January 5, 2009 - Canadian Centre for Architecture - Actions: What You Can Do With the City
January 5, 2009

Actions: What You Can Do With the City

© CCA, Montréal

CCA launches a website accompanying the exhibition Actions: What You Can Do With the City.


1920, rue Baile
Montreal, Québec, Canada
H3H 2S6

On view 26 November 2008 until 19 April 2009, Actions: What You Can Do With the City presents 99 actions that instigate positive change in contemporary cities around the world. Seemingly common activities such as walking, playing, recycling, and gardening are pushed beyond their usual definition by the international architects, artists, and collectives featured in the exhibition. Their experimental interactions with the urban environment show the potential influence personal involvement can have in shaping the city, and challenge fellow residents to participate.

The website www.cca-actions.org presents a playful toolkit to sort and browse the databank of individual actions from the exhibition, and challenges users to respond by posting their own thoughts or initiatives on how to improve the city through individual action. All entries will be displayed on the website and reviewed by the Actions team to be included a presentation at the CCA.


Actions: What You Can Do With the City and its accompanying publication and website present specific projects by a diverse group of activists whose personal involvement has initiated vital transformation in today’s cities. These human motors of change include architects, engineers, university professors, students, children, pastors, artists, skateboarders, cyclists, pedestrians, municipal employees, and many others who address the question of how to improve the urban experience. The individuals and groups presented in the exhibition employ a range of approaches, from skating and parkour to dumpster diving and urban foraging. Some engage architecture directly by finding new uses for abandoned buildings, while others create tools for guerrilla gardening. In their individual critiques of urban modes of production and consumption, these actors share a conviction that the traditional processes of top-down civic planning are insufficient, and new approaches and tools must be developed from the ground level upwards.

Actions: What You Can Do With the City is curated by Giovanna Borasi, CCA Curator for Contemporary Architecture, and Mirko Zardini, CCA Director and Chief Curator, with Lev Bratishenko, Meredith Carruthers, Daria Der Kaloustian, and Peter Sealy.

The design concept for the exhibition is by Andrea Sala, Milan, and the graphic design including display brochures is by Project Projects, New York City.

The accompanying catalogue is co-published by the Canadian Centre for Architecture, Montréal, and SUN, Amsterdam. Designed by Novak, Amsterdam, the 240-page, soft-cover book includes 70 colour and black and white illustrations, and features a folded poster as cover wrap. The volume is available at the CCA Bookstore in English and French editions (ISBN: 978-0-920785-82-9).

The Actions website is created by Bluesponge, Montréal, with creative direction by Marian Kolev and concept by Mouna Andraos. The CCA’s online initiatives are led by Steffen Boddeker, Director of Communications, with Alexandra McIntosh, Editor, CCA Website.


The CCA is an international research centre and museum founded in 1979 on the conviction that architecture is a public concern. Based on its extensive collection, the CCA is a leading voice in advancing knowledge, promoting public understanding, and widening thought and debate on the art of architecture, its history, theory, practice, and role in society today.

Actions: What You Can Do With the City is part of the CCA’s ongoing exploration of key issues in contemporary architecture with a specific focus on urban, social, and environmental concerns. The exhibition follows Some Ideas on Living in London and Tokyo by Stephen Taylor and Ryue Nishizawa (2008); 1973: Sorry, Out of Gas (2007); Environment: Approaches for Tomorrow, with Gilles Clément and Philippe Rahm (2006); and Sense of the City (2005), the groundbreaking exhibition dedicated to the sensory dimensions of urban life that have traditionally been ignored or repressed.


Canadian Centre for Architecture
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