Grounded Urban Practices
Grounded Urban Practices (GUPs) is an ongoing research and international network developed in collaboration with the Cairo-based CLUSTER studio. The project examines the rise of a new kind of urban practice in cities worldwide, and stimulates their interaction. After having started in Cairo, Tunis, Rotterdam and Amsterdam, the project is currently expanding to Berlin.
GUPs are projects, initiatives or collectives which seek to challenge the status quo by using space as a key agent of change. While doing so, they firmly root themselves in communities, social movements or local areas, and experiment with new legal, financial and organizational models by applying new strategies and methods.
This project started with the observation that a wave of GUPs has emerged in Cairo and Tunis after the 2011 revolution and in Amsterdam and Rotterdam during the 2008-2012 financial crisis. After almost a decade of interventions challenging business-as-usual spatial production, many GUPs in both contexts face several difficulties today. In Egypt, the regime has managed to restore order, while in the Netherlands the economic upturn has ended some of the opportunities created by the crisis.
The first publications contain an in-depth investigation of the work of GUPs in these cities, based on an extensive research and several meet-ups with the selected GUPs. Currently, in collaboration with the Zentrum für Kunst und Urbanistik (ZK/U) the research and the network are being expanded to Berlin, a city with a large scene of grounded urbanists. Plans to add other cities are currently in the making.