The City as Perpetual Beta: Fostering Systemic Urban Acupuncture

  • Fredericks J
  • Caldwell G
  • Foth M
  • et al.
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Abstract

Applying the concept of perpetual beta to cities proposes a continual and never complete process of city-making. Building on this notion, this chapter employs a conceptual framework of urban acupuncture for conducting and analysing localised small-scale community engagement activities through situated pop-up interventions. Pop-up interventions ‘hack’ public space by temporarily changing the feel of a place to promote awareness around civic issues. We argue that the use of situated pop-up interventions has the potential to provide more inclusive forms of community engagement by combining digital and physical media. The proposed framework employs pop-up activism to facilitate a middle-out approach that encourages citizens to actively identify topics for discussion. Two pop-up interventions in different locations in Australia are discussed in the chapter to assess in what way a systemic level of impact can arise from different processes of city hacking that are facilitated through a distributed, decentralised, yet concerted and regular local approach. We argue that a concerted process of implementing small urban interventions can contribute to an ongoing commitment to participatory city-making. Further work will show how each local intervention can contribute to translating the notion of perpetual beta into systemic change beyond the boundaries of their individual locale and—taken together—across different urban environments of the city.

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Fredericks, J., Caldwell, G. A., Foth, M., & Tomitsch, M. (2019). The City as Perpetual Beta: Fostering Systemic Urban Acupuncture. In The Hackable City (pp. 67–92). Springer Singapore. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-13-2694-3_4

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