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Fences and profanations: Questioning the sacredness of urban design

Boano, Camillo and Talocci, Giorgio 2014. Fences and profanations: Questioning the sacredness of urban design. Journal of Urban Design 19 (5) , pp. 700-721. 10.1080/13574809.2014.943701

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Adopting an impure and contingent conception of urban design as a biopolitical apparatus, along the theme of urban informal squatter-occupied spatialities, this paper searches for an alternative narrative of urban design. It presents a theoretical and analytical framework developed around Michel Foucault's and Giorgio Agamben's spatial ontology and political aesthetics as an aggregate source toward recalibrating the approach to urban design research, pedagogy and practice, integrating the debate around the dispositif and its profanation. Critically engaging with the complexity and contradictions of the current neoliberal urban design practice—articulated as a complex urban apparatus instrumental to regimes of security and control—the paper explores the conceptual tool of profanation as a potential antidote to the sacred production of the neoliberal city. The act of profaning the urban realm, of ‘returning it to the free use of men’, is approached through the lens of a design research initiative in a squatter-occupied space in Rome, Italy. The narrative that emerges from this theoretically inspired action research points to an alternative practice that can be read as a site of resistance in reclaiming the intellectual productivity of urban design theory and research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: Architecture
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
ISSN: 1357-4809
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 6 December 2019
Date of Acceptance: 24 September 2014
Last Modified: 20 Jan 2021 11:21

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