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The built environment dictates social norms in the very basic distinction between public and private space, a division that embodies the fact that certain behaviours can (or must) be performed in front of people while others must remain hidden. These days, amid intense real estate speculation and the creeping marketisation of the commons, control and surveillance of public space have only become more acute. In this context, the built environment increasingly serves as a tool to dictate who is welcome and how they must behave in public space.

In the course of the three-day FA workshop Do Not Enter: Politics And Practices of Urban (Mis)Behaviour, led by Ameneh Solati and María Mazzanti (Failed Architecture), we will explore the role of the built environment in (de)regulating behaviour in public space. The workshop’s location —the developing area of the Leidsche Rijn in Utrecht— offers a unique opportunity to understand how a city can be either inclusive or exclusive depending on sexuality, gender, religious beliefs, social and economic status, age, abilities and cultural background. By documenting and analysing the area, we will identify where behavioural regulation happens and how it manifests in the urban landscape. Simultaneously, we will examine strategies of resistance, self-organisation, pleasure, and care that inform a capacity to think and act beyond what is actively materialised in the city.

During the workshop, we will develop experimental cartographies to analyse and present our findings. Through presentations, alternative readings, site exploration, critical exercises, discussions, and group work, we will engage with the city as a tool to counteract hegemonic narratives of control.

Image: Clément Bucco-Lechat, Wikicommons