Repair dates from the middle English loanword ‘repairen’ – to go back or to return – which towards the end of 16th century came to refer to restoration after decay. Tracing its etymology invites thinking about the role of repair in the Anthropocene. Restoration, of artefacts, bodies and social configurations, implies an orientation towards the past: a time of (perceived) intactness.
Self-organised forms of intervention in urban spaces have gained prominence in urban studies and the fields of architecture and urban design. These practices share an interest in public spaces as sites of encounter and appropriation, and they are very often characterised by a scarcity of resources. The low-budget approach of most of these projects manifests itself in a creative engagement with the materiality of urban spaces, with practices of appropriation, re-use and makeover, often facilitated by the input of architects, planners, designers, and artists.
Saving time, saving money, saving the planet, ‘one gift at a time’: A practice-centred exploration of free online reuse exchange
Last week a man in a hatchback came to collect a big, half-broken ‘four-by-twelve’ speaker cabinet that, for the past five years, had served as a makeshift shelf for our recycling boxes. It was a relief to see it go, at last replaced by a more effective storage solution, but loading it out brought back unexpectedly fond memories: years spent lugging the thing in and out of pubs, clubs and community centres; up and down stairs, service lifts, fire escapes; round and round motorways and ring roads.