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Design Talks Institute presents the exhibition Hands-On Urbanism: How to Make a Difference May 28 – July 1st 2014

published by ArtRubicon Visual Arts Magazine, May 15, 2014

Hands-On Urbanism explores urban gardening through the lens of informal settlements and the politics of space. Curated for the Architecture Centre Vienna and shown at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, cultural theorist Elke Krasny critically unveils a history of citizen-led acts leading to collective community ambition, responding to urban and economic pressures.

Connecting the exhibition to Calgary, is an exploration around the opportunity of a vacant lot. On fertile ground, Calgary’s Vacant Lots Garden Club was founded in 1911 on the premise of collective community good. Started informally, managed collectively, there were over 3,200 private and municipally-owned lots under the Club’s domain at its peak. What’s the value of community? And at what price is opportunity?

A discussion surrounding these issues will take place on June 12th. Please see for further detail on the event.



Design Talks Institute (d.talks) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering conversation about design and the built environment. The aim is to broaden public awareness for design and to promote conversation on design and greater livability in Calgary.

Elke Krasny is the curator of Hands-On Urbanism. A Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, she’s received the Austrian Outstanding Artist Award for Women’s Culture in 2011 and was a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2012. Her work as a curator, critic, cultural theorist and urban researcher reveals interest in urban transformation processes, the critical history of architecture, the politics of history, and the historiography of feminist curatorial practices. She edited Hands-On Urbanism 1850-2012. The Right to Green, a book on the history of self-organization and an exhibition shown at the Architecture Centre Vienna, the Museum for Contemporary Art Leipzig, and included in the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2012.

Design Talks Institute presents the exhibition
Hands-On Urbanism: How to Make a Difference
May 28 – July 1st 2014
150 – 9th Avenue SW, main lobby
Calgary, Alberta
Open to the public Mon-Fri 8-6pm
Admission is free
further information: