Town Planners are very apt at planning the informal; we design and implement things like sidewalk parks, weekend markets, back alley concerts, etc., all at an attempt to make the city seem a little less stifled. Some call it “tactical urbanism”, others simply call it “informal urbanism”. While we plan the informal, seldom do we ask, “How can we in-formally plan?”
This presentation proposes that to in-formally plan it may be less about securing urban types or defining good urban values. It is more a mode of working through the material of the city itself, to intervene with it so that the city’s form is reaffirmed as the process of differentiation. The city as yet-formed. Hence, it is about relinquishing some certainties guaranteed in planning the informal, which is a process of formalising the informal. It adopts a mode of experimentation.
This presentation proceeds first by reviewing some theoretical discussions, namely the notions of the “un-formed” (Georges Bataille), the “absolute potentiality” (Gilles Deleuze and Giorgio Agamben) and the “diagram” (Peter Eisenman and Gilles Deleuze). This is to help form the framework for the second part of the presentation which looks at how an “in-formal plan” can function as a diagram – not necessarily to replace the master(narrative) plan, but to provide creative-critical foil, to maybe throw the master narrative toward a certain creative uncertainty. Pedagogically, it may be for students and practitioners to embrace the incompleted as a completion, and begin to write that as design policy.
Foong Patrick Chan, Independent Scholar, Canada
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