A 214-page collection of over 40 examples of tactical urbanism from 17 countries.
“This book shows the incredible transformation of what was once seen as basic urban infrastructure into social spaces and community assets.” – Isabel Zempel, Sasaki, ASLA
Reprogramming the City is an overview of innovative ways existing urban infrastructure and other elements are being reused and repurposed for new use in cities around the world. From billboards in Lima, Peru, that now generate fresh drinking water to bus stops in northern Sweden transformed to boost the mental health of commuters during dark winter months, Reprogramming the City reveals the untapped potential of tactical urbanism and repurposing urban objects for new use to improve life for urban residents.
Organized into the thematic chapters of Food and Water, Housing and Shelter, Health and Wellbeing, Energy and Ecology and Renewal and Recovery, this book shows how the full range of human needs can be realized from the assets cities already have in place through tactical urbanism and repurposing.
As the introduction to the book states:
Cities have long believed in abundance: more materials to use, more resources to consume, more land to develop—more of everything, available as needed.
Abundance is an outdated belief, no longer sustainable nor realistic.
The new urban reality is one of limited resources. Whether spatial, financial, or material, the assets available to cities are finite. A sustainable future requires a new spirit of resourcefulness to shift attitudes from using more to doing more with the resources at hand. For while the content of cities may be finite, the context of how we use that content will transform cities from limited palettes of resources into platforms of possibility. Reprogramming the City reveals new contexts of use for existing urban content.
For two decades, I have worked, researched, and circled the globe, twice, to demonstrate and document how resourcefulness can reinvent urban landscapes by unlocking the potential stored in its physical elements. What started with my own work repurposing existing urban assets for additional use in Italy, the UK, the Netherlands, the US, and other countries, eventually became a global pursuit to discover the most innovative and transformative examples of repurposing and reprogramming urban elements around the world. This book is the result of that pursuit.
The book includes the following projects:
Water Billboard | Lima, Peru Repurposing a billboard to produce fresh drinking water for local residents
Air Orchard | Lima, Peru Growing pollution free produce with a water billboard-fed irrigation system
Borneo Project | Montreal, Canada Adaptive Reuse of fire hydrants into public drinking fountains
LA20 | Los Angeles, USA Repurposing concrete river viaducts into farming and desalinating water systems
BuzzBuilding | Stockholm, Sweden Reimagining traffic roundabouts as food production and growing areas
Growing Underground | London, UK Producing local food in abandoned subway tunnels beneath stores and restaurants
Fenway Farms | Boston, USA Converting disused areas of the iconic baseball park into an urban farm
T5 Farm | New York, USA Growing air-to-table food at JFK’s Depature Terminal
Kääntöpöytä | Helsinki, Finland Rejuvenating an abandoned train turntable into organic food hub
GroCycle Urban Mushroom Farm | Exeter, UK Converting abandoned office space and spent coffee grounds into a mushroom farming business
Culture Urbaine | Geneva, Switzerland Repurposing a motorway bridge into a CO2-eating, fuel-producing unit
SolaRoad | Krommenie, NL Transforming roads and bike paths into energy-producing surfaces
Pavegen | London, UK Reducing the city’s energy footprint by generating power from pedestrian footsteps
LucidPipe | Portland, USA Generating hydro power from water flowing through under city streets
Open Air | Los Angeles, USA Cleaning and cooling urban air by replacing billboard advertising units with bamboo forests
Energy Column | Minneapolis, USA Using building height and waste energy to produce power onsite
Climate Tile | Copenhagen, Denmark Increasing the functionality of sidewalk tiles to utilize water and prevent flooding
Kungsbrohuset | Stockholm, Sweden Harnessing the energy generated by commuters to heat buildings
Grünerløkka Studenthus | Oslo, Norway Adaptive Reuse of industrial grain silos into student housing
HAWSE | London, UK Converting abandoned parking units into housing for recently homeless individuals
paraSITE | Cambridge, USA Using building HVAC vents inflate and warm pop-up homeless shelters
LIFT | Honolulu, USA Converting disused pubic transportation buses into homeless shelters and service units
LOL | London, UK Reimagining Victorian train viaducts as affordable housing units
Arcade Providence | Providence, USA Converting America’s first enclosed mall into a model for micro housing
SCADPad | Atlanta, USA Using underused parking garages as adaptive housing units
The Billboard House | Mexico City, Mexico Creating an agile housing unit from a billboard structure
Ljusterapi | Umeå, Sweden Improving commuter mental health by replacing bus stop lights with light therapy tubes
Lampbrella | Saint Petersburg, Russia Tactical urbanism, transforming street lights into rain-activated pop-up umbrellas
The Cascade | Hong Kong Increasing the functionality of an urban stairway with a micro park for relaxation and social gatherings
Lido Line | London, UK Proposing a commuter swimming line as future use for abandoned industrial canals
Soft Walks | New York, USA Bolt-on seating and dining areas to repurpose New York’s scaffolding sidewalk sheds
La Grande Cantine | Paris, France Tactical Urbanism that transforms cement waterfront stairs into picnic areas and social spaces
Marsupial Bridge | Milwaukee, USA Reusing legacy infrastructure to support green transportation and community life
Lava Mae | San Francisco, USA Providing mobile sanitation services with repurposed city busses
A1 Charging Booths | Vienna, Austria Adaptive Reuse of underused public payphone booths as electronic car charging stations
EV Charging Call Box | Baltimore, USA Converting old urban call boxes into Electric Vehicle charging stations
Under the Bridge | Stockholm, Sweden Finding opportunity for new pedestrian use and cultural spaces in an underused bridge
Goedzak | Amsterdam, NL Augmenting the city’s trash collection systems with a free cycling system for unwanted goods
City Tickets | Boston, USA Adaptive Reuse of multi-space parking pay machines into fault-reporting and public suggestion units
(IN)spires | London, UK Converting disused church spires into studios and creative industry incubators
Urban Mining | Norrköping, Sweden Recovering and recycling metals from outdated infrastructure beneath the city
The Park-Ing | Tokyo, Japan Designing studios, galleries and retail spaces into an underused parking garage
First Class Meal | Los Angeles, USA Adaptive Reuse of abandoned and underused postal facilities for community food services