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    What happens at a CNU Council? (And are they worried about #Occupy?)

    Javier Arbona Oct 21 '11 6

    Note: I'm saving clippings and notes in preparation for the event on Nov. 19th at the VDL Neutra House (see this post; all tagged "glam").

    I'm curious to know more about what goes on at the Congress for New Urbanism Council  meetings, glimpsed at here.

    They recently met in Montgomery, Alabama, and I can't help but wonder if there is any discussion among new urbanists of that very state's recent and historic anti-immigration law. If anyone reading this knows, please let me know. The post mainly focuses on what New Urbanism can promise in terms of re-igniting economic growth under the conditions that the author terms "The New Normal."

    Meanwhile, I was surprised to see that the CNU has also taken notice of "tactical urbanism" but I am not too sure that they are aware that tactical urbanism can be, in practice, all that is done with the space of the city basically for free or nearly free.

    While that second post from the new urbanists does mention how tactical urbanism requires a low-barrier of entry in terms of investment, what strikes me as curious is that the CNU, as the first post went to great lengths to show, is ultimately about the utopian dreams of private property and economic growth. But the language and intention of occupation, now picking-up steam, is in so many ways about doing—for free, in public—what a developer would want to charge rent for or what a bank would sell you a mortgage for.

    You are not supposed to sleep in a public park or take care of your bodily needs when those things can be absorbed into the privatized domestic environment. This is ultimately, in my mind right now, what the #Occupy movement threatens, and it is incompatible with New Urbanism or the urban governance agents more broadly, who defend the "rights" of property, not of speech or assembly. But where does "tactical urbanism" stand?

    Related:

    Occupy Oakland "becomes bustling community"

    http://tacticalurbanismsalon.com/

     

     
    • 6 Comments

    • Nam HendersonNam Henderson
      Oct 22, 11 11:51 am

      it's interesting though because the CNU's early focus on code writing/updating as it were is i think another sort of reading of the a type of tactical urbanism that is more software a la open sourced and "designed" through a community process. sort of along the lines of the term  “freeware smart codes” mentioned by mammoth here

      Or even the work sub_plan or some of the sorts of approaches Roger Sherman outlined in Infrastructural City.

      Less occupation and more subversion or hack?

      design
      Oct 22, 11 7:30 pm

      NU conservatives trying to speak progressively, but still thinking conseratively in a conservative city,
      best swept under the rug and forgotten

       

      academics and practitioners alike knocked their "paradigm" a long time ago.

      t a m m u z
      Oct 23, 11 9:23 am

      do you mean to say that Occupy is as impotent as "tactical" urbanism or the other way around? one can argue that tactical urbanism, as I'm reading it, is individualistic to the point where it leads to nothing more than  a contigent collection of singular maneuvers by singular individuals devoid of any organizational and societal impulse. at least Occupy, which probably has as much ,i.e. as little, directive as tactical urbanism actually results in a community of sorts. perhaps, more later

      Javier ArbonaJavier Arbona
      Oct 23, 11 1:07 pm

      @t a m m u z: I don't mean to say that tactical urbanism is impotent, nor Occupy... I think you might be correct in some instances of tactical urbanism, re:individualism, but I don't think that statement accurately captures the instances where tactical urbanism—a phrase that disparate individuals can appropriate—has accomplished changes that benefit a larger public, not just the individual. Perhaps parklets are the best example (and not to imply that every parklet is good).

      t a m m u z
      Oct 24, 11 2:06 am

      admittedly, my first question was a rhetorical tangent.

      but essentially, there is yet another major distinction between 'tactical urbanism' and Occupy. the former is not targetted against the status quo but seeks to find respite from the status quo in the enclosed micro-spaces that, most probably, fall prey to some sort of policy grey area or at least a measure of tolerance and perhaps encouragement from the policy makers and enforcers. it certainly makes the city more interesting and more quirky but i beileve that, essentially, its apolitical. one may of course find a political dimension to anything, but, for me, the political occurs when it either seeks to dominate and/or there are other forces that wish to dominate it. women's lib, afro-american lib, LGBT lib...etc. violence is always involved. in regards to "tactical urbanism",  which , aside from its lack of surrealism, shares a similarity (as it seems to me) with situationism. whether the pronounced goal is justice and equality and so forth, the actual underlying sentiment is as antiseptic as a musuem installation, except that it occurs en plein air. it is aesthetic, not political and i disagree with conflation simply because it makes us sound more interesting as architects. i don't believe this is the case with Occupy, even if there might be an aspect of hipsterism/yuppiness to it. the overriding sense of the people who have not been served judiciously, whose livelihood has been embezelled. perhaps, Occupy might give way to an ideology of sorts in time...or perhaps it will only be as familiar to us - and as die-hard  yet impotent - as the people who attack G5 or 6 or whatever summits or the archtypical greek protesters- because they will not have an alternative to offer except for cliches that have become blunt with rhetoric or because the system is uncrackable and with an indefinite number of safety nets . the future of Occupy might be nil or its impact might be in its snowballing; it might degenerate into fascism or become a fashion. did the US get any better after the flower power movement? there seems to be a dichotomy that is difficult to over-ride in the US. in the ARab countries, it might have been easier. there is a great definite monster seated on a chair...in the US, there is a great monster who has tentacled  into every crook and cranny of your lifestyle and way of thinking. anyway, however one puts it, i don't believe one can equate parklets with a will to change/overthrow a dictator (person or system).

      t a m m u z
      Oct 24, 11 4:01 am

      correction: . whether the pronounced goal is justice and equality and so forth, the actual underlying sentiment is as politically antiseptic as a musuem installation

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About this Blog

A bezoar is a mass of disparate pieces and materials. For this blog, you will find something somewhere between tweet-length posts and tumblelogging; inchoate thoughts; provocations and assorted scraps that don't fit anyplace else; criticisms of a political and geographic variety; ecoaffective ramblings; spatial imaginaries that don't conform. On Twitter: @AlJavieera; 1/3rd of @Demilit; bookmarked content: @AJFavorite.

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