Hands-On Urbanism: How to Make a Difference exhibition in Calgary

Hands-On Urbanism explores urban gardening through the lens of informal settlements and the politics of space. Curated for the Architecture Centre Vienna and shown at the 2012 Venice Architecture Biennale, cultural theorist Elke Krasny critically unveils a history of citizen-led acts leading to collective community ambition, responding to urban and economic pressures.

Connecting the exhibition to Calgary is a discussion exploring the opportunity of a vacant lot. On fertile ground, Calgary’s Vacant Lots Garden Club was founded in 1911 on the premise of collective community good. Started informally, managed collectively, there were over 3,200 private and municipally owned lots under the Club’s domain at its peak. What’s the value of community? And at what price is opportunity?

Design Talks Institute (d.talks) is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to fostering conversation about design and the built environment. The aim is to broaden public awareness for design and to promote conversation on design and greater liveability in Calgary.

Elke Krasny is the curator of Hands-On Urbanism. A Senior Lecturer at the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna, she’s received the Austrian Outstanding Artist Award for Women’s Culture in 2011 and was a Visiting Scholar at the Canadian Centre for Architecture in 2012. Her work as a curator, critic, cultural theorist and urban researcher reveals interest in urban transformation processes, the critical history of architecture, the politics of history, and the historiography of feminist curatorial practices.  She edited Hands-On Urbanism 1850-2012: The Right to Green, a book on the history of self-organization and an exhibition shown at the Architecture Centre Vienna, the Museum for Contemporary Art Leipzig, and included in the Venice Biennale of Architecture in 2012

The exhibition runs from May 28 to July 1, 2014 in the main lobby of 150 – 9th Avenue SW in Calgary. Hours are 7:00am to 6:00pm Monday to Friday. The exhibition is free and open to the public. For more information on the exhibition, please visit http://dtalks.org.

A panel discussion takes place from 6:00pm to 8:30pm on Thursday, June 12, 2014 and features panellists: Adrian Buckley of the Urban Harvest Project, Andrew Hewson of SAIT Polytechnic, Mike Ricketts of Bridgeland Vacant Lots Garden, and Dennis Scanland of YYC Growers & Distributors. Admission is $12 or $5 for students. To purchase tickets, please visit https://seeding.eventbrite.ca.