Tracing Rights on the Ground: Spatial Controversies around Urban Development Projects


  • Marco Cremaschi Sciences Po, Centre d’Études Européennes et de Politique Comparée


urban project, controversies, materialism, rights, design


This article conceives an urban project as a mechanism that traces rights on the ground. First, and most relevantly, a project separates public and private land and defines what can be built. At another level, design decisions involve a broad range of permissions and obligations. Thus, urban projects act as a form of regulation, like planning, albeit a specific form with its own rules and limits. The paper explores a two-step process. First, in the policy phase, some regulatory decision-making is delegated to design. Then, design challenges the value assumptions underlying decision-makers’ actions. ‘Regulation by design’ arranges material objects in space and activates those spatial mechanisms.





Submitted Manuscript