READ | How temporary is temporary?

Posted on 31/01/2012


I noted an article listed in the Planetizen Newswire with interest. The heading read ‘How to revitalize a neighbourhood in six months’. It sounded like an opportunity. It struck me as worthwhile and interesting with the possibility of concerted community action, and even a competitive challenge, that could work in a variety of locations – wishful thinking on my part. Reading further the focus was on ‘pop-up’ practices. While I see pop-ups – a term I don’t really like – or temporary uses as a useful strategy, it can sometimes seem that thinking tends to stop when they are mentioned and that other economic development and renewal strategies take a back seat. In temporary use projects, there’s an issue of how temporary is temporary. While the question ‘what next?’ has lurked on the periphery, the San Francisco organisation SPUR is starting to give some thought to it with an upcoming forum titled ‘Time’s up: the end of temporary’ (hoping for documentation). It’s proven that temporary uses can catalyse change quickly in an area through concentrated activity which has destinational appeal and stops decline setting it. However, as the forum asks, what is the future for these initiatives as conditions change – can they, should they, live on? Grappling with issues of continuity and discontinuity when a significant rupture usually makes temporary use possible. Or should they adapt to the changing circumstances by moving on (possibly impacted by an increasing rental market)? What then happens to the networks, assets and benefits created?

Posted in: diy, ephemeral