Intervention Instructables

The internet is a treasure trove of inspiration and ideas for art activism, interventions and participatory urbanism. On a recent online dérive, I found a bunch of resources with ideas and examples to inspire even the best (or the most jaded) hacktivists. Check them out.


The Activist Cookbook: Creative Actions For A Fair Economy

Andrew Boyd, a New York City troublemaker and prankster, teaches a course on art and activism. The Activist Cookbook was his first publication, released in 1997.


"This cookbook is for people engaged in these struggles. It is overflowing with ideas for creative actions—ideas that can stir up the brainstorms already percolating in your own imaginations."


Examples and suggestions are presented as recipes, with advice like: "don't preach—everyone knows the unpleasantness of being preached at," "use the power of ritual," to the more obvious: "combine serious and satirical approaches."

Download a PDF of the book.


Beautiful Trouble: A Toolbox for Revolution


"This is not another how-to manual; it’s a how-to-think manual. We gathered artists and activists together (often with the assistance of much alcohol) to tease out a core set of interlocking design that this collective wisdom can become useful to the next generation of change-makers."


30 Tactics, 33 Case Studies, lists of practitioners, guiding principles and theories, gathered and shared in 2012. I love that it was collaboratively written using google docs, with Boyd serving as the editor. People were invited to write and share ideas or chapters; over 60 people contributed, and the book is under the Creative Commons license. It remains (from what I gather) an ongoing project.

Visit to contribute or download portions of the book. 


Spontaneous Interventions: Design Actions for the Common Good


"An archive of compelling, actionable strategies, ranging from urban farms to guerrilla bike lanes, temporary architecture to poster campaigns, urban navigation apps to crowdsourced city planning."


The US Pavillion at the 2012 Venice Biennale included the Spontaneous Interventions website— 124 projects organized by practitioner, cost and type. From edible schoolyards to eco-playgrounds, seed-bomb vending machines to legal waiting zones for immigrants, the Tactical Urbanism handbook and a derive app. Projects + teams are categorized into interventions that are economic, community centered, etc. or even just for pleasure.


So, in 2013, here's to:

Legal skipping zones ! Why? Monotonous commutes don't encourage social interaction. The solution: street signs advocating silly and unusual behavior.


Legal Waiting Zones! Why? Discrimination against immigrant workers. Solution: create legal waiting zones for them to hang out on the sidewalks.


and...Bartering and Sharing Networks! Why? Because we live in a time of financial scarcity, and have forgotten the benefits of gift giving and exchange. Solution: Give what you can and take what you need. Make it a value exchange.

The full list is online at

Hopefully this is enough to kick-start the year and inspire your own projects. We'd like to start a list of websites, blogs and free resources—so comment and email, por favor!


More Resources
Tactical Urbanism vol. 1
Tactical Urbanism vol. 2
A Users Guide to Demanding the Impossible
CCA Tools for Action