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Elke Krasny and Architekturzentrum Wien, eds. Hands-On Urbanism 1850-2012. The Right to Green. Hongkong: mccm, 2012

Based on several years of international research, this book presents urban research on subsistence gardens and on urban gardens often developed bottom-up and informally in modernist urban development. Elke Krasny gathers historical as well as contemporary case studies of this history of urban development from below in Chicago, Leipzig, Vienna, Bremen, Amsterdam, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Porto Alegre, Havana or Quito. The book provides an overview of self-organized, collective, informal movements and the spaces they create, showing how significantly often small projects led and lead to big changes. The focus on this urban labor of subsistence practices and urban gardeners makes clear that this history of urban reproduction, which is largely unpaid labor and largely done by women, by people who have migrated to cities or live in the diaspora, is a history of cities in modernity and in contemporary capital-accelerated urbanism that has often remained unwritten and invisible. In particular, crises, poverty, wars, environmental disasters, financial crises, lead to new spatial forms of social and political self-organization of the right to green.”Hands-On Urbanism” presents a different urban history that asks urgent questions about the responsibility of design through architecture and planning and about the resource logic of cities. How do architects act in these processes and what can be learned from this urban history from below? Their role ranges from initiators to activists to researchers. How does urban planning react to these developments? The spectrum ranges from the establishment of a settlement office to delayed infrastructural measures and toleration to official supportive measures, but also the introduction of new laws and legalization in official city plans.

With contributions by: Phoebe Giannisi, Zissis Kotionis, Fallen Fruit, Anke Hagemann, Caterina Hildebrand, Una Steiner, Jane Addams, Lisa Heldke, Klaus Novy, Andrea Seidling, Kirsten Tiedemann, John F.C. Turner, Daniel Kerber, Ana Laura Ruesjas, Ingrid Sabatier, Stephan Schwarz, Bohn & Viljoen Architects, Felipe Hernández, Elke Krasny, Shu-Mei Huang, Chi-Ho Chung, Marjetica Potrc, Lucia Babina, Pablo Molestina, Catherine Venart, Françoise Fromonot, Obrat, Constantin Petcou und Doina Petrescu.