Dancing Your Way Through: An Explorative Study of City-Making Skills

Research output: Chapter/Conference proceedingChapterAcademic


The practice of “city-making” –a civic-led form of urban development– is currently gaining attention from urban professionals and scholars worldwide. Whereas research has so far focused mostly on the conditions that make such civic-led urban development possible, little research has been done on skills and capacities of city-makers. This challenge is taken up in this chapter. Interviews with city-makers across Europe reveal that whereas knowledge of socio-spatial processes and process skills are important, city-makers also deploy a third kind of skill, e.g. the ability to act in the moment, adapt to contingencies, and connect personal drivers to city wide processes. This third kind of skills is further conceptualized, by drawing out an analogy with Deleuzian-Guattarian lines of flight and modern dance improvisation techniques. Four dance improvisation techniques are discussed in more detail and compared with the practices described by the city-makers interviewed for this study. The concluding section of this chapter speculates how the notion of improvisation could be adopted within wider practices of spatial planning and urban governance as well.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMoving Spaces and Places
Subtitle of host publicationInterdisciplinary Essays on Transformative Movements through Space, Place, and Time
EditorsBeitske Boonstra, Teresa Cutler-Broyles, Stefano Rozzoni
Place of PublicationBingley
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-80071-228-7
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Publication series

SeriesEmerald Interdisciplinary Connexions


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