Between assemblages and temporary appropriation: the case of Mexico City

Jose Antonio Lara-Hernandez, Alessandro Melis, Steffen Lehmann

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


The chapter describes temporary appropriation (TA) as an assemblage product of other assemblages within the urban landscape. It unravels and invites to re-think the nature of TA through assemblage theory. Derived from the work of Deleuze and Guattari (A thousand plateaus: Capitalism and schizophrenia. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, USA, 1989) and developed further by Manuel DeLanda (Assemblage theory. Edinburgh University, Edinburgh, UK, 2016), assemblage theory focuses on the relations produced by the components of a whole rather than the components themselves. Thus, the present chapter combines a range of theories to conceptualise TA of the urban landscape as an emerging product of other assemblages such as culture, legal framework and urban design. These approaches are drawn together by illustrating Mexico City Centre as an example of a highly coded city in which theses assemblages emerge. A representative sample street was selected as a case-study to analyse TA in relation to the streetscape design through participant observation and image analysis of the visual complexity of the streetscape. The chapter concludes that assemblage theory could be used as a theoretical framework investigating urban-social phenomena. In addition, the study identified the visual complexity of the assemblage of the urban landscape that supports the greater diversity of TA.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTemporary Appropriation in Cities
Subtitle of host publicationHuman Spatialisation in Public Spaces and Community Resilience
EditorsAlessandro Melis, Jose Antonio Lara-Hernandez, James Thompson
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages32
ISBN (Electronic)978-3-030-32120-8
ISBN (Print)978-3-030-32119-2
Publication statusPublished - 4 Feb 2020


  • assemblage theory
  • social sustainability
  • temporary appropriation
  • urbanism


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