Handmade Urbanism

Mumbai – São Paulo – Istanbul – Mexico City – Cape Town: From Community Initiatives to Participatory Models

Marcos L. Rosa / Ute E. Weiland (eds.).
Foreword by Richard Sennett

224 pages, num. col.
ISBN 978-3-86859-887-2


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People have always been interested in the cities in which they live. With the world‘s stark urbanization, the engagement of citizens to improve their urban environments is also growing. Far from the traditional urban planning culture, they make use of limited resources, offering solutions to face the challenges these cities offer. They focus on the provision of social infrastructure aiming to improve the living conditions of the residents at the local scale. Handmade Urbanism showcases 15 projects realized mostly in less favored areas of five major cities in emerging countries, examining the potential of urban transformation embedded in community initiatives. What is the basis for such initiatives? Which are the instruments and tools they use? Illustrations depict their operational modes, reveal the actors involved and trace the steps they made in the organization of the initiatives. Interviews with experts, actors and different stakeholders clarify their meaning towards the local challenges. At a global level, common threads and differences are made clear. Handmade Urbanism drafts a possible urban vision of the city impacted by those processes and organizes a discussion that promotes participatory initiatives while exploring their potential to impact on the city at large – to the benefit of all.


This e-book contains video links in the Five Cities section, which provide the reader with further information from the ground. When clicking on the video title, a browser window will open where the video can be viewed (working internet connection required).

Marcos L. Rosa, Interview about handmade urbanism and grass-root initiatives from Urban Biotopes on Vimeo.

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