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Self-Organizing Urban Initiatives: Actors and Practices of Creative Transformation of the City

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In this presentation we will dwell upon the issue of self-organizing creative initiatives and their role in transformation of cities. The presentation will discuss preliminary results of mapping of the creative initiatives in St. Petersburg (though also going beyond its borders), including such forms as lofts and non-localized networked initiatives. Among our cases of interest are such initiatives as street-artists, an educational loft focusing on urbanism, important multi-functional loft hosting urban issues related events, and a non-localized network of urban activists with diverse disciplinary background. The common features of the creative initiatives considered are: a) they are all non-governmental initiatives involving private investments, or almost no investments; b) they are oriented towards transformation of the urban public space with creative actions in the broad sense (from direct actions such as creating street art and up to educational activities aiming to transform the views of the urban dwellers on their own living environment). We will discuss the ideological, political, and artistic reference points of the initiatives in question.