Eventual urbanism is a visual ethnographic research project developed in El Campo de la Cebada for the development of a PhD Thesis at the Bartlett School of Planning (UCL, London).
Eventual urbanism: a socio-material enquiry on public participation
The purpose of the research is to unlock current debates on public participation in the realm of urban theory and practice, debates traditionally grounded on human-centred perspectives. The aim of the thesis is to reconceptualise participation by drawing on a socio-material perspective –specifically Actor-Network Theory (ANT) and New Materialisms – and combine it with urban studies. In drawing on such combined approach, participation will be understood as socio-material performative phenomenon rather than as an instrument of decision-making processes.
The research will focus in eventual urbanism practices developed in temporarily used urban sites. In particular, the research will study the case of El Campo de la Cebada, a publicly owned urban site in Madrid managed by a heterogeneous group of people since 2010. The research intends to follow the actors and practices of this specific site during a certain period of time through a ethnographic qualitative methodology. In doing so, the research will question how socio-material participation enables temporarily used urban sites to progress. The underlining idea is that socio-material participation may indeed enable that progress by constituting hybrid socio-material communities through agonistic relationships. The intention of the research is to understand the fluid dynamic nature of these communities formed through the enactment of participation, and the relationships among the different actors involved in them. In doing so, the social, aesthetic, political and normative implications of such way of understanding participation will be discussed. Ultimately, the thesis intends to contribute to urban theory and practice by considering how the incorporation of a socio-material understanding of participation could have an impact in the development of alternative urban models.