Urban Culture and Public Space – Space Production Strategies and Interventions
VU 280.038 by Prof. em. Thomas Sieverts (senior professor), Prof. Dr. Chiara Tornaghi (junior professor)
The aim of this course is to provide an initial introduction to two different fields: spatial research and spatial planning. Specific focus shall be made on those areas in which the inner-city campus of the Vienna University of Technology is embedded: namely Karlsplatz, the Naschmarkt, the Getreidemarkt and the Museumsquartier.
Students shall be confronted with the particularities of both fields as well as sensitized to the special task and special challenges of thinking along practical lines and in terms of research both separately and in conjunction with one another. Theoretical input concerning “challenging the definitions of public space“ will be offered in order to prepare students for observing how public spaces are ‘produced’. This introduction is followed by a collective ‘actor’s walk’ through the study area, thereby honing the application of practical observation skills. Thus, students gain preliminary practical research experience and get an initial impression as to the areas of future study. Organised in trans-disciplinary groups, students shall be expected to realize comprehensive exercises in both fields of learning which encompass theoretical approaches and conceptual approaches in order to engender initial creative outputs. As part of this exercise, students will be required to work in groups in order to undertake social empirical research, and develop initial ideas for a planning scenario.
Between March 18 and May 5, 2009, as a practical exercise in spatial planning studies, module 11 students are requested to develop a scenario for a future TU district in Vienna seen from the distinct viewpoints and perspectives of different people and institutions (e.g. children up to an age of approx. 15 and their parents, adults, the retired and elderly, the municipal authorities, as well as the President of the TU).
The aim of this spatial research exercise is to enhance the students’ observation of public spaces. With reference to the assigned area, students are invited to explore and observe, annotate, locate it on maps and/or in documents, as well as through pictures pertaining to relevant aspects, and thence to present their findings in four different communication formats. This type of social empirical research is organised around the topics of ‘urban morphology’ and ‘urban populations’. As regards spatial planning, participants of this course are required to develop a scenario by adopting the perspective of different individuals or social groups.