A collective study lab

Focus on Ferreri’s The Permanence of Temporary Urbanism

In this blog post, we would like to bring attention to the latest book by Mara Ferreri, our new Core Team Member of the Beyond Inhabitation Lab, as well as recent book reviews.

Dr Ferreri’s monograph, The permanence of temporary urbanism: Normalising precarity in austerity London (Amsterdam University Press, 2021) offers a critical exploration of the emergence and establishment of temporary urbanism as a seductive discourse—and as an entangled field of practice—encompassing architecture, visual and performative arts, urban regeneration policies and planning. Drawing on seven years of situated research, the book examines the politics of temporariness across different practices and neighbourhoods in London to highlight tensions between the promises of vacant space re-appropriation and their foreclosure. Thematic chapters weave interdisciplinary urban scholarship to focus on the emergence of temporary ‘creative fillers’ in times of austerity; the longer cultural genealogies of the relationship between artistic practices and urban transformation; the experiential economies of temporary uses and their performative staging; the festivalization of cities and the fantasy of the highly exclusionary ‘on-demand communities’ that they are predicated upon, at times of increasing precarization and dispossession. Against the normalisation of temporariness and ephemerality, the book presents a critique of the permanence of temporary urbanism as a glamorisation of the anticipatory politics of precarity which are transforming cities, subjectivities and imaginaries of urban action. 

One recent review of Dr Ferreri’s monograph is written by urban geographer Dr Cian O’Callaghan (Trinity College Dublin, Ireland), co-editor of The New Urban Ruins: Vacancy, Urban Politics and International Experiments in the Post-Crisis City (Policy Press, 2021) with Cesare diFeliciantonio, and appears in the Journal of Urban Affairs: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07352166.2022.2121533  

This review highlights how the book’s theoretical and methodological contributions go beyond its subject matter and place – temporary urbanism in London – to reveal how economic, cultural, political and policy dynamics come into play when “new modes of urbanism are forged from conjunctural crises”. 

O’Callaghan’s is the latest in a series of positive book reviews in international urban studies and geography journals. These include:  

If you would like to know more about Ferreri’s latest book, please visit the publisher’s page at: https://www.aup.nl/en/book/9789462984912/the-permanence-of-temporary-urbanism  

Also, please note that the book has an open access pre-print available here: https://researchportal.northumbria.ac.uk/ws/portalfiles/portal/43279979/Ferreri_M_The_Permanence_of_Temporary_Urbanism_Author_s_version.pdf