The Contemporary Picturesque addresses two areas of contemporary architecture and design. One is the development of a repressive form of urban architecture and design: Nils Norman has collected photographs of devices incluing surface studs, crowd control barriers etc., that are created in order to control the ever increasing privatised space of inner cities.
This development is linked to a new definition of ‘public space’ and private property − an urban space that is owned, operated and policed by private interests and corporations. The other is the vernacular architecture of protest culture; the proliferation of impermanent, makeshift, low-impact architectural structures and designs (such as barricades, tree houses and protest camps) that aid activists in the occupation of privatised space. Using images and texts Norman shows the dialectical relationship between ‘power structures’ and their ‘subversive counterparts’.