamalaca.com www.tamalaca.com

Advisory Board: Arnaldo Bibo Cecchini, Mike Lydon, Zaida Muxí Martínez, Giancarlo Paba

This guidebook is dedicated to our friend and colleague

Fabrizio Moro

contents forward Mike Lydon

introduction Valentina Talu


Case Studies Paola Bazzu + Valentina Talu





1. Parcobaleno 2. Restart 3. Costruire Largo Milano 4. Open Bricolage 5. Relazioni – Cantiere Aperto 6. Park-urka 7. Parking Day by IZMO 8. Parking Day Piazza Ingolstadt by GAMS 9. Piste ciclabili fai da te 10. Le Case del Quartiere 11. Red line Distreet 12. Cascinet 13. MLO - Mercato Lorenteggio 14. Cavallerizza Reale 15. Ex Asilo Filangieri

p.26 p.28 p.30 p.32 p.34 p.36 p.38 p.40 p.40 p.41 p.44 p.46 p.48 p.50 p.52



Francesca Arras + Elisa Ghisu + Paola Idini + Valentina Talu

1. FLPP - Occupation of a micro-space invaded by cars 2. Dispersione ZERO 3. Il giardino che non c’è(ra)

p.58 p.62 p.66



Paola Bazzu + Valentina Talu



/ tac·ti·cal urbanism / A city and/or citizens-led approach to neighborhood building using short-term, low-cost and scaleable interventions intended to catalyse long-term change.

forward Mike Lydon

We released the first volume of Tactical Urbanism in 2011. The free digital booklet shed light on an emergent North American movement, one that employed short-term, low-cost projects to demonstrate the need for long-term policy and/or physical change to make neighborhoods more livable. This first booklet was initially written for a small audience of our peers but the ideas and projects presented therein surprisingly resonated across the globe and helped jumpstart an international movement of practitioners. Tactical Urbanism offered a proactive response to decades of sluggish government bureaucracy but also helped communities develop an immediate response to the diminishing economic conditions brought on by the global financial crisis. Searching for ways to do more with less, citizens and city leaders across the globe sought new ways to develop and deliver projects that quickly and cheaply improve urban livability. Tactical Urbanism capably filled the void. Our firm has since helped publish four subsequent versions of the Tactical Urbanism guide, including the one you’re reading now. In 2015 we compiled four years of research and practice into a fulllength book about Tactical Urbanism published by Island Press. This past year (2016), we created the Tactical Urbanist’s Guide to Materials and Design, another self-published and free digital book providing detailed information for implementing street-based projects that occur over a range of time intervals. All of this work seeks to legitimize and embed Tactical Urbanism into the process of citymaking so that cities and citizens are collectively empowered to improve the places where people live, work, and play. To that end, I’m very excited about this edition, which shares more than a dozen examples of shortterm, bottom-up, and community-minded practice taking root across Italy. Researched and written by TaMaLaCà, a planning and design organization based in Sassari, Sardinia, Italy, Volume 5 underscores the legitimacy of Urbanismo Tattico. However, it also

explores a range of social and political challenges in Italy limiting the full embrace of the “build-measurelearn” philosophy inherent to Tactical Urbanism. Beyond putting this wonderful new guide together, TaMaLaCà’s contribution to the Tactical Urbanism movement is their everyday practice, which seeks to explicitly include children in the design and production of more usable public space. The work is inspiring and skillfully expands the practice of Tactical Urbanism into a new and needed realm. For this, we at Street Plans are grateful and suggest you the reader get to know their work further! Mike Lydon Principal Street Plans Brooklyn, NY



Introduction Valentina Talu

In April 2015, Street-Plans principals Antony Garcia and Mike Lydon published «Tactical Urbanism. Shortterm actions for long-term change» (Island Press). I bought the book, inspired both by its title (in particular the clearly deliberate choice of eschewing the over-used term “strategic”) and by the simple but meaningful words by Janette Sadik-Khan, used on the cover: «Tactical Urbanism demonstrates the huge power of thinking small about our cities. It shows how, with a little imagination and the resources at hand, cities can unlock the full potential of their streets». I was intrigued by this sentence for a couple of reasons: to begin with, its mention of the role of imagination (as opposed to knowledge only) as a tool for action. Secondly, the acknowledgement of the importance of (re)manipulating “bricolage” in a urban context brought to mind the ideas of Lévi-Strauss (not necessarily specifically about the design project, conventionally interpreted as a logical sequence of knowledge, decision and action) regarding imagination as a process for an actual enhancement of the quality of urban life. Both these considerations immediately recalled the last passage of one of the earliest article by Jane Jacobs, «Downtown is for people», first published by Fortune in 1958 (and re-published in 2011, in honor of the 50th anniversary of Jane Jacobs’ influential book «The Death and Life of Great American Cities»): «Designing a dream city is easy; rebuilding a living one takes imagination». Jane Jacobs’ message is particularly important to me, because, right from the beginning, it has inspired both the research and the actions of Tamalacà, the all-female urban planning spin-off company of the University of Sassari (Department of Architecture, Design and Planning of Alghero) that I have cofounded three years ago (the last three microprojects included in the “Case Studies” section of this guidebook have been carried out by Tamalacà, see page 55 onwards).

As I said, I bought the book although I had never heard about Tactical Urbanism before. Reading the book was an extremely interesting experience, for many reasons. In the following pages, I have tried to highlight the concepts that I consider particularly relevant for the Italian context, after the in-depth examination and selection of several case studies (with the help of Paola Bazzu) and the critical re-examination of Tamalacà’s action-research experience. In this brief introduction, I would like to focus on one reason in particular which, although it might be a bit too autobiographical, I think will be useful to share: reading «Tactical Urbanism. Shortterm actions for long-term change» makes me feel less alone. The book has allowed me to give a (very effective) name to the approach that Tamalacà has intentionally chosen since the beginning for its several different micro projects aimed at convertingforgotten, residual spaces into shared public spaces. Another reason is that it has allowed me to feel part of an informal and open international network of several collectives working to promote the urban quality of everyday shared city spaces and to support citizens in constructively reclaiming their denied urban rights. The final reason is that it has allowed me to get to know many Italian collectives that, although with significant differences in terms of both purposes and methods, choose, with professionalism and passion, with creativity and a sense of purpose, to engage in the construction of "many relevant small projects, rather than few big ones" (to quote Arnaldo Bibo Cecchini). I hope that this guidebook can be used as an opportunity and as a learning and exchange tool, as a first step in the recognition and enhancement of a community of tactical practices capable of instigating and driving a process of true innovation and genuine reevaluation of the established regulations, tools and procedures for urban planning and government. 17


In the text «Tactical Urbanism. Short-Term Actions for Long-Term Change», Mike Lydon and Antony Garcia introduce the Tactical Urbanism approach starting from a number of interesting, sometimes counterintuitive considerations concerning three main aspects. The first is the need to acknowledge and accept the dysfunctionality of urban planning conventional regulations, procedures and tools. The second is the concept of the limitations faced by the traditional urban planners’ “toolbox”; The third is the inadequacy, inefficiency and unsustainability of both mega-projects, whether branded or not, which are onerous both in terms of costs and completion time, and long-term transformation scenarios envisioning the Plans as the only tools and factors for the development (development, not necessarily growth) of the city. Instead, the authors strongly support the opportunity to recognize the essential role of low-cost and short-term micro-projects as important tools to ensure and promote the quality, the accessibility and the usability of everyday local city spaces: the city that citizens know, use, care for and claim. Therefore, the definition of Tactical Urbanism is an open and operational definition built starting from the reinterpretation of various collective practices aimed at producing shared, short-term, low-cost, highly replicable urban transformations. It is worth stressing that this reinterpretation is particularly focused on the processes and not on their outcome, because it is intentionally aimed at revealing the real and effective capacity that these practices

have to produce not only spatial transformations but also to cause interference with conventional procedures, tools and regulations (and consequently to bring minimal but significant change in all these) employed in urban planning. In this respect, we can define as “tactics” all the low-cost and low-tech actions and transformations, originated from bottom-up processes, which can be quickly and easily replicated and scaled up, and are intentionally designed and developed to instigate a long-term change through a process of interaction (which can be either mainly antagonistic or mainly collaborative, depending on the case and context) with the sanctioned system of planning and government of the city. This is a possible definition, though neither exhaustive nor final: it has much to do with the thoughts that have guided, and still guide, my lifelong learning as urban planner, characterized by real exchange and contamination between academic research and fieldwork, and by the consequent mutual adaptation in their growth and development. In particular, the definition of Tactical Urbanism highlights the need to rethink the role of urban design as a tool for promoting the empowerment of the citizens, starting with the most disadvantaged categories: children, elderly people, women, and people with disabilities. I think Tactical Urbanism is a real and practical answer to this need. And although this answer might be neither the only one nor a sufficient one, it is nevertheless a necessary answer, especially when one of the main objectives of urban planning 18

is to make our cities more inclusive. In fact, at the moment, the cities and their spaces are designed, organized and regulated primarily in order to meet the needs of an ideal citizen type (adult, male, healthy, wealthy, educated, car owner), which is as dominant as much as it is non-representative. In her interesting and useful contribution «Removing Unfreedoms. Citizen as Agent of Change in Urban Development», published in 2005, Jane Samuels pays specific attention to a very relevant issue: «There is a distinction between a search for ways to improve the lives of citizens, and the search for ways that enable citizens to live the life that they value and that removes the obstructions that look down on and coerce people to live a life that others value». We consider the distinction that Jane Samuels makes as substantial, and therefore it is necessary to rethink the urban design as an enabling process and tool. Urbanism becomes tactical when it is capable, as Mike Lydon says, to operate through «a healthy balance of planning and doing». When, therefore, aside from “planning” through large-scale and long-term policies, plans and projects, it is able to guarantee and promote the actual possibility for all the inhabitants to “(re)make” the city, by way of micro-transforming, co-managing and taking care of spaces and services in their neighborhoods, and therefore to contribute to the construction of shared urban development scenarios. This is why I conceive Tactical Urbanism as an enabling process and tool.

This way, we are providing a process and a tool that the inhabitants can effectively use as a practice to take back the city, to know the limits and possibilities of its use, to imagine the possible transformations, and so to be able to claim it. This is especially important for the most disadvantaged categories, who find extremely difficult (maybe impossible?) to really engage using the techniques, the methodologies and the time constraints of “designed participation”. Using this process and tool, urban planners can innovate urban projects, making them more creative, inclusive and intelligent, particularly at a neighborhood scale. The tactical experiences that Paola Bazzu and I have selected and analysed in-depth (they will be briefly described in the following pages), confirm this interpretation: aside from the differences (sometimes substantial), in terms of assumptions, specific objectives and outcomes, we can say that the various collectives operated with the purpose of building processes and tools to contrast social and spatial inequalities and to guarantee and enhance the quality of urban life for each and every citizen.



Case Studies


Case Studies Paola Bazzu + Valentina Talu

The following pages tell a tale written collectively by unusual networks of active citizens and advocacy planners (urban planners, architects, artists, students, volunteers). They have cocreated opportunities for urban experimentation and innovation, using the transformation power of spatial claims, (whether explicit or latent) by the citizens as an effective tool. Each of the described cases is an important piece of

this story and represents a significant contribution to the improvement of the toolbox of tactical urban planners. With the intent to identify recurring issues and possible fields of application for Tactical actions, we have defined some main themes, which we have used to tag the case studies.



Most of the experiences described focus on the transformation of residual spaces in everyday public spaces through the tool of DIY construction projects. Such actions point out the urgent need of providing the city, and especially its more marginal areas, with places having quality and significance, accessible and usable by everyone: Parcobaleno, Restart, Costruire Largo Milano, Open Bricolage, Relazioni – Cantiere Aperto, Park-urka, Parking Day by IZMO, Parking Day Piazza Ingolstadt by GAMS, FLPP – counter-occupation of a micro space invaded by cars, Dispersione ZERO – Monte Rosello, Il giardino che non c’e(ra).

Some experiences are planned to instigate processes aimed at promoting the use of the street as a public space. This involves micro-transformations that both highlight and try to address the issue of space consumption determined by parked cars as well as claim actions that are meant to challenge and overturn the car/pedestrian and car/cyclist hierarchy: Parking Day by IZMO, Parking Day Piazza Ingolstadt by GAMS, FLPP – counter-occupation of a micro space invaded by cars.



COMMUNITY HUB With explicit reference to the definition of Community Hub proposed by Avanzi - Sostenibilità Per Azioni s.r.l., Associazione Culturale Dynamoscopio, Kilowatt e Cooperativa Sumisura in an interesting and useful document that is accessible on the web at www.communityhub.it, we have identified some case studies designed to activate self-managed spaces for the promotion of practices of innovation and social cohesion as urban regeneration devices: Cascinet, MLO - Mercato Lorenteggio, La Cavallerizza Reale, Le Case del Quartiere, Ex Asilo Filangieri.

Other experiences are intentionally intended as antagonistic actions, to express explicit dissent against the choices made by the local government. Their primary aim is either to claim the collective use of underused spaces or buildings, such as in the cases of the Cavallerizza Reale and Ex Asilo Filangieri, or to bring public awareness about the inadequacy of the solutions that local municipalities give to socio-spatial problems, such as in the case of Red Line Distreet.



Tactical plan italy 2016 7. parking day by izmo 14. cavalLerizza reale 10. le case del quartiere

3. costruire largo milano 12. cascinet 13. mlo - mercato lorenteggio

8. parking day by gams 1. Parcobaleno 9. piste ciclabili fai da te

2. restart

4. open bricolage 6. park-urka 15. ex asilo filangieri

1a. FLPP

1c. il giardino che non c’è(ra) 5. relazioni-cantiere aperto

1b. dispersione zero 11.red line distreet


parcobaleno Where L’Aquila, Santa Rufina MAP (Moduli Abitativi Provvisori – Temporary Housing Modules) When 2012 who VIVIAMOLAq, citizens of Santa Rufina MAP


The project Parcobaleno has been designed and carried out by VIVIAMOLAq, an informal group of students and former students of the University of L’Aquila. VIVIAMOLAq was founded after the earthquake of 2009 with the aim to involve the citizens of L’Aquila in interactive design processes for the redefinition of abandoned areas, interstitial spaces, empty locations close to the new housing settlements built after the earthquake, as well as creating multifunctional public spaces and meeting places. Parcobaleno is one of the projects carried out under the broader initiative Un posto al sole per i MAP: it involves designing, planning and building small public spaces in unused areas near 21 MAP (this is the name of the temporary housing modules) created to address the housing emergency after the earthquake, through simple elements of street furniture and mobile and removable structures. The project was carried out in the area in front of the multipurpose room of the Santa Rufina MAP temporary housing module, with the intention of taking fun and recreation activities outdoor. The strategy was to define and characterize the space through a “playable ribbon”. The design idea began with the division of the lot to be transformed into diversified thematic areas,

dedicated to creativity, sports, traditional games and green spaces, joined together by a ribbon, bending to suggest different possibilities of employment (such as door for the playground, bench, fence, etc.) and to allow for unexpected uses. The project has allowed the transformation of the empty space of Santa Rufina MAP into a place recognizable and defined by its own identity, thus responding to the people’s desire to use the space not only as a playground, but also, most of all, as an opportunity to meet and share space with other people. To carry out the project, VIVIAMOLAq chose to use mostly waste material from construction sites activated for the reconstruction of the city: scaffolds provided by the Municipality for the loadbearing structure and disused pallets for the wood coatings (1200 wooden deckboards from about 450 pallets were used). Parcobaleno can certainly be considered as an interesting and useful example of low cost transformation of a small local everyday public space, usable and playable by all the inhabitants and capable of promoting a sense of community in a particularly sensitive context like temporary housing models.


restart where L’Aquila, historic city centre when 2014 who VIVIAMOLAq, citizens


of 3.5 square meters), and an upper coating made of elements taken from the wooden planks used for the construction site scaffoldings (140 linear meters in total), connected, after proper treatment, to the underlying structure. Restart represents not only a way to give back a small public space to the inhabitants of the historic center of L’Aquila, but also a tangible demonstration of the possibilities of a collective, low cost and short-term reconstruction.

Restart is a transformation project of a small underused space, a public micro-space consisting in a small square lot of land, 8x8 meters, located in the historic city center, in front of the Department of Human Sciences of the University of L’Aquila. The transformation took place during a one-week open self-building workshop, which involved the designers of VIVIAMOLAq but also the citizens of the historic city center and many university students. The aim of the project was to transform an underused area in a real public space, which can be used as a resting, meeting and sharing place for the inhabitants of the old town and the students of the Human Sciences Department. The project consisted in the design and construction of a permanent installation in the micro-space through street furniture elements: seats, tables of different sizes and heights, fences, boxes of various kinds (after the activation of the book-crossing practice, these were used as containers for books). Because the project was located in the historic center of L’Aquila, heavily affected by the earthquake, VIVIAMOLAq chose to use rubble as main building material. The elements inside the small space, therefore, were comprized of a large steel mesh structure serving as the “container” for the rubble (6 tons of rubble were used, with a volume 29

costruire largo milano where Cinisello Balsamo (Milan), Crocetta district, Largo Milano when 2013-2014 who Orizzontale, Hubout, district citizens


collective, which won the competition). The final step concerned the implementation of the spatial project. The Largo Milano space was transformed in spring 2014 through a self-building workshop which involved, in addition to the designers of the Orizzontale collective, many inhabitants of Cinisello Balsamo as well as Architecture students coming from Departments of various Italian Universities. The project consisted in the creation of several multifunctional structures, which allowed to transform a transitional space into a proper public space that can be used by citizens as a meeting, playing and sharing location. It was built using mainly materials retrieved from construction sites, construction companies as well as material recovered from the dismantling of big events such as the Salone del Mobile. The staging is temporary, because in 2017 the PGT, Piano di Gestione del Territorio [Land Management Plan]) will be operative. It will include some important urban transformations in the Crocetta district. The tactical goal of the intervention by Orizzontale is to ensure that the PGT takes into account the new uses of the recovered space in Largo Milano.

Costruire Largo Milano is a project of transformation of a former parking lot of a car dealer shop, located in the Crocetta district in Cinisello Balsamo (Milan). It is the final step of a long participatory design process called ZAC - Zone Artistiche Condivise [Shared Artistic Zones], curated by Hubout, a creative lab focused on cultural projects based on the involvement of communities, cities and territories, located in Cinisello Balsamo. During the Spring-Fall 2013, for about six months, the ZAC project involved the residents and users of the space in a participatory art process that allowed to trigger a debate on the theme of art as a tool for community involvement in territory management, as well as its role within the democratic mechanisms that govern the relationship between citizens and institutions. The project consisted in several steps. One was collecting ideas from the bottom up (using a geodemocracy web platform where citizens were able to express and map wishes, ideas and their vision of the city). Another step consisted in forming artistic residencies and organizing a proposal for actions for the transformation of Largo Milano (several young creatives, active in the fields of art, architecture and design, were invited, including the Orizzontale 31

open bricolage where Rome, Pigneto district, via Fortebraccio when 2011-2012 who Orizzontale, Studio Superfluo, Lab Falegnameria


Open Bricolage was the second public act of the KIUI project, and consisted in an instantaneous transformation (it was accomplished in just one day!) of a residual space of Via Fortebraccio’s Pigneto, in a temporary public place. The project was carried out by Orizzontale in collaboration with Studio Superfluo and Lab Falegnameria, three groups that employ techniques based on recycling waste materials produced by the city in order to implement micro-urban transformation initiatives. The transformation consists in creating a blank wall facing the space like a home environment, with the idea of suggesting the intimacy of a house to the common space. The creation of different seating spaces was instrumental to underline the importance of social relations for the vitality of neighborhoods. Through these instantaneous and low cost transformations, the residual space of Via Fortebraccio was reactivated, allowing for unedited uses, encouraging casual meetings, and celebrating the value of shared leisure time.

The project was part of a larger initiative called KIUI Kit di Interazione Urbana Istantanea [Instantaneous Urban Interaction Kit]: a research and action project by the Orizzontale group about the very shortterm reactivation of residual public spaces carried out employing waste materials, financed by the European Commission through the Youth in Action program and implemented over a period of about six months, from autumn 2011 to spring 2012. The KIUI project included several urban sub-projects, defined “public acts”: Eco|Agro|Cult Urbano (the self-construction of an urban vegetable patch and a shared garden, both self-managed, in the Pigneto area); Libero Mercato (the temporary occupation and reactivation of the disused building which used to host the Torpignattara Market); S.O.S. Spazio Open Source (a semi-permanent site-specific installation for the reactivation of an abandoned urban space located within the park of the Centocelle area). 33

relazioni - cantiere aperto where Rosarno (Reggio Calabria), Via Sandulli when 2013 who Studio Superfluo, Collectif Etc, DettoFatto Lab, Association A di Città, citizen of Rosarno

The Cantiere Aperto project was carried out during the second edition of the International Festival of Urban Regeneration, a big event organized by the Association A di Città, dedicated to the “Relations” theme. The goal of the festival, which went on for one week, was to activate a process of urban regeneration of the district, which extends around Via Sandulli, a fast connection road between the suburbs and the city’s historic center. Studio Superfluo, in collaboration with the Collectif Etc group of planners, based in Strasbourg, and

the designers of the Detto Fatto Lab firm, based in Agrigento, conceived and coordinated a workshop for the design and the self-built recovery of part of Via Sandulli. This is characterized by an area (called by the young people in the neighborhood “Sutta U Punti”, i.e. “under the bridge”) surmounted by a highway overpass. The space chosen is particularly significant because the construction of the overpass created a fracture, now well established, between the city center and outskirts of the city: before the construction of the viaduct, Via Sandulli was a link between the city


center and the suburban area for both pedestrians and cars. After careful observation of the area and its users and after talking to the residents of the area, the volunteers taking part in the workshops identified a series of shared needs and desires about the space, and decided to create a space dedicated to play under the overpass. The underused space was therefore developed in partnership with the high school and the multimedia library of Rosarno, using two mini soccer goals, a removable volleyball net and a basketball hoop.

Stands were built, as well as a blank wall for movie projections. Listening and sharing ideas and getting the citizens involved was crucial for ensuring the success of the transformation of an inhospitable space, perceived as dangerous, into a public place used by teenagers and other residents. In addition to this important short-term result, the Cantiere Aperto project aims to trigger a broader and long-term process of joining the city center and the outskirts together again, beginning with the recovery of Via Sandulli.


park-urka where Taranto city center , Largo San Gaetano when 2009 who Controprogetto, LABuat, citizens of Taranto historic centre


Park-urka is an interesting participatory design and building project in the old city of Taranto, developed thanks to a collaboration between Controprogetto, and LaBuat - LABoratorio Urbano Architettura Taranto (Urban Architecture LABoratory of Taranto). Controprogetto is a laboratory founded in 2003 that specializes in the design and production of custommade furniture, outfittings and installations in public spaces using recycled materials, also via participatory construction actions. LaBuat instead is an association that promotes the involvement of the inhabitants in processes of re-appropriation of public spaces. The project was sponsored by the City of Taranto and promoted under the initiative Principi Attivi, part of a program for Youth Policy called “Bollenti Spiriti” by Region of Puglia. The program was aimed at encouraging the participation of young people from Puglia in active life and in local development, via funding of projects designed and carried out by the same young people. The action focuses on an old town square, Largo San Gaetano, already involved in other important measures of regeneration. In particular, the goal was to build a “game construction site”, symbolic of a city that needs to be rebuilt and reinvented through the innovation and social inclusion. Park-urka is a small playground built during a participatory design and construction workshop that lasted for four days, and actively involved

artists, volunteers and local residents, in particular children. The game structure is comprised of a main structure shaped like an octopus, where different elements are inserted: a slide, a climbing frame, some swings, seats and a small acting stage. The materials used for the construction of Park-urka are the traditional construction site materials - cheap, readily available, easy to assemble, remove and modulate – in line with the choice of employing the construction site theme as the common thread of the whole initiative.


Parking day by IZMO where Turin, Via Montebello 15 when June 5, 2010 who IZMO


ICT. The initiative was one of the events of the Festival Cinemambiente 2010, held in conjunction with WED - World Environment Day 2010. The temporary installation of the parking space was carried out by the IZMO collective, who organized a construction site-event to spark the curiosity of passers-by, encourage public involvement and convey the environmental message of the initiative in a more effective and wide-spread way. For one day, the parking space was recovered and transformed into a small park through creative re-use of pallets. The seats and the steps were created by rotating and putting the pallets together, to demonstrate the easy reproducibility of the idea. The structure was located in one of the corners of the parking space, with the intention of mimicking the peripheral wall of a building. It was created by fixing the elements to the ground with long screws, with the intent to show the possibilities offered by the use of pallets as a proper building material.

Parklets are public micro-spaces, often temporary, frequently created in one or more parking slots. Although they may be spatially organized and arranged in many different ways (with seats, tables, carpets, little turfs, games, bicycle racks, etc.), in order to be able to claim the name the Parklets must be placed in physical continuity with a sidewalk, with the intention to take back a portion of the roadway and to occupy it to allow free public use by pedestrians. The first Parklet was constructed in 2005 in San Francisco by a group of artists and urban designers called Rebar that, after paying the necessary fee to occupy it, transformed a paying parking space, located in an area of the city with no open public spaces, in an instantaneous public park (2 hours) of micro size (2.5x5 meters). This first experience, whose images became immediately viral thanks to the web, spurred Rebar to activate an “open source project”, and to prepare and share an “instruction manual” of sort to allow anyone to construct their own micro-park independently, kicking off the now famous PARK(ing) Day initiative. A very interesting example of a Parking Day in Italy happened in Turin in June 2010 thanks to IZMO, a collective that deals with local development, participatory processes, urban planning, design and 39

PARKing Day piazza ingolstadt by GAMS where Marina di Carrara (Massa Carrara), Piazza Ingolstadt when September 20, 2013 who GAMS, citizens of Marina di Carrara


in a key position near the main shopping streets of the city, is used as a metered parking space. The square was emptied, removing the parked cars for one day, and it was redesigned through a temporary exhibition and outfitted using recycled materials (tires, pallets, plants, etc.), under the supervision of a group of young architects. It was animated by various cultural associations with expositions and artistic laboratories, games and reading activities for children, and exhibition spaces. Thanks to this PARK(ing) Day action, for a day Piazza Ingolstadt got its function of public space back, prompting city administrators to consider the possibility of permanently freeing the square from parked cars.

GAMS – Giovani Architetti Massa Carrara [Young Architects from Massa Carrara] is an association that aims to promote the dissemination of architectural and artistic culture through informative events and public debates, with a specific focus on the use of forms of communication accessible to non-experts. It is also focused on encouraging the employment of young architects and creatives. Piazza Ingolstadt PARK(ing) Day is an urban event that was part of the 4 Chiacchiere per Marina project, conceived and coordinated by GAMS. 4 Chiacchiere per Marina is a shared planning process which aimed to explore issues and themes related to the management of public spaces, involving local traders and residents in the design and the implementation of small and temporary initiatives to promote the quality of the Marina di Carrara urban landscape. Within the project 4 Chiacchiere per Marina, different urban events were promoted, including a neighborhood walk, several open debates and public meetings as well as the Parking Day Piazza Ingolstadt, in collaboration with the Municipality of Carrara and with the sponsorship of the Architects’ Association. The place chosen for the event to take place was Piazza Ingolstadt [Ingolstadt square] which, despite its name and despite being located 41

piste ciclabili fai da te where Rome, Santa Bibiana underpass when 2015 who Anonymous

Rome is not a city for cyclists. Nevertheless, the number of inhabitants who move by bike is steadily growing, and the so-called “DIY bike lanes” keep increasing. The first illegal bike lane in Rome was created in January of 2015 in the Santa Bibiana railway underpass that connects Esquilino and San Lorenzo fuori le mura, two districts that are intensively frequented by cyclists for various reasons (the main one being that the people living there are college students, young couples, artists and immigrants who, more than other groups, use bicycles as alternative means of transportation). The Santa Bibiana railway underpass has a oneway roadway about 9 meters wide (from Esquilino to San Lorenzo district), flanked by very narrow walkways protected by barriers. Citizens have been asking for a two-way cycle path using part of the space now designated for cars for several years: hundreds of citizens signed an online petition, and they developed a project intended to be passed on to the Municipal Administration free of charge). In January 2015, anonymous cyclists decided to create a clandestine bike lane overnight in the underpass of Santa Bibiana, using stencils and white paint: the initiative is both a protest and a demonstration of the effective quick and low-cost possibility of building proper solutions to overcome the lack of security for those who decide to move using the bicycle. The bike lane was immediately dismantled because

it did not respect the regulations. This inadequate response by the administration, instead of discouraging this kind of action, became the subject of debate and controversy, contributing to the strengthening of the movement of activist bikers, who later built other self made bike lanes (the last in chronological order is the bike lane built in Via Tuscolana in February 2016). A proposal by Legambiente and VeloLove circuit for the implementation of GRAB - a large ring road dedicated to bicycles, about 44 km long - presented at a public meeting in May 2016, can be considered, at least in part, an outcome of the public debate started over the last two years by the clandestine actions carried out by the informal growing community of cyclists in Rome.


Le Case del Quartiere where Turin when 2007 (in progress) who citizens associations, NGOs, social cooperatives, private companies, Municipality of Turin

The first Casa del Quartiere [Neighborhood House], the Cascina Roccafranca, was built during the XVII century along the road from Grugliasco to Moncalieri and it is now located at the edge of the Mirafiori district. It was inaugurated in 2007 after being bought and renovated by the municipality with funding from the European program Urban 2. The approximately 2500 square meters of Roccafranca currently host many functions and different socio-cultural services for the community: it is a comfortable space where the citizens can be heard and informed, hosting some advice services, a game room and a Baby Parking service, an ecomuseum about the history of the Mirafiori district, a space for neighborhood societies and clubs, an incubator for ideas and projects, a cafeteria and a restaurant. This first experience triggered a virtuous circle that gradually positively affected other city districts: in the years between 2009 and 2013, 8 more Case del Quartiere were born, in some cases thanks to bottom-up processes, in other cases thanks to the promotion by the city of Turin, more often due to the collaboration between inhabitants, associations and local government. In 2013, thanks to the “Di Casa in Casa” project, strongly wanted by the Municipality of Turin, the 9 Case del Quartiere were connected in a network to promote their growth and innovation capacity, through an exchange of experiences and skills, a coordinated system of communication and a more

detailed, efficient and quick exchange with the public administration. Besides a common organizational structure, the device that allows the Case del Quartiere to operate as a network is the “Manifesto delle Case del Quartiere”. It is a ten-point document that allows them to have a constant confrontation and work together to implement their growth and development as a tool for the dissemination of the experience at regional, national and European level. The ultimate goal of the network of the Case del Quartiere can be read on their website: www. casedelquartieretorino.org – “to contribute to a cultural policy in which citizens are protagonists of the social action and the territories are their important local resource”.


Red line Distreet where Catania, San Berillo district when 2015-2016 who Res Publica Temporanea

Res Publica Temporanea is a collective of four Sicilian street artists, founded in 2012, who works independently through artistic projects with a significant social impact. Red Line Distreet is a project that Res Publica Temporanea carried out in the historic district of San Berillo in Catania, without formal permits or authorizations, through the involvement of people and associations who live and work in the district. Since the seventies, after a significant demolition which began in 1957 and resulted in the relocation of the residents in a suburb of the city, San Berillo, that historically housed about 30,000 people and several craft shops, has became the red-light district of Catania. This part of the city is almost uninhabited during the day, except for immigrants, more or less regular, and only comes alive during the night due to prostitution. In 2000, the Mayor decided to clean up the area: the police organized a massive raid, many young women were arrested and the doors of several of the houses in the district were walled to prevent new illegal occupation. The artistic and social project Red Line Distreet uses the welded or walled doors of the houses as a canvas for their artwork. The images that about forty artists invited to collaborate created were meant to represent the imagination of the people 44

Photos: Carmelo Tempio.

who live and work in San Berillo, and who have been involved in the process. The project is intended by the collective Res Publica Temporanea primarily as an indictment of the danger that the neighborhood of San Beryl could be undergoing a rapid and uncontrolled process of gentrification driven by economic and speculation strategies, therefore permanently losing the connection with its history and its identity.


CasciNet where Milan, via Cavriana 38 when 2012 who Cascinet Ltd. social enterprise agrarian society

CasciNet is a multidisciplinary association established in December 2012 with the aim to protect and enhance the historical, artistic and environmental identity of the complex of Cascina Sant’Ambrogio in Via Cavriana in Milan, an agricultural outpost of a vast green area, which includes stateowned fields, the Forlanini Park and the Idroscalo. CasciNet works both on the recovery of agricultural activities on the territory, with a special

attention to safeguarding the landscape, and on the architectural renovation of the Cascina. The agricultural reactivation is pursued through a project called Terra Chiama Milano. This was started in 2013, involving the neighborhood and the city both in the community management of the fields and in the active research of sustainable and quality agricultural techniques. Terra Chiama


events. Particular interest is held by the strategy adopted by the Cascinet association, which led to the recovery of the spaces of the Cascina Sant’Ambrogio complex, owned by the City of Milan, and their reannexation to the district and the city through the creation of an articulated group of collaborative projects and social inclusion services.

Milano promotes the awareness of seasonal and short distribution chain products and the practice of permaculture and sustainable agriculture through environmental and artistic educational projects. The architectural renovation of the Cascina, on the other hand, was made operational through the project TOcCARE - organized in collaboration with the Art9 Association - which primarily aims to restore the thirteenth-century apse contained within it, and to retrain and give new functions to the interior spaces of the building complex (belonging to different ages). The buildings are meant to be used for educational, cultural, and recreational activities. In February 2016 CasciNet made arrangements with the City of Milan to provide investments of around € 190,000 for the Cascina architectural renovation. In order to achieve this CasciNet is creating an edible forest, used and co-managed by the citizens, as part of a multi-service hub of cultural, social and agricultural innovation. The hub includes more than 60 shared vegetable patches, the open restoration lab of the twelfth-century apse, a co-working space for innovative start-ups, social housing initiatives and some spaces dedicated to music and cultural 47

MLO - Mercato Lorenteggio where Milan, district of Giambellino-Lorenteggio,. when 2011 (in progress) who Dynamoscopio, local traders association, municipality of Milano


MLO – Mercato Lorenteggio is an indoor municipal market in the working-class district of GiambellinoLorenteggio, one of the most controversial public housing projects carried out in the south-west suburbs of Milan. Built after the Second World War to facilitate access to basic food commodities for the poorest classes, in the nineties the local trade of Mercato Lorenteggio – like in most Italian municipal markets – suffered a major crisis due to the expansion of large retail chains. The fate of this small public space seemed sealed by the degradation of the location, the closure of the shops and the alienation of private subjects. Since 2012, thanks to the support of the entire neighborhood, the few traders still active in Mercato Lorenteggio, together with the cultural association Dynamoscopio and a network of local players already interested in the theme of urban marginalization, were able to change the market management staff via a public call. This initiative paid for the upgrading of the entire building and was able to assign an interior space for social inclusion activities intended for the neighborhood. Since then, the initiative works for the sociocultural regeneration the suburbs. MLO focuses on consolidating practices of social cohesion and interlinked planning abilities, gained over these years in an environment characterized by deep urban changes, intercultural cohabitation and social

fragility, youth job precariousness and migrant populations. Today MLO is a pioneering experience of community welfare, based on accessibility and co-production of culture, self-promotion of the community, socially responsible trade and redistribution of resources (including financial ones), to be reinvested in social work. Thus, day by day, MLO builds a collaborative system based on transferring skills, goods and services among regional networks, citizens, public and private institutions, in order to enhance the resources of a district commonly defined ‘critical’, reinterpreting it instead as an open-cast laboratory with growing urban potential. Choosing a generative hybrid design policy and adopting an inclusive anthropological procedural approach, MLO is active on two fronts: the creation of new forms of attractions, to revive local trade as a value related to social bonding and the ‘common good’ as well as the promotion of collaborative and sustainable networks to develop ‘systems of mixed skills’ (local knowledge, creativity, social cohesion, urban regeneration, economic development, trade), able to effectively respond to the neighborhood needs. MLO represents a shared process of urban regeneration of a common good, the driving force of an ongoing process of social innovation and coproduction of social values. 49

Cavallerizza Reale where Turin when 2014 (in progress) who A urban movement comprised of artists and inhabitants

Built between the XVII and XVIII century in the centre of Turin, the Cavallerizza Reale building belongs to the Savoy Residence Royal Compendium of Turin. It has been declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO since 1997. Over the last few years, it has gained visibility due to the consequences of a series of political decisions

regarding its future: the building, in fact, has been the subject of financial transactions carried out by the City of Turin, which have contributed to a progressive process of deterioration and abandonment of its space. This condition, together with the danger that citizens of Turin could be deprived of such an


important building, provoked a strong bottomup reaction: a self-organized group of artists and citizens decided to call an open meeting on May 23, 2014, with the intention to start a detailed and extended public debate about the Cavallerizza’s future. The informal call of the group of artists and citizens was enthusiastically accepted, and the meeting was attended by about three thousand people. Since then, the artists, together with citizens and other “temporary dwellers” of the space (students, researchers, curious bystanders), started to create an open, rich and dense program of cultural meetings and debates, focusing in particular on the theme of nature and the role of the public property as a promotion tool of citizens rights. Despite the success of the initiative and the broad participation of the citizens, in April 2015 the Regional Council of Piemonte approved a Memorandum of Understanding between various authorities for the economic exploitation of a portion of the Cavallerizza Reale complex. This pushed occupants and other involved people to reflect in more depth on the future of Cavallerizza future. A participation process was set up and promoted in order to build a solid and articulated document as a counter-proposal to the Memorandum of Understanding. This constructive reaction allowed the movement to grow and to gain visibility at a national level. The movement decided to develop the proposals

and projects deriving from the participatory process to define the possibilities for the use of the space, showing possible ways of giving back the public spaces to people, studying possible organizational structures and related new business models, defining new spaces and shared activities, with a strong focus on collaboration, always putting the idea of the public property at the forefront. With its courtyards, gardens, and hundreds of rooms, the Cavallerizza has been transformed into a selforganized ecosystem. In the outer courtyard there are meeting spaces and community kitchens. On the ground floor there are theaters and workshops. The 1st floor hosts many rooms for specific needs: legal advice services, dance classes, laboratories for artistic disciplines, co-working spaces and many other services related to learning and care issues.

Photos: Antony Stringer.


Ex Asilo Filangieri where Naples when 2012 (in progress) who a collective of artists, free citizens and operators, researchers, students and workers in the cultural sector, Municipality of Naples

The Asilo Filangieri is a former sixteenth century convent located in San Lorenzo district, in the historical center of the city of Naples. On May 2 of 2012, a group of citizens, artists, students, researchers and operators working in the cultural sector decided to occupy the unused (although recently renovated) building of the Asilo Filangieri, venue of the Fondazione Forum delle Culture [Forum of Cultures Foundation], in order to

avoid its private use and as a way to reclaim it for the community. From that moment on, the former Asilo Filangieri became a cultural production center inhabited by an open and self-managed community: in fact, the use of the spaces and the design and planning of the events held inside it are regulated in a shared and participatory way, via public meetings and specific open thematic working tables.


With the explicit intention to obtain legal recognition for their self-governance system, the former Asilo Filangieri community, after a research of about three years (from May 2012 to December 2015) developed the Dichiarazione d’uso civico e collettivo urbano [Declaration of Civic and Collective Urban Use]. This declaration was laid out starting from a reinterpretation of the ancient Italian legal institution of the Uso Civico [Civic Use], an institution that allowed the collective use of certain venues such as forests, rivers, mills, crushers. It also considered the results of the recent public debate about the public property (in particular the resolution of the Municipal Council of Naples in the September 22 of 2011, which introduced the legal category of “common good” inside the “Aims and fundamental values” in the Municipal Statute). On December 29 of 2015, the Municipality of Naples approved a resolution that incorporated the Dichiarazione d’uso civico e collettivo urbano, acknowledging – as we can read on the site of the former Asilo Filangieri: www.exasilofilangieri.it - “the experimentation of a new form of direct democracy that is held inside the building since 2012, by an ever-changing community of and men and women working in the entertainment and culture sector”. The “Dichiarazione d’uso civico e collettivo urbano”

is an innovative tool for supporting the process of political, artistic and cultural experimentation taking place in the Asilo Filangieri but it is also, and above all, a revolutionary act in public law, as it extends the category of “public property” to the spaces used by a community due to this collective use.

Photos: Sabrina Merolla.






In the extraordinary book “The child in the city”, published by The Architectural Press in 1978, Colin Ward defines the city as an «attenuated environment». It is a definition more meaningful than ever: the contemporary city is a diminished environment, accessible and usable almost exclusively through controlled and predefined ways and times, which hardly allows the inhabitants to act freely as agents of change, to interfere with the established organization of spaces and times of the city and thus to suggest, trigger or drive unusual transformation paths. City spaces are more and more specialized, separated (marked off by physical elements, such as fences that surround parks and public gardens or schools, or by roads, also specialized spaces), and usually dedicated to a single category of users. This process is both cause and consequence of the fact that the growth and the organization of the city strongly depend on the rules determined by the

predominant economic organization model and by a transport system predominantly based on the use of private transportation. Both these factors are not properly regulated, or supported, by the choices of the local administrations. The fact that the city is organized with a division into compartments dedicated to different functions (and therefore for different users) is clearly visible at the urban scale. It also tends to recur, almost like a fractal structure, even at the neighborhood scale, with negative consequences, present and potential. This holds in particular for the most disadvantaged citizens – children, women, older people, people with disabilities – who should instead find real opportunities to improve their urban life quality in their local everyday city. Among them, children are the group that suffers the most, and with most serious limitations in terms of actual opportunities of using nearby public spaces and streets of the city. 56

of unspecialized play that the sidewalks serve - and that lively cities sidewalks can serve splendidly». Based on these considerations, and with the purpose of testing unusual tools to trigger a real involvement of the children in the transformation processes of the city (in particular the most marginal areas), Tamalacà has created, implemented and experienced many different urban events and projects. In the following pages, the brief description of three experiences will be presented. We think these experiences are especially significant with respect to the possibility to consider Tactical Urbanism as a true and durable promotional tool of the spatial component of the quality of life of children.

In view of this, it is essential and urgent to ask what can be done in order to promote the quality of urban life for the children. In other words, what needs to be done to ensure that the city works for children (and not only for them) as an “educational environment”, as suggested by Colin Ward. As an opportunity and a tool by which they can learn not only how to use public spaces and streets, but also and above all how to contribute to changing them («The city is in itself an environmental education, and can be used to provide one, whether we are thinking of learning through the city, learning about the city, learning to use the city, to control the city or to change the city»). Jane Jacobs dedicated the first part of the book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities”, published by Vintage Books in 1961, to arguments in favor of the need to promote an intense and diversified use of the street, in particular of the sidewalk. The analysis of the biases that affect the relationship between the children and the street, presented by Jacobs as a proposal for possible spatial solutions, seems particularly interesting and useful: «Children in cities need a variety of places in which to play and to learn [...] they need an unspecialized outdoor home base from which to play, to hang around in, and to help form their notion of the world. It is this form 57

FLPP - OCCUPATION OF A MICRO-SPACE INVADED BY CARS where Historical district of San Donato, Sassari when 2015 who Tamalacà, School of San Donato, citizens and volunteers


The historic district of San Donato is like the suburbs, but in the center of the city of Sassari. In fact, despite being in a central position, (it is one of the districts of the historic center)San Donato is characterized by a series of social and spatial problems typical of the suburban districts, such as lack of urban quality, with the absence of appropriate subservices and the degradation of public spaces, run-down buildings (several ruins are present in the district), parked cars occupying streets and minor public spaces, poor lighting, overcrowed housing complexes, social marginalization. The school is the only point of reference recognized by the local residents and therefore it also plays the role of supporting activities aimed to promote

the inhabitants’ urban life quality, beginning from children. The tactical project here described is one of the spatial outcomes of a process that involved children of the School of San Donato district, in Sassari, called FLPP – Fronte di Liberazione dei Pizzinni Pizzoni [Liberation Front of the Urban Youth]. This initiative aims to recognize and to claim the right of citizens to play freely and independently in the public spaces of the city, which is often denied or severely compromised. FLPP is a good practice of urban regeneration, social participation and innovation, which received international recognition (the project won the first prize in a competition sponsored by the 10th Biennial of European Towns



What makes the project interesting is also, perhaps above all, the way it was implemented. The dry assembly of wood elements was completed in just three days and it involved, among others, some craftsmen from the neighborhood. The purpose of this action was to establish a link between the local population and the modification of the space belonging to them. The project is intended both as an action of complaint and claim, protesting against the problem of parking cars invading public spaces. Also (and this is perceived as a particularly serious issue by the inhabitants), the complaints focus on the widespread degradation determined in particular by the presence of ruins. In this respect, the project represents a tactical proposal of very short-term and low cost solutions for the construction of small “playable” local public spaces.

and Towns Planners, held in Cascais in September 2013, and it was included among the best practices of the “Global Public Space Toolkit: From Global Principle to Local Policies and Practices” published by UN-Habitat in 2015). The spatial aspect of the project consists in the liberation and transformation of a small part of a square in front of the junior school of San Donato, occupied by parked cars (and thus no longer available for the collective use) in a local micropublic space. The project was developed with the intention to define an urban space previously used for parking, six meters wide and three meters long, intentionally placed in front of an old ruin. A small protected space was built, delimited, both laterally and in height, by a pergola. Inside, it was furnished with some seats with a wooden base element (obtained by cutting scaffolding planks: a durable and very low cost material).


Dispersione ZERo where Monte Rosello Alto district, Sassari when 2015 who Tamalacà, children and teachers of the School of Monte Rosello Alto, inhabitants of Monte Rosello District


district strongly wanted for a long time, but could not get because of bureaucratic constraints. The Dispersione Zero project solved the issue using the temporary installation formula (meaning that the project was proposed as an installation, rather than a real project) as well as by using the funding for the project to obtain insurance coverage for all workshops participants, limited to the period of the execution of activities. The boys, joined by many inhabitants of the neighborhood (not just their parents) and guided by the Tamalacà group, designed the spatial transformation project and physically executed it. Thanks to the small carpenter’s workshop – where the street furniture was built – as well as the creation of a self-built construction site, the

The Dispersione ZERO project was launched with funding from a call to address the issue of high school dropout rates by the Ministry of Education, University and Research. The project involved a group of about 20 students (aged between 11 and 13 years) with high risk of dropping out of school in the Monte Rosello Alto district. The students participated in a workshop that led to the transformation of a wide underused sidewalk, an inhospitable walking space located along the route that connects one of the main district streets to a secondary street where the main entrance of the school is. The project allowed to buy the equipment needed in order to build a small carpenter’s workshop in the neighborhood, which the school and the



and skills difficult to cultivate in formal learning processes. The project is particularly noteworthy, when it is considered from the Tactical Urbanism standpoint, and the reasons are several. First of all, it stands out for the idea to use unusual funding channels (in this case, a ministerial call for actions to limit school dropout rate) in order to to promote microspatial transformations. Secondly, it is interesting for the idea of choosing to set up an unorthodox laboratory (the carpentry) inside the school. This was accomplished with the intention of showing its potential as neighborhood service, therefore triggering a public debate about the possibility of rethinking the role and functions of important spaces in the school (such as unused rooms, the library, the gym, the courtyard) as spaces open to all the citizens. Finally, the project is interesting because of the idea of choosing to highlight the potential of of small forgotten spaces as local public spaces that can be renovated through short-term and low cost interventions.

project, which lasted for two days, was able to provide repainting and redecorating the allocated space. The space was “regenerated” using color as an element of transformation, with a symbolic twist as well as spatial reorganization: a system of colored bands run around some wooden structures, suggesting new individual and collective uses for them, such as resting, playing and reading. Thanks to this transformation, a grim and generic transitional space became a recognizable location, comfortable and open to a variety of uses, some of which unexpected. The “learning by doing” approach and the construction of a collaborative and non-hierarchical work environment are the key elements of Dispersione Zero. The project was carried out in close cooperation with the school teachers (mostly women), in order to facilitate the involvement of all the students, in particular those who experience a situation of socio-cultural disadvantage or have learning difficulties. This involved informal learning activities able to reveal and improve knowledge


Il giardino che non c’è(ra) where Sassari when 2013 who Tamalacà, school of Via Gorizia (Sassari), municipal home for the elderly “Casa Serena”, inhabitants of the district.


Schoolyards of primary and secondary schools can be an extraordinary resource for the city. At the moment this is widely underestimated. Through an organic set of small tactical projects involving all the schools in the city, it is possible to activate a network of high-standard public spaces that are able to impact significantly on the quality of urban life of the entire city. It is possible to identify many different factors that make schoolyards extremely interesting and promising from a design point of view. - One of such factors is the widespread distribution, as reconquering the schoolyard spaces would ensure the presence of close quality public spaces among the city for all the citizens, including those living in the suburbs. - Another factor is the presence of a community around the school. In fact, schools can become

places where to learn the right to have an access to the city as well as the tools to exercise it in a conscious and responsible way, in order to claim it when it is unfairly denied or compromised. Furthermore, the school community can play a key role in promotion processes of urban life quality, especially if the goal is to think and manage these processes with the involvement of the inhabitants, beginning with the children. Through the contribution of the school it is possible, if the conditions, timing in particular, allow it, to pursue real participatory and inclusive projects. - Finally, it is possible to experiment a new design approach and a new role for the designers: the shared spaces of a school can become a “privileged urban laboratory” for testing Tactical Urbanism. These are the assumptions and the goals of Il Giardino che non c’è(ra) project.



colored and finished by inserting small wheels) and arranging mobile chairs made from waste materials. The self-built construction site, beside the team of Tamalacà, attracted teachers, parents, local residents, DADU (Department of Urban Design and Architecture at the University of Sassari) students. The final stage, dedicated to planting, involved little girls and boys from the school, and the residents of the municipal home for the elderly “Casa Serena”, located near the school. The involvement of the inhabitants of this structure was intentional, to show the potential of opening the school to the city and to its other sensitive functions from a physical but especially from a symbolic point of view.

The project consisted in the organization of a self-built construction site that lasted three days in order to function as a small re-coloring and reequipping operation in a forgotten corner of the courtyard of the Via Gorizia primary school and preschool, in Sassari. This school is located in a densely populated district, surrounded and crossed by high traffic streets (particularly those that surround the school) and characterized by the absence of playgrounds. A first rough idea for the spatial reorganization was defined by about 60 girls and boys from the primary school (6-10 years old) who attended the participatory design workshops (held both in the classroom and outside) designed by Tamalacà in collaboration with the school teachers. This very low cost project consisted in building a “backstage” in a small space, an “interactive wall” created using disused slate blackboards (retrieved from the attic of the school), as well as creating some small mobile vegetable patches (made from boxes used to transport fruit and vegetables, then


LESSONS LEARNT Paola Bazzu + Valentina Talu

At the end of our exploration of the role of tactical actions as a tools for promoting quality, usability and accessibility of the city and, at the same time, as triggering devices of real innovation processes of conventional urban planning regulations, procedures and instruments, we think it can be useful to share what we have learnt so far. Our purpose is to try to shape the multiple reflections and insights stimulated by the in-depth examination of the results achieved and the processes triggered by the tactics presented in this guidebook (and, in the case of Tamalacà experiences, also and above all from the in-depth analysis of the mistakes made and the decisions taken to address them – and sometimes solve them). In this respect, we have identified, among the many possible themes, three key ones that we believe are particularly relevant for those involved in the transformation as well as regulation tools and processes of cities. 1. Tactical Urbanism works through actions and transformations intentionally oriented not only to provide a real and immediate response to the citizens claims of spatial needs, but also to instigate long-term changes through constructive conflicting actions regarding rules, procedures and tools that guide the city’s planning and government. The processes for the social (and in some cases even institutional) legitimacy of the described tactics and the substantial (and in some cases even formal) recognition of their outcomes teach us that, in order to really act tactically, it is essential not to bypass the regulations, the procedures and the instruments but to try to put a strain on them (even to a minimal extent), re-modulating the demands for change depending on the system’s

actual capability to absorb them. Only in this way, through a wisely controlled straining action, it is possible to trigger and facilitate a real innovation process of the conventional system. In this respect, particular importance is held by the occupation and self-management experiences of disused public buildings: these have helped stimulating interesting debates about the theme of commons and, in some circumstances, such as in the case of the Ex Asilo Filangieri in Naples, to innovate regulations, administrative acts and organizational structures of the municipalities. 2. When working at hyper-local scale or in marginal contexts, the formal quality of the spatial transformations must be considered not only as an end or a whim, but also and above all as a tool useful for the physical and symbolic regeneration of the city. With this principle in mind, the choice to operate through tactical interventions pushes urban designers to acquire new skills to operationally face the strain between two needs that are not easily reconcilable: the need to really involve the inhabitants in activities of space rethinking, which is crucial in the Tactical Urbanism approach, and the need to obtain solutions having a formal quality. Many of the tactics we described show the extraordinary potential of self-built construction sites (a practice that is little known and experienced in the Italian context) as an opportunity to create a mix of both the knowledge and the “expert” knowhow of the designers and the knowledge and the “layman” know-how of the citizens. Therefore, the self-built construction site serves two purposes: on one hand, it becomes a tool that allows citizens to “participate by doing”, feeling really involved in 70

the process and on the other hand allows designers to “design by doing” without sacrificing the formal quality, wisely dosing it according to the actual capacity that the physical and social environment has to receive and understand it. 3. The Tactical Urbanism approach recognizes the value of the connection between conflict, participation and empowerment processes. Participatory design is commonly considered as a process aimed at facilitating the resolution of explicit or latent conflicts. The result is an interpretation of the conflict exclusively as a problem and not as a result, as well as resource, of the participation. Conscious and responsible sharing of the tactical purposes of urban actions and transformations involves the choice of working not only to see recognized here and now urban rights that are denied but also to start and sustain a long-term process aimed at achieving an ever more wide-spread spatial justice. This allows the citizens to promote themselves as players capable of overseeing/driving the change, in case (when it is needed and useful), also through conflict. We think that these and other issues deserve to be explored both via an in-depth debate about the role of Tactical Urbanism as innovation device of projects and government policies to promote the quality of urban life, and via many small and widespread tactical experimentation in the field. We hope that this guidebook will help trigger and feed both these aspects.



ACKNOWLEDGMENTS This guidebook has been written with the support of many friends and colleagues. First of all, we would like to thank Mike Lydon for accepting our proposal to edit the Italian part of the Tactical Urbanism guide and for contributing many helpful tips for it. Thanks to Arnaldo Bibo Cecchini for the encouragement and the valuable suggestions, to Paola Idini for the graphic design of the publication, to Roberta Guido for her reports about the experiences of Cavallerizza Reale, Case del Quartiere and Ex Asilo Filangieri and for her contribution to the drafting of the descriptions. We would like to thank all our colleagues (informal collectives, professional designers groups, firms, associations) who generously provided the materials needed for the drafting of the description, texts and images regarding the case studies. Without them, and without their enthusiasm we would not have written this book. VIVIAMOLAq - viviamolaq.blogspot.it Orizzontale - www.orizzontale.org Studio Superfluo - studiosuperfluo.com Controprogetto - www.controprogetto.it IZMO - izmo.it GAMS – gams4youngarchitecture.wordpress.com Res Publica Temporanea – Facebook: Res Publica Temporanea Cascinet - www.cascinet.it Dynamoscopio - www.dynamoscopio.it I cittadini attivi della Cavallerizza Reale - cavallerizzareale.wordpress.com Le Case del Quartiere di Torino - www.casedelquartieretorino.org L’Assemblea di Gestione e di Indirizzo dell’Ex Asilo Filangieri - www.exasilofilangieri.it Finally, thanks to friends and members Francesca Arras, Elisa Ghisu and Paola Idini for making the Tamalacà adventure possible.


ISBN 978-88-94224-21-4 Tactical Urbanism 5 – Italy © November 2016 tutta mia la città Revised version january 2017 Graphic design: Paola Idini Translation: Antonio Solinas Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International CC BY-SA 4.0 www.creativecommons.org TaMaLaCà Srl Corso Trinità, 125 07100 Sassari - Italy info@tamalaca.com www.tamalaca.com Advisory Board: Arnaldo Bibo Cecchini, Mike Lydon, Zaida Muxí Martínez, Giancarlo Paba

Founded in Miami Beach in 2009, Street Plans is an award-winning urban planning, design, and research/advocacy firm with offices in Miami, New York City, and San Francisco. The firm is known for advancing innovative practices to test and implement projects for a range of public, private, and non-profit clients. Through the publication of a series of open-source guides, and one full-length book published by Island Press, the firm has become the stewards of the international Tactical Urbanism movement. http://www.street-plans.com

Tamalacà Srl is an all-female urban planning spin-off company of the Department of Architecture, Design and Planning of Alghero (University of Sassari). Using a multidisciplinary approach and a set of unconventional tools (Tactical Urbanism, gaming and storytelling, DIY construction projects), Tamalacà research and advocacy work focuses on the promotion of the quality of urban life of the most disadvantaged people: children, women, elderly people, people with disabilities. www.tamalaca.com



Architect, PhD candidate in Architecture and Urban Planning at the Department of Architecture, Design and Planning of Alghero (University of Sassari). Expert of urban design and Tactical Urbanism.

Urban planner, PhD in Urban Planning and Research Fellow at the Department of Architecture, Design and Planning of Alghero (University of Sassari). CEO and co-founder of Tamalacà Srl. Expert in urban regeneration, participatory processes, and tactical policies and projects for the promotion of the quality of urban life of the most disadvantaged inhabitants.

In short, will the city be any fun? The citizen can be the ultimate expert on this; what is needed is an observant eye, curiosity about people, and a willingness to walk. He should walk not only the streets of his own city, but those of every city he visits. When he has the chance, he should insist on an hour’s walk in the loveliest park, the finest public square in town, and where there is a handy bench he should sit and watch the people for a while. He will understand his own city the better–and, perhaps, steal a few ideas. Let the citizens decide what end results they want, and they can adapt the rebuilding machinery to suit them. If new laws are needed, they can agitate to get them. The citizens of Fort Worth, for example, are doing this now; indeed, citizens in every big city planning hefty redevelopment have had to push for special legislation. What a wonderful challenge there is! Rarely before has the citizen had such a chance to reshape the city, and to make it the kind of city that he likes and that others will too. If this means leaving room for the incongruous, or the vulgar or the strange, that is part of the challenge, not the problem. Designing a dream city is easy; rebuilding a living one takes imagination.

[jane jacobs, “downtown is for people”, 1958]

Turn static files into dynamic content formats.

Create a flipbook
Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.