In this post, Dr Andrzej Zieleniec reflects on one of his recent publictions
The right to write the city: Lefebvre and graffiti
New article in Environnement Urbain / Urban Environment
Volume 10 | 2016 "Whose right to the city?/Le droit à la ville, pour qui?"
Modern graffiti has become a universal urban phenomenon, an almost ubiquitous feature of towns and cities across the world. It can be found as a common manifestation of urban culture in most urban landscapes. This paper situates the practice and production of graffiti within various urban contexts (aesthetic, political, economic, social and semiotic) through the seminal works of Henri Lefebvre on the production of space and the right to the city as a means for analysing and understanding the complexity of the modern urban. It is argued that there is a need to understand and appreciate that space is made not only by planners, designers, architects and urban government but also by those who make space social by their use and activities in and on it.
The article contextualizes and explores graffiti’s role in challenging and contesting the socio-spatial norms of increasingly privatized and commodified public and social space and argues that we can and perhaps should ‘read’ graffiti as a creative means for reclaiming and remaking the city as a ‘right’ to make and use a more humane and just, social space.