In the last decade, manifestations of grassroots urbanism have transformed São Paulo into a playfield for creative interventions. Initiatives focus on art, culture, and education; greenery and open spaces; public equipment; water and environmental resources; and gender, race, and class justice. I argue that these initiatives are more than the sum of their parts; they influence social imaginaries, expectations, and urban policies beyond the scope of each case. My research tries to understand crucial differences among initiatives—while some open up spaces for the emancipation of disenfranchised groups, others inadvertently engage in processes of gentrification and exclusion despite claims to representing a diverse public. These differences in goals and outcomes can be understood in terms of the opposition between tactical and insurgent urbanism. As such, the study of these differences is meaningful not only for understanding the case of São Paulo, but also for expanding theoretical debates on grassroots urbanism at a global scale.
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- Grassroots urbanism
- Guerilla urbanism
- Insurgent urbanism
- São Paulo
- Tactical urbanism