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"Tactical Urbanism" | TerraViva Workshop n°4 | Milan | Feb. 2019

Tactical Urbanism, Towards Urban Acupuncture. Cities are the problem/cities are the solution.

In the transition to sustainable cities, the large-scale transformations, such as the recent works at Porta Nuova and City Life in Milan, are pitched to multinational interests more than to local ones. If they include sustainable ingredients, such as the dubious virtues of Bosco Verticale, they usually come with the price of high embodied energy and the side effect of increased gentrification. If there are participatory processes, to nominally permit equitable progress, citizens are typically invited to engage in a process that is fundamentally unilateral. Residents are asked to react to proposals they often don’t understand, and at a scale for which they have little control.

Tactical Urbanism proposes an alternative method to achieve urban regeneration. It works starting with the small scale of the street, the block, and the building in re-imagining the delivery of basic public goods and services. Much in the way acupuncture inserts needles into a part of the body to effect the well-being of the entire organism, so needle-like projects in neighborhoods can lead to positive change in an equitable manner.

Among the tactics that have yielded good results one can find: Ad Busting - Guerrilla Gardening - Chair Bombing - Park(ing) Day - Parklet - Play invasions - Intersection Repair - Slow streets - Pop-Up Shops - Civic Crowdfunding - Street theater - GAS per building - Recycling is beautiful - Bicycle freeways - Ecological Foot Print testing - Occupation of abandoned spaces.

In this workshop the groups of students will consider several areas in Milan that would benefit from Urban Acupuncture. The first step will be an analysis based on observations of people’s behavior, leading to a social mapping of various patterns that emerge in public spaces. By analyzing these patterns, we can observe fundamental principles of human behavior that help us to design a better city for the people to live. This mapping will indicate where there is a need for intervention that would improve public use of these spaces.

The second phase is to design an intervention for the space that will take the form of a game board.

By designing an experimental/concept for intervention you propose through simple means to change the idea and the use of public space according to a new understanding of people’s needs and behavior.

The third phase is a “performance”, a physical intervention in the space you have studied that is a prelude to how the life-form of a place can be changed or led to adapt to obtain a more sustainable and socially rich environment. This could involve artistic ingredients, signage, physical actions, and other sensorial creations that temporarily alter the normal use of a space.

The final presentation will require: one panel detailing the map and the problems of the area, another panel showing the design-solution, plus a maquette and a 2-minutes video of the “performance/installation”.

- Submissions at:

- Location: Politecnico di Milano (Campus Leonardo)

- Credits: 4CFU

- Dates: from Thursday 14/02 to Sunday 18/02 (4 days of teamwork at PoliMi) + Compulsory Revision with TerraViva tutors on Thursday 21/02 + Final Presentation to all the TerraViva professors on Thursday 28/02

- Program: The Official Schedule and Time-table will be released within the first half of January

- Facebook/Instagram Pages: Workshop.Terraviva

TerraViva Competitions

Recently created as a new branch of "TerraViva", this specific section proposes a series of design competitions in line with the topics addressed by our workshops and mainly directed to architecture students, new graduates and young designers.

TACTICAL URBANISM NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space will be the third competition of 2021. Starting from December 13th, registrations will be open until 18/03/2022.


December 13th "Tactical Urbanism NOW! 2021 - The Reappropriation of Public Space"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 18/03/2022; Results on 26/04/2022; Jury:  Miralles Tagliabue EMBT (Barcelona), Public City (Winnipeg), Openfabric (Rotterdam); Orizzontale (Rome); Intuy Lab (Lima); Sports (New York); Atelier Nea (Paris); OBBA (Seoul);


September 10th "Hangar Ticinum - A Community Hub on the River"; 10.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 10/12/2021; Results on 20/01/2022; Jury: Piuarch (Milan); TSPA (Berlin); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Operastudio (New York); Degli Esposti Architetti (Milan); Untitled Architecture (Moscow); Comune di Pavia (Pavia); Politecnico di Milano (Milan);

March 15th "The Living Museum - Micro-Architectures in the Landscape"7.000€ in Prizes; 10 Honorable Mentions; 30 Finalists; Submissions within 01/08/2021; Results on 13/09/2021; Jury: Topotek1 (Berlin); Elemental Architecture (New York); Stefano Boeri Architetti (Milan); Paredes Pedrosa (Madrid); NADAAA (Boston); One O One Architects (Seoul); Nicolas Campodonico (Rosario); Studio O (Berlin);

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