Submission deadline:

May 15, 2023

The city on stage. Reappropriation of urban space and cultural and environmental strategies between the 1960s and 1980s


11° AISU Congress in Ferrara, September 13-16, 2023, Session 4.7
Session chairs: Chiara Baglione and Elisa Boeri

In contemporary times, urban space has continued, so as in the past, to be the scene of ephemeral events, although with different connotations, contents, processes and actors. Artistic installations and happenings, theatrical performances, musical events and fashion shows used the city as a backdrop or co-protagonist, sometimes in a spontaneous and unplanned way, in other cases as the result of precise strategies and carefully thought-out stagings. In the 1970s these events were also directed at the re-appropriation of urban space by citizens, to affirm the idea of the ‘street for the people’. This was the result of that ‘battle’ against the car based on the desire to link the problems of the preservation and recovery of historic centres and public spaces to the environmentalist conscience that was emerging in those years in Europe and the United States. The session aims to propose some considerations on the actors, processes, ideological content of such events and the weight and role that specific urban contexts had in their conception and realisation. Through the analysis of significant case studies, the aim is to attempt a reconstruction of the design processes of theatrical, artistic or musical performances that took the urban space as a stage, as well as the collaborative relationships established between artists, directors, performers, architects and town planners. The focus is also on the way in which architects and town planners have integrated and declined these issues in their projects on an urban scale, or in which citizens’ associations have used cultural and performing events held in the city as instruments of political and social influence.

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