URBAN DESIGN International

, Volume 21, Issue 2, pp 113–130 | Cite as

Open-ended urbanisms: Space-making processes in the protest encampment of the Indignados movement in Barcelona

  • Silvano De la Llata
Original Article


This article studies the spontaneous and organic processes involved in the physical planning of protest encampments. Drawing from ethnographic work in the context of the Indignados Movement in Barcelona, it analyzes the spatial evolution and transformation of the Plaza Catalunya encampment in 2011. The encampments evolved in parallel to the conversations and questions that originated them online and off-line. Thus, it particularly examines the notions of open planning (that is, open-source and open-ended decision-making processes) and urban laboratories that the fieldwork indicates were tested in the space of the encampment. The objective is to understand how urban space can be planned through non-hierarchical space-making processes and without a homogeneous overarching structure. This article situates in a larger discussion about alternative space-making processes such as insurgent, tactical planning, as well as in the recent conversations about open-source cities.


public space insurgent planning protest encampments social movements open-source cities urban design 



This research was supported by The Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT), Universidad Autónoma de Tamaulipas (UAT), Secretaría de Educación Pública (SEP), The Clarence S. Stein Institute for Urban and Landscape Studies, The Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies (through the Tinker and International Research Travel Grants) and Cornell University’s Department of City and Regional Planning. Any opinions, findings and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the funders. The author thanks John Forester for comments that greatly improved the manuscript. Special thanks to the participants of the Indignados Movement in Barcelona.


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Copyright information

© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Silvano De la Llata
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of GeographyPlanning and The Environment, Concordia UniversityMontrealCanada

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