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GaSP! Globalisation and Spatial Practice

Insurgent Regeneration

The action-research programme Insurgent Regeneration consists of a series of initiatives exploring the interface between the occupation and rehabilitation of vacant buildings by housing activists and social movements, and the production of housing opportunities for vulnerable men and women in inner city areas. The aim is to expand the concept and practice of urban regeneration in a way that better responds to the needs of vulnerable urban dwellers with limited access to housing opportunities.

The research responds to two main challenges: the cyclical decay and deterioration of inner-city areas and their sustainable rehabilitation and adaptation; and the global housing crisis, investigated in its relations to the informal occupation of vacant and deteriorating buildings and sites. This research programme aims to bridge these typically disparately debated challenges. Whilst much is argued around the citizen-led emergence and transformation of ‘informal settlements’, there has been little focus on the self-organised reuse and revitalisation of buildings in declining urban neighbourhoods. Furthermore, there has been little consideration on how the ‘urban regeneration’ agenda engages in dialogue with such practices, and with the alternative visions of urban development that they convey.

Focusing on the case of São Paulo, Brazil, this research includes collaborations with the post-graduate programme in Planning and Territorial Management of the Universidade Federal do ABC (UFABC) and with the social movement União dos Movimentos de Moradia (UMM).


UCL The Bartlett Visiting Research Fellowship (2014); UFABC, em Planejamento e Gestão do Território (2014); Santander Mobility Grant (2015)


Beatrice De Carli


Alexandre Apsan Frediani (UCL, The Bartlett Development Planning Unit), Francisco Comaru and Ricardo Moretti (UFABC, Centro de Engenharia, Modelagem e Ciencias Sociais Aplicadas), Benedito Barbosa (UMM). In collaboration with Prefeitura de São Paulo, Centro Gaspar Garcia de Direitos Humanos, Escritório Modelo Dom Paulo Evaristo Arns


De Carli, B., Frediani, A.A., Comaru, F., Moretti, R. and Barbosa, D. (2015, in print). “Regeneration through the Pedagogy of Confrontation. Exploring the Critical Spatial Practices of Social Movements in Inner City São Paulo as Avenues for Urban Renewal,” in Dearq 16.

De Carli, B. (2015) “Collective Actions for Local Resilience: Learning from Grassroots Practices in São Paulo”. In Architecture and Resilience on the Human Scale: Conference Proceedings. Sheffield: University of Sheffield.

De Carli, B., and Frediani, A.A. (2014) “Bordering Citizenship in São Paulo: Buildings as Frontier Zones”. Paper presented at SSoA Theory Forum 2014: Border Topologies, Sheffield.