Grounded Urban Practices

Research to conceptualise, understand, and map motivation and ideas of independent urban actors


In 2018, CLUSTER and Non-fiction conducted an extensive mapping and comparative research project to engage Grounded Urban Practices (GUPs) in Cairo and Amsterdam/Rotterdam. In its second iteration, the project spotlights GUPs active in Berlin.

Grounded Urban Practices are, per previously elaborated definition, rooted in their communities, critical of the status quo, experimental in their strategies and methods, and using spatial agency as their modus operandi to introduce change.

Within its research, the project discusses four questions: (1) the context and condition of their emergence; (2) the legal and financial models and organizational structure they adopt; (3) the strategies, methods and tools they deploy; and (4) the challenges and risks facing their sustainability.

The project functions as a framework to conceptualise, understand, and map independent local actors, as well as to enable collaboration and discourse by bringing them together. 

Just as so many other projects, the Berlin version of the Grounded Urban Practises project was affected by the outbreak of COVID-19 in March 2020. While the first of two workshops took place just before, the second needed to be adapted in accordance with regulations. Subsequent to the workshops, qualitative, site-specific research could start, followed by a row of numerous online-meetings with international partners as well as partners from Berlin. Finally, at the end of 2020, a final conference could be held.

At the start of 2021, a publication concerning the research of Berlin GUPs was made available.