Invasive urban intervention: On account of urban space contribution to the urban space issue

René Dlesk


Current development of our society, mainly driven by forces of economic efficiency, materializes in the built urban environment in specific spatial phenomena that stand beyond the scope of traditionally perceived architecture. The impact of architecture on the formation of urban environment has been constantly declining, thus it further amplifies the adverse effects of this development on spatial, functional as well as user environment of  towns and  cities.

The main objective of the article is to draw attention to the unexploited potential of those specific spatial forms of a contemporary city and to some means of their possible activation.

The article presents a broader scope of opinions of several prominent authors and theoreticians on the necessity of revaluating the approach and eliminating prejudice and established models of behavior towards those specific urban territories. The author labels such territories generally as host structures, claiming at the same time that under certain circumstances, it is possible to transform and integrate them into the vivid urban tissue. To describe such circumstances, he introduces an abstract term of invasive interventions and defines a broader scope of its possible interpretations and meanings.

In general, it is possible to describe invasive interventions as initial impulses 1) to establish essential forms of urban life in host structures and 2) to enhance the quality of public spaces and public activities taking place in them.

The article further focuses on such invasive interventions that emerge as an outcome of coordinated efforts expressing common ideas shared by multiple users of the city, usually neglecting previously mentioned models of economic efficiency and profit. This is commonly reflected in the physical form of such interventions: they are usually of temporary duration, executed with the support of volunteers, built of cheap or recycled materials using alternative construction techniques and, in the process of their authorization, they are usually burdened with less official requirements and complications.

The author considers those interventions to be particularly valuable for today’s city as they can play an important initiative role not only in the introduction of more permanent forms of public spaces in locations that we usually don’t link with urban qualities, but also in breaking down prejudice towards the conventional perception of diversity of forms of urban life.

Keywords: potential, urban space, urban interventions, invasive interventions