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Framing a counter-city: The story of Sheffield Otherwise

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Natalia Villamizar DuarteORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Urban planning and design have often been complicit in perpetuating the systems of oppression embedded in colonial, capitalist, hetero-patriarchal, and racist spatial structures. Amid the current civilizational crisis, how can we enable possibilities for emancipatory and counter-hegemonic planning (Friedmann, 1989) and design? In order for new possibilities to emerge, we need to unmake what we know and look for radical approaches and practices that allow us to understand our responsibility to create counter-cities that nurture radical hope. This article presents the project Sheffield Otherwise, an exploration using research-design practices to shape a counter-city. Through a learning alliance, we partner with two community organisations working with diasporic and queer communities to reveal and frame their legacies and stories as part of the living heritage of Sheffield. We use counter-archiving and counter-mapping methodologies to engage with these counterpublics that have been excluded from official narratives, urban policies, and public space representations. In doing so, this project challenges hegemonic narratives about stigma and questions hegemonic planning and design practices that often lack understanding of the spatial heritage of diverse communities. Based on this experience, we argue that Counter-City constitutes a radical approach to imagining spatial justice that requires crystallising counter-hegemonic planning and design practices with subaltern counterpublics using methods such as counter-archiving and counter-mapping.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Ortiz Catalina, Villamizar Duarte Natalia, García Fernández Laia, Talocci Giorgio

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Cities

Year: 2023

Volume: 142

Print publication date: 01/11/2023

Online publication date: 27/08/2023

Acceptance date: 16/08/2023

Date deposited: 05/12/2023

ISSN (print): 0264-2751

ISSN (electronic): 1873-6084

Publisher: Elsevier


DOI: 10.1016/j.cities.2023.104533


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