Following many years of international research, the curator Elke Krasny presents 19 historical and contemporary case studies of bottom-up urban development in Chicago, Leipzig, Vienna, Bremen, New York, Paris, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Porto Alegre, Havana or Quito. They provide an overview of informal, self-organised collective movements and of the spaces that are created by them. The exhibition shows how decisively small projects have often led, and are still leading, to major changes.‘Hands-On Urbanism’ introduces an alternative urban history, one that poses urgent questions about the responsibility of design for architects and planners, and the resource-logic of towns and cities. What do architects do in this process, and what can be learned from the bottom-up in this urban history? Its role ranges from initiative via activism to conducting research. How are urban planning authorities reacting to these developments? The spectrum ranges from the founding of a settlement regulatory agency, via infrastructural measures and tolerance, to measures of support from the authorities, but also the introduction of new laws and legal sanctioning in official urban plans.