Temporary appropriation of public space as an emergence assemblage for the future urban landscape: the case of Mexico City

Jose Antonio Lara-Hernandez, Alessandro Melis, Steffen Lehmann

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Temporary appropriation (TA) is a re-emerging concept which occurs in the urban social landscape as a multidimensional phenomenon. Intended as multi-disciplinary and multiscalar research, the present paper explores the way in which temporary appropriation could be interpreted as an assemblage product of other assemblages within the urban landscape. It, therefore, seeks to unravel and to re-think the nature of temporary appropriation through interconnected theoretical frameworks such as assemblage theory. Derived from the seminal work of Deleuze and Guattari (1989) and developed further by Manuel DeLanda (2016), assemblage theory focuses on the relations produced by the components of a whole rather than the components themselves. Thus, in the present paper, a diverse range of theories is combined together to conceptualise temporary appropriation as part of the urban landscape and 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 these 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 paper 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
Pages (from-to)1-22
JournalFuture Cities and Environment
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2019


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