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Understanding Temporary Structures

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INTRODUCTION a) Abstract 1 b) Introduction of the topic2 c) Scope of study2 d) Keywords2

LITERATURE REVIEW a. Definition 3 b. Presentation Of Arguments And Debates4-5 c. Conclusion6 d. Hypothesis And Research Questions6

PROGRAMME AND RESEARCH DESIGN a. Research Objectives7 b. Research Methodology7 c. Questionnaires8-10

RESEARCH FINDINGS a. Research Findings11 b. Analysis Of Research Findings12-13 c. Case Studies14-18 d. Conclusion 19


This research focuses upon the experience of urban
Space by evaluating human behavior and space to human relations. In addition, approaches to installation of temporary activities into the public realm and its impact that these can have upon perception, identity and activities within public space. This research explores the essential presence of temporary activities with in a city ,which requires a critical understanding of the functioning of public space .Finally this research would suggest possibilities of better spatial pattern to enhance spatial interaction and revive urban identities.


If an urban environment is to be considered as a spatial ‘system’ and it is to be valued as a whole, “one must consider its parts in relation to its parts, its parts in relation to the whole and the whole in relation to the parts” (Archer et al., 1984, p. 8). People tend to respond to their environment according to their experiences, structuring and information obtained from the space. The long time scales of developing urban identity coupled with the short intense bursts of design input into the urban environment require an empirical approach to be adopted if successful and failed attempts to sustain city identity are to be analyzed and transferred to other places. This research analyses the human behaviors and spatial qualities in respect to temporary activities in an urban space. This research paper will explore various layouts for the temporary markets to verify the best possible pattern as an identity producer rather than a random arrangement. This study will also evaluate the impact of the physicality of these events on human behaviors to maximize the potential of such programs in urban space.

The parameters of this research include deducing the ideal urban space for public which might become efficient urban space for an individual. This research analyze experience of temporary structure and also identifying the need of these structure on our environment, which might give an idea of better regeneration strategies for an urban public space. It focuses on an idea of generating temporary physical intervention to revive urban identities. The research findings for this study might help to transform many empty spaces of city in to proper functioning space. This could also be inferred to the concept of transforming a space to an identifiable place, where a network of experiences, memories and perceptions are constructed.

Temporary structure, public space, spatial inter-relation, space-human relation.


It has been acknowledged that urban identity is strongly influenced by the spatial inter-relations taking place in urban spaces. This is based upon considering how space-structuring can influence human movement and social behavior. In addition, what takes place in a space is a vital element to the identity and the behavioral pattern of that space. It is also asserted by Walmsley (1988, p. 64) that, ‘...human intent and action ascribe meaning and transform empty space into experienced place...with their values and actions’.

"Temporary structure" means any shed, structure, building, trailer, tent or enclosure of any kind used for storage, commercial or business or residential purposes.” (Ratay)
TYPES OF TEMPORARY STRUCTURE: This guidance is concerned primarily with structures for events, whether one-off or recurring. It applies to short-term events (i.e. for a period of days or weeks) such as concerts, outdoor theatres, fairs, rallies, horse trials, circuses, festivals, weddings and charity events, and events of slightly longer duration (i.e. for a period of months) such as outdoor art installations, ‘big wheels’ and seasonal hospitality. (Ratay)
The structures may include: * Markets. * Kiosks and temporary cafes. * Ice rinks. * Stages. * Barriers. * Seating. * Large-format television screens * Services and plant/machinery * Temporary buildings (‘Portakabins’), toilets and containers * Sculpture and art installations.
First of all, temporary uses are good tool in place-making, i.e. creating attractive and active urban spaces, recognized by wider public. On the other hand, temporary uses of properties can provide affordable office or working space for new creative businesses and arts, which indirectly may support innovation activity. Temporary structure uses as a major tool in exploring potentials of spaces.

"Temporary projects are a bit like an urban laboratory",(kampshoff) “What is fascinating about this type of work is that we can use the projects to transform, improve, disrupt, ignore or reinterpret spaces for a short period of time. The projects may disappear, but the spaces are never the same again.”
Temporary land uses have always existed in cities.(jacobs, 1961) notes that diverse, vital, resilient city districts include sites at a range of levels of capital depreciation, which allow the presence of activities at various levels of economic profitability. It is fundamental to Jacobs’ argument that newer and more marginal activities, at low levels of capitalization, are important to both everyday urban live ability and future economic development. She argues (p. 188) that ‘for really new ideas of any kind... there is no leeway for such chancy trial, error and experimentation in the high-overhead economy of new construction’. Her argument is against large-scale urban renewal schemes that kill diversity. Urban Catalysts: Strategies for Temporary Uses’ (2001-3) initiated a new area of research examining the scope of economically-marginal activities that temporarily occupy reindustrialized or abandoned urban spaces, and their potential importance for developing economic and social activity, jobs, and new investment.
A public space is a social space that is generally open and accessible to people. Roads (including the pavement), public squares, parks and beaches are typically considered public space. Government buildings which are open to the public, such as public libraries are public space. Although not considered public space, privately owned buildings or property visible from sidewalks and public thoroughfares may affect the public visual landscape, for example, by outdoor advertising
“The root cause of diminishing public resources and the privatization of urban public space today is precisely the privatization of our political system — a crisis that cannot be addressed simply by creating more public spaces or by making these public spaces more inclusive and accessible.”(place, 2012)
Jane Jacobs’ The Death and Life of Great American Cities, published in 1961, She critiqued the Modernism and asserted that the publicly un owned spaces created by the ‘city in the park’ notion of Modernists were one of the main reasons for the rising crime rate. She argued instead for an 'eyes on the street' approach to town planning, and the resurrection of main public space precedents, such as streets and squares, in the design of cities
INFLUENCES ON HUMAN BEHAVIOUR: People’s understanding of space develops based on qualitative values and changes taking place in that space. These changes might be any temporary activities that affect human movement and social behavior.
“…it is through experience that the environment develops meaning for an individual. Thus the urban environment is not simply architectural space; rather places become endowed with significance through the actions that are permitted or enjoined with them”(Walmsley, 1988, p. 51).
In recent decades, there has been a more comprehensive approach to encourage many of the contemporary public spaces or urban squares to become more flexible. This flexibility – as an additional character, these organized alterations in activities or events materialize the meaning and essence of the space differently, but yet some are commercially-based with random layouts which affects the human behavior Renowned urban researcher William Whyte studied the way the design of spaces affected human behavior (whyte, 1980)
What I find fascinating is that people get excited the most when a typical street, focused on cars, is closed off and opened up for the public.

To sum up this review, urban public space is composing of many little aspects, and human mind can relate with these aspect. It is difficult to change that environment permanently as its implementation takes time, and also we don’t know about its future results.
Through minimum intervention we can change the nature of space. And can find its impact very soon. If it doesn’t relate with human behavior we can change is per human convenience.
This review concluded that Temporary activities can be source of human entertainment and could become celebrating element of any environment..Or can be a source of haphazardness for public realm.


This research focusing on the fact that
“Temporary structure can alter the nature of public space” In light of this, these research questions will be explored. * Do we need temporary structure in our environment? * What kind of impact these structures can have on public space? * Can temporary structure transform empty space in to experienced space? * How human movement and social behavior influence by temporary structure?



The aim of this research is to evaluate the human behavior in public spaces, to understand what is the ideal urban space for public which might become efficient urban space for an individual. Through proper understanding of the impact of temporary activities in to the public realm and the functioning of public space in the presence of temporary structure , which can gives an idea of better regeneration strategies for an urban public space. It focuses on an idea of generating temporary physical intervention to revive urban identities. To understand what are the important aspect necessary to transform many empty spaces of city in to proper functioning space. Thus, this report helps to understand in what scenario temporary structure and activities are workable and where this intervention cause haphazardness, Which act as a reference for the implementation of temporary activities in Karachi’s context.

This research focused upon analyzing human movement with respect to the events taking place in urban spaces. Only by exploring better regeneration strategies one can change the human behavior and nature of urban space ,for this research only temporary intervention are chosen for further analysis however this research , is also conducted the other temporary structures and activities happening in the urban spaces.
This research study is undertaken by analyzing selected case-studies and the use of qualitative research methods .The repeated behavioral tracking of the same place with different events and activities are analyzed based on evaluative observational variables to ensure valid conclusions based on collected observations By choosing two different case studies in which one focuses on better implementation of temporary interventions which alter the essence of urban space. Or other in which temporary interventions is the reason of haphazardness for public realm.
Through the proper understanding and analysis of chosen case studies ,we might prove an idea that how these structure can change the nature of public space.



Name: ____________________________.

Gender: Male Female

Age group: 15-25 26-35 36-45 46 above

Education: ________________________.

Occupation: _______________________.

Area of living: _____________________.


a. List down the temporary activities you see in your area:

b. These activities are:

* Need of our life. * Affect our environment.

c. These activities functioned under the temporary structure :

* Agree * Disagree

d. Rate the functioning of these structure:

e. Material of these structures :

* Wood * Metals * Fabric * Plastic * other

f. These structures disturb circulation pattern :

* Agree * Disagree

g. If yes then how?

* Traffic congestion * Pedestrian movement * Security * Other

h. These structure are : * Legal * Illegal

i. We need these structures: * Bazaar. * Social gathering. * Food markets. * Recreation. * other


Please indicate your response to the following statement:

a. How many time you visit public market in a month

* 1-3 times * 3-5 times * 6 onwards

b. How much time you spend there?

* Less than an hour * 1-2 hours * 2-3 hours * More than 3 hours

c. I only visit there to buy things:

* Agree * Disagree d. I visit there to spent my free time :

* Agree * Disagree

e. I mostly take some refreshment from food carts :

* Agree * Disagree

f. I visit there because these markets are cheaper :

* Agree * Disagree


a. Any example of better implementation of temporary intervention in our city:

b. What are the major issues forms due to these structures?

c. What are the alternatives to overcome these issues?

d. Cities can work without these structures? “YES” or “NO” ( with reason)


Responses from the above questionnaire many things concluded to some extent , there were 43 people respond to this questionnaire living in different areas of Karachi , and the finding from this further guided the study,

Age | 15-25 | 26-35 | 36-45 | 46 above | Total | Male | 14 | 3 | 0 | 0 | 17 | | | | | | | Female | 24 | 2 | 0 | 0 | 26 | | 38 | 5 | | | 43 |

Temporary Activities they see in their area of living: * Hawkers * Food stalls * Parking * Markets * Marriage tents * Barriers * Bus stops * Sitting spaces * Bill boards

According to them these activities are:

So, we can’t completely remove these activities from our context, only the need is to implement better interventions.

All these activities are functioning under the temporary structure, as it shown in the graph that these activities need space and shelter:

In present day, these structure are helpful for these activities in Karachi, this is shown in the figure below that these structure are better for the functioning of these types of activities

The main issues due to these structure in our contexts is circulation, as it is shown in a figure below:
As hypothesis statement of my research is
“Temporary structure can alter the nature of public space”
Further I move on towards the temporary markets as I take market places as case studies.
Out of these responses, about 62% people visit market 1-3 times in a week and they spent usually 1-2 hours there, and most of them visit there to only purchasing things, it is due to the circulation problem that people not prefer this kind of places for their recreational purpose .as there is no such things that attract people , on the other hand people think that ,not everyone is capable of renting a shop or proper place therefore they have to use the street and these activities serve better for street liveliness and security in an unknown manner.


* Food stalls that we see in malls are better and look more hygienic. * Sunday market DHA * Bus stops. * Port grand Karachi

So it is due to the proper arrangement and planning that can change the space from haphazard environment to proper functioning environment. Need of new options for such structures that are not just functional but also attractive enough so that people use them.


By taking three different cases, which supports hypothesis statement of my research, one in which temporary structure degraded the public space and the other areas losing significance , i.e site emptying or losing popularity of their location ,where temporary uses was used to dignify the urban life and to enhance the quality of urban space .

Sadder is a conglomeration of historic bazaars and tourist shops. With its chaotic traffic, haphazard planning rampant encroachments, the once elegant and sophisticated heart of Karachi has changed dramatically over the years.

A present day satellite view of the market showing the dense encroachments around it The magnificent Empress Market is also unfortunately one of the most neglected and threatened heritage buildings in Karachi. After the creation of Pakistan, the market's gardens were encroached upon by stall owners who slowly made their ugly structures permanent. Presently, the building and its area is densely occupied by a ramshackle wholesale market with unsightly stalls and shops that have very little regard for the heritage building. The surrounding gardens have been completely taken over by stall owners, and the traffic and people congestion resulting from the market has completely eclipsed the elegance and majesty of the original structure. The filth generated by the store keepers around the area has also made its environs dirty.
Hence this area which is the heart of Karachi totally change due to this temporary structure the interactive space at the time of 50’s totally change the nature due to these encroachment of temporary structure . It is due to the improper and informal planning where people just do their work and business without knowing the fact that their work is only beneficial for their self but its impact on urban context is negative which create many problems in urban context .
Sunday Bazaars are very common for Karachi ties, this type of bazaars are organized in many other areas of the Metropolitan City to cater those working class people who normally don’t have time for their house hold shopping during working days. Normally this type of Sunday Bazaars are setup on open large grounds or parks. Sunday bazaar is taken as a good example in our context due to its proper layout and planning, where circulation and other function work properly due to its vast scale and due to the implication of proper rules and regulations. Initially market start as an improper space layout which then transform in to well organize shopping space, with proper paving, security and parking.

In that area we need such activities as there is a lack of commercial activities in that area. In order to make this area alive we need to promote such activities .Temporary market is a cheap and minimum intervention to solve that problem. Today this market functioning properly and make area alive during market hours as compare to the remaining week.

It is one of the most popular entertainment sites in Karachi. As people from every walk of life like to visit there due to its natural environment . Lighting arrangements are good thing of beach. Sea view also has a number of restaurants. Clifton Beach, or Sea View is the only cheapest and easily accessible picnic point of Karachi.

People prefer usually the area where different activities like ( food or sitting space ) are exist, as we know the beach scale is huge and government planned many activities there to make that area more active but many spaces along that beach is totally empty and the lack of activities there make that street “ crime street” . It is our observation that people usually gather where they found different activities like food , sitting , shelters etc. In order to make that area more active temporary interventions are the most cheapest and flexible . It can be easily change if its produce negative impact on that site .
Huge area less of activities

The area which is huge become degrade due to lack of activities ,can be active due to the implication of temporary interventions , people have sense of security when they visit there. And people take good advantage of this natural environment .


Like many other suburbs of East Germany, the Salbke district in the south-east of Magdeburg is deeply immersed in a state of physical and social decadence. Unemployment figures are high and public facilities are scarce. In the old centre closed-down businesses abound along with unoccupied housing, vacant lots and abandoned factories that populate the post-industrial landscape. One of the vacant lots was the triangular space defined by the intersection of the main street with Blumenberger Strasse, which remained vacant after the old district library was demolished.
In 2005, this setting constituted the departure point for an urban planning experiment called “City in trial”, which aimed to reinforce the social networks of Salbke. The deserted premises of a shop adjoining the site of the former library was used as a space for organizing a book collection and to gather the residents in an open, neighborly participative process. With advice from a group of professionals, a program of needs was agreed upon, and several designs for an open-air library on the site were produced. Some twenty thousand books were collected and, with over a thousand beer crates a 1:1 scale model of the design that the residents liked best was constructed on the definitive location. This temporary construction was the venue for a small two-day reading and poetry festival

Open to the public twenty-four hours a day, the library is managed by the residents themselves who, without any checks or monitoring, freely borrow and return books. Although, as if testifying to the harsh surroundings,
The project was planned right from the beginning as a social sculpture . The design and the function were planned in a very close and open participation process. The aim was to create and enhance existing social network in collaboration with the local residence .here, the encountered reality serve as a resource and starting point for an urbanites experiment . The site of the former district library has been transformed in to an open air library .
In this perticular case study temporary intervension helps to bring the live in to the empty space, and become a fovourable solution of many problems of dead area.

CONCLUSION: “Temporary structure can alter the nature of public space”
This hypothesis statement is prove by the fact that temporary structure’s impact on urban context can be negative which create many problems in urban context .as we see in the empress market , or temporary intervension helps to bring the live in to the empty space, and become a fovourable solution of many problems of dead area. It is depend upon the context and the way it plan and layout. It is also depend upon the fact that where these strcture need and where not. The analysis these case studies has articulated the fact that temporary physical interventions are major socio-environmental devices that endorse identities and behavioral patterns. As for designers, this could indicate the necessity of adopting comprehensive human values within a collective urban framework.


Kaplan, S. (1973). Cognitive Map in Perception and Thought, in Downs, R. M. and Stea, D. (eds) Image and Environment. Chicago: Aldine,

Walmsley, D. J. (1988). Urban Living: The Individual in the City. Harlow:
Longman Scientific and Technical

Relph, E. (1976). Place and Placelessness. London: Pion Limited

jacobs, jane. (1961). the death and life of american city. kampshoff, j. (n.d.). goethe institut. Retrieved from place. (2012). place journal. place journal.
Ratay, R. (n.d.). temporary stucture in construction,3rd edition. The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. whyte, w. (1980). the social life of small urban spaces.
Hayden, D. (1997). The Power of Place: Urban Landscapes as Public History. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Hogg, M. A., & Abrams, D. (1988). Social Identifications: A Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations and Group Processes. London: Routledge.
Neill, W. J. V. (2004). Urban Planning and Cultural Identity. London: Routledge
Oldenburg, R. (1999). The Character of Third Places (2nd edition). New York: Marlowe…...

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