Are We Fighting With or Against ‘The Man’?

The DIY nature of interventionist work in architecture and urbanism can be seen as a subtle yet poignant reminder that formal institutions are failing to meet the needs of many communities and neighborhoods. As encouraging as it is that designers and communities are willing to change conditions on of their own accord, the question remains: what is the role of government and other formal institutions in interventionist practice? Should interventionists ignore, lobby, or change government?

Is Tweeting for Action Enough?

Participatory and interventionist practices are often a response to economic crisis and duress. Young architects look for new ways of action, expanding their actions beyond disciplinary boundaries, and funding often takes on alternative, more complex routes. This new field of operation complicates the task of communication, itself in flux due to the proliferation of paper and digital publishing platforms, exhibitions, blogs, and social networks. What are the different roles of these platforms, and how can they potentially interrelate in order to generate critical thinking and create new platforms for debate? How can we maximize their advantages to create a narrative for these practices without simplifying or trivializing their operations?

But How Do You Fund It?

Go to any conversation about interventionist practices and one question is sure to be asked before any others: How can designers fund this type of projects and maintain a practice? This simple question becomes more complex as one considers that funding sources can put limits on the work that interventionists take on. Alternatively, relying on crowd-sourced funds can be problematic as communities with already limited resources are asked to self-fund projects.
How do funding sources affect the type of interventions designers can work on? What forms of funding should designers begin to look at that will allow their practices to be sustainable while having the freedom to tackle politically sensitive topics?

Who is Community, Anyway?

Interventionist practice, as richly documented in Spontaneous Interventions, often fill needs identified within a city or a neighborhood. In this context, “community” becomes a singular and general term designers use to describe a client. How do we better define “community” in order to best reflect the diversity of participants, users, and constituents?