Interim Spaces and Creative Use

The research project aims to investigate whether vacant spaces can be beneficial for local communities and for urban resilience if officially brought into interim uses. It will build upon a historical review of interim spaces (UK and international) to focus on London in the current downturn. Recent top-down initiatives in London will be examined through an empirical study of local creative use in 3-6 interim sites representative of such initiatives. The research design will also comprise on-site filming and interviews with users, site surveys, web blog that will register site users' oral accounts and live debate during and after the project, and a public workshop open to all participants, organised in collaboration with local authorities and community groups, towards the end of the project. Research outputs will include a short film, presentations in one international and two national conferences, two articles targeted at refereed journals (ie Environment and Planning A, Urban Studies, Planning Theory and Practice, Landscape Research) and two to four trade articles (Property Week, Estates Gazette, Planning, Landscape).

The project makes an original contribution to key debates including: how to plan for efficiency and resilience in a world without funding; worries over the standardisation of space; and the need to acknowledge everyday practices and the social and ecological value of places. It adds a critical dimension to our understanding of temporary urbanism and contributes to urban resilience theory.

The project will have an impact on:

  • Filmic design methodology, by developing a 'hybrid' working practice at the intersection of documentation and discovery
  • Participatory design methodology, by engaging local communities with the research process through filming, web blog and final workshop
  • Planning policy and practice, by outlining the benefits of integrating interim spaces into planning policy and providing all related actors with a range of temporary use strategies

Personnel

Dr Krystallia Kamvasinou (Principal Investigator)
Sarah Milne (Research Assistant)