urban ecologies

A book on extended urban process, between the stable and the unstable, between the formal and the informal, what is being formed: the paraformal.

Paraformal is a book of texts, essays and fieldworks, created collectively around the urban and environmental transformations of Buenos Aires and other cities around the year 2010, at the same moment in which the urban imposed itself as human habitat co-fusing with the rest of the planetary systems. The backside of this sublime scale is the microscale in which the simpler, but progressively transforming, operations of groups and individuals are put in motion to overcome poverty and hard political, technical and economic asymmetry of the city.

An initiative of the Cultural Center for Spain in Buenos Aires (CCEBA), GPA + m7red, Bisman Ediciones and Imagen HB and the network of university professorships that worked in this research project. Paraformal is an essay on urban controversial situations that reunites the work of diverse actors around conflictive situations and urban and environmental transformations.

GPA group, through workshops, interviews, debate roundtables and studies on the matter, compiled the content formulated by territorial organizations, academic and cultural institutions, university students, experts and researchers, to articulate them in this edition. Content coordination: GPA (Gris Público Americano).

“The formal and informal are just poles of a less delimitable activity, of a hybrid and heterogenous action, that we call paraformal. By formal we understand: the regulated city, urbanized and inscribed in legal systems, stable and previsible urban systems; by informal: the precarious city, city without control of the State, illegal city, unregistered and unplanned city. There’s a pretense in certain spheres of urbanism and public policy design that the informal be the exception of the formal. To avoid this duality we talk of paraformal as the junction of the formal or formal and the informal or in process of formation, of the previsible and the imprevisible; the city in formation; but also the city disaggregated, conflictive urban processes, frictional or catastrophic.”

(From the book’s back cover)


  • Editing and production: m7red (Mauricio Corbalán, Pío Torroja). Gris Público Americano (Paola Salaberri, Adriana Vazquez, Daniel Wepfer, Norberto Nenninger).
  • Edited by: Cultural Center for Spain in Buenos Aires (CCEBA), and the Spanish Agency for International Cooperation for Development (AECID).
  • Coordination: Bisman Ediciones.
  • Sponsored by: Faculty of Architecture and Urban Design of the University of Buenos Aires (FADU – UBA), faculty of Architecture of the University of Palermo (UP).
  • Participants: Faculty of Architecture, Design and Urbanism of the Republic of Uruguay, Central Architects Society (SCA).