To appropriate is to look inventively sideways in order to release the latent abundance of spaces, resources or processes.
Design, in its default mode of creating something anew, makes new forms of abundance, whereas in fact that potential may already exist in the given. Spatial appropriation can sometimes be directly political, such as in the 2012 Occupy movement, or pragmatically political, such as in the squatting movement. Sometimes appropriation is not directly spatial but intervenes in regulatory processes to release their potential, often in unintended ways. Sometimes appropriation is a material matter, taking an excess resource and using it in non-standard ways. In all cases, to release hidden abundance through appropriation needs a different, sometimes subversive, form of creativity. It also often demands generosity from the designer, operating in the background and with the ready-made in order for others to be empowered.
Photograph by James Rixon with Design Unit 6 (Tutor Ulysses Sengupta), Copyright James Rixon