Mediating ‘Temporary Use’ of Urban Space: Accounts of selected practitioners

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‘Temporary use’ of vacant space is becoming increasingly recognized as an approach towards more flexible, experimental and resource-efficient urban development and as a channel for local initiatives and participation. In recent research, the importance of ‘mediators’ for temporary use has been identified but not explored in greater detail. The mediation of temporary use can be seen as an emerging approach and practice for architects, designers or urban planners. This work expands beyond the material or spatial aspects of traditional architects’ or planners’ work, as it includes more socio-political dimensions such as handling complex relations and collaborations among various actor groups.

This paper is based on four qualitative interviews of selected established and experienced temporary use mediators in European cities: Ghent, Bremen, Nantes, and Riga. To elucidate the everyday work, emerging competencies and challenges in the emerging area of temporary use mediation, this paper presents descriptive accounts of temporary use mediators’ work. These accounts identify some relevant contexts and conditions of mediation work as well as illustrate the work and roles of the selected mediators and their relations between main stakeholder groups. In addition, based on a thematic analysis of the interviews, the paper discusses three core themes in TU mediation; managing and building relationships among actors, bridging conflicts and disrupting dominant traditions, values, and norms in urban planning and development. Linking these themes to relevant theoretical concepts and discourses, the paper further points out potential areas for future research.


Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of Nordic Association of Architectural Research Symposium 2018
Subtitle of host publicationBuilt Environment and Architecture as a Resource
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2019
MoE publication typeA4 Article in a conference publication
EventNordic Association of Architectural Research Symposium: Built Environment and Architecture as a Resource - Seinäjoki, Finland
Duration: 31 May 20181 Jun 2018


ConferenceNordic Association of Architectural Research Symposium

    Research areas

  • Temporary use of space, Urban planning, Participatory Design, Mediation

ID: 39412585