T-Factor Final Conference: now, next and new of temporary use

Over the past four years, the T-Factor project has extensively explored the temporary use of urban spaces as a tool for creating more sustainable, inclusive, and livable cities. This complex journey of research and practical application across various urban contexts has yielded valuable insights and practical resources designed to support those looking to implement these practices in their own cities.

On May 7, we held the final T-Factor event, a closing conference dedicated to sharing the insights and learnings from the past four years. This event also provided a platform for discussing how practices of temporary urbanism can address long-term challenges in cities.

The event was held in the magnificent Sala Giordano of Palazzo Medici-Riccardi, in Florence. It started with the welcome speeches of Simone Gheri, director of ANCI Toscana, and Stefano Baccelli, Councillor for Infrastructure, Mobility and Territorial Governance of the Tuscany Region. As Baccelli highlighted, “More than the hardware, what we consider most important in cities is the software—that is, the communities, and the social, cultural, and economic initiatives with which we can collaborate.

tfactor final event

Accelerating change from within

The session began with a keynote speech by Ilda Curti titled “Temporary Uses, Urban Regeneration, Just Transitions: Accelerating Change from Within.” Curti addressed the complexity of cities, critiquing the narrow focus on niches such as architecture, resources, or mobility. “Dealing with cities means dealing with complex and interdisciplinary paradigms to imagine new scenarios of transformation”, she stated.

Curti argued that a paradigm based on security, privatization, and private interests has increasingly restricted the use of public space and impoverished social activities, leaving our public cities “in crisis and vulnerable.” In response, she advocated for a “porous” vision of the city. “We must have the imagination to design for the future of the city without seeking definitive solutions, focusing instead on adaptive and flexible functions”, she emphasized. In conclusion, Curti proposed the concept of “the city of the 4Ps“: perpetuity, precarity, proximity, and participation.


Discussion panels: Shifts in purpose, time and scale

The event featured three discussion panels, each focusing on a key aspect of temporary uses in the journey towards long-term city-making. In the first session, dedicated to purpose, experiences from the T-Factor pilots in Amsterdam, Kaunas, and Lisbon were shared. Participants included Chris Julien from Waag, Carla Fernandes from NOVA University, and Ruta Valusyte from Kaunas University of Technology. Moderated by Andrea Balestrini, the debate centered on how temporary uses can shift stakeholders’ mindsets from merely imagining the city to actively transforming it.

The second panel focused on time, featuring presentations from the Milan and Shanghai pilots. Speakers included Francesco La Loggia from PlusValue, Francesca Valsecchi from Tongji University, and Maria Cerreta from the University of Naples Federico II, who discussed transformative notions of time through temporary use. Moderated by Laura Fernández from Espacio Open, the debate included insights from Silvia Viviani of the Municipality of Livorno, who emphasized the key changes needed to transition from short-term activities to long-term impacts.

The third panel, dedicated to scale, was moderated by Alejandra Castro from TU Dortmund University. It included insights from the London and Bilbao pilots and the advanced case of Friche la Belle de Mai. Speakers were Adam Thorpe from the University of the Arts London, Asier Larrinaga from Bilbao Ekintza, and Eva Riccio from Friche la Belle de Mai, with participation from Valerio Barberis of the Municipality of Prato. This final debate focused on leveraging temporary uses as distributed experiments at the city-wide scale.

T-Factor’s book

As a closure for the final T-Factor event, Marta Arniani from Futuribile presented the T-Factor book, From within, temporary use for collective change, written by Arniani together with Laura Martelloni, coordinator of the T-Factor project for ANCI Toscana. The mental models in relationship with the planet have shown its limits and we know there are alternatives”, explained Marta Arniani, “temporary uses can be bridges to cross this gap”.  The book is focused on stimulating the imaginaries and use temporary uses as a way to include local communities to think and make cities together.

Watch the T-Factor Final Event