Reading group, Thurs 6 Aug, 5.30-6.30pm

Ryan Reynolds

Te Pūtahi Pop-up Space
Unimed building, ground floor
163 Gloucester St (adjacent to New Regent St)

Download the reading here.

Delve into some of the ideas behind the People Building Better Cities exhibition, via a set reading and discussion. Debate what a better city is, seek to understand what makes for inclusive or exclusive city making, and think about how to apply the principles of the exhibition to your work and life.

We have chosen Neil Brenner’s essay Is ‘Tactical Urbanism’ an Alternative to Neoliberal Urbanism (published on MoMA.org) as the focus for this week’s reading group. Christchurch has seen a post-quake explosion of tactical urbanisms: generally small-scale, community-led, participatory, do-it-yourself restructurings of urban space. These are generally seen as the antithesis of free market private developments.

As Christchurch City Council and some developers have indicated a desire to up-scale (and institutionalise?) these tactical approaches, Brenner’s essay is a timely prompt for a much-needed dialogue in Christchurch about when and how these tactical urbanisms might actually be reinforcing rather than subverting dominant neoliberal, market-oriented urban governance.

As co-founder of Gap Filler and Life in Vacant Spaces, Ryan is highly sensitive to these concerns, and will take a relatively hands-off approach to facilitating a discussion prompted by Brenner’s essay. The first eight pages of the reading broadly discuss principles; after that, it gets into more detail about the MoMA exhibition to which the essay was responding.


Dr Ryan Reynolds is of uncertain occupation. He is a strategic advisor for Life in Vacant Spaces; chair of Gap Filler Trust, itinerant lecturer and teacher and a consultant.

Date: July 19, 2015