Interdisciplinary Centre
for Urban Culture and Public Space

History

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space (http://skuor.tuwien.ac.) was established in 2008 as a horizontally structured institution within the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at the TU Wien (organizational chart). Between March 2009 and September 2021, the Centre hosted a Visiting Professorship funded by both local public institutions (The City of Vienna 2009-2017, TU Wien 2018) and by international public institutions (The KTH Royal Institute of Technology Stockholm, Sweden, 2019-2021). This scheme was organized according to annual thematic issues grouped together in overall umbrella topics covering a time span of three years each. It was supported by the Working Group of the TU Wien, a local expert committee, during the first years, a board which has been substituted with the installation and growth of the Centre’s International Advisory Board consisting mainly of former Visiting Professors. Additionally, in 2019, TU Wien recognized the Centre within its official organizational structure as part of the Faculty’s innovative future lab. In 2021, the Centre was connected to a brand new Venia Docendi at TU Wien in the field of Internationale Urbanistik (Urban Studies). In the same year, the Centre also engaged with developing new contents for the new study curriculum in planning, and started intensifying the internal cooperations to set up new study courses at bachelor, master and doctoral levels.

Between 2008 and the present time, the team of the Centre has engaged with a plethora of project proposals, Erasmus strategic partnerships and teaching mobilities, WTZ cooperations, Cotutelle agreements and other types of international exchange in the field of research-based teaching and teaching-oriented research. Thereby, the centre’s profile as an international player within the Faculty of Architecture and Planning at TU Wien has been consolidated.Today, the Centre’s local team works in partnership with international researchers and lecturers alike.

Our working languages are English, German, Spanish and French. The Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space forges semester-long alliances with local lecturers to foster a situated, reflexive and context-sensitive generation of scientific insights in co-production with local associations and urban inhabitants. As regards research and thesis writing, the Centre features formats that support peer-to-peer learning and collaborative research ethics among doctoral, master and bachelor students, as well as within these particular groups. Regularly, the Centre’s team is enhanced by international guest researchers and additional members of staff working on concrete projects (e.g. the faculty’s excite! project) or as part of scholarship missions for their doctoral or postdoctoral projects.

 

Faces

Prof. Dr. phil. habil. Sabine Knierbein is responsible for leading the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space. Since December 2008, this international urban studies researcher  has been tasked with the development of content in research and teaching, academic networking at an international level, and the structural organization and management of the horizontal institution. Within the Faculty of Architecture and Planning she is supported by the Dean Prof. Rudolf ScheuvensWith Richard Pfeifer, who joined in October 2022 as a PreDoc University Assistant (substitute) , the local team grew. Since March 2022 study assistant Antonia Skenderovic brings her perspectives as a spatial planning student to the group’s collaborative athmosphere. Alexander Wukovits currently contributes as teaching assistant. This team is further supported on a semester-by-semester basis by external lecturers with local urban knowledge at the intersection of urban life and urban form. The core team of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space at TU Wien guarantees scientific continuity among annually changing teams affiliated researchers constituting the wider collaborative group pre-doc, doc and post-doc researchers; prepares research proposals with other project partners; offers urban assessments, comments, and review activities; and consults with the study deans regarding the inclusion of new teaching content in architecture and planning curricula. The team represents the interface for communication between the actors at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space and other institutions in Vienna, and other cities. At the European and international level, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space’s core team is responsible for the creation of new academic networks as well as the solidification of existing networks. Read more.

International Advisory Board

The International Advisory Board of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space came into existence in 2010. Each year the Vienna University of Technology invites the former Visiting Professors to bring their experiences with the collaborative work at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space into dialogue with technical perspectives from their professional areas. They provide advice for the formulation of new agendas, take part in special academic events, and have the opportunity to provide input during the selection of Visiting Professors. As observers and supporters, they are also contacts with an external view of innovations in international research agendas and curricula. By offering their own local points of view from Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada,, England, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Iran, Italy, Taiwan and USA so far, the range of perspectives from which Vienna’s problems can be considered is sharpened and enriched.

Former Working Group TU Wien

Certain colleagues have initially supported the direction of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space as ongoing voluntary advisors and have made recommendations for the appointment of the Visiting Professors during the annual expressions of interest and appointment processes. The working group has met quarterly to semi-annually at sessions chaired by the Head of the Centre and the Dean of the Faculty. Our acknowledgements goes to colleagues from the Institute for Art History, Archaeology and Preservation (Architecture), the Centre of Local Planning (Planning), the Centre of Regional Studies (Planning), the Centre of Sociology (Planning), and the Department of Urban Design (Architecture), the Centre for Architecture Theory and Philosophy of Technics, as well as to the involved study deans and deans of the Faculty of Architecture and Planning for their enduring support. The TU Wien Working Group has been substituted over the course of the years by the growing International Advisory Board of the Centre.

Local and International Lecturers

Local knowledge alliances are increasingly important in light of the semester’s teaching themes and the Centre’s growing research agenda. The focus on the interface between Know Why und Know How necessitates the collaboration between abstract thought and practical work in cities. Theoretical academic insights as regards the contemporary urban condition has at its root and its end its dedication to contribute to understanding qualitative patterns of social change and basic transformations of cities’ political life as well as urban cultures in transition. We thus work with local lecturers each semester on specific projects. To them the curiosity for the city and orientation toward new spheres of action for traditional professions are just as important as the connection of new technologies, social innovation, and professional political positioning within the spatial arts.

Former Visiting Professorship Scheme

The former Visiting Professorship Scheme (2009-2021) has been embedded within the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space. Expert researchers and instructors who were committed to developing a joint teaching and research program over two semesters annually came together in Vienna. That way, students were given the opportunity to work on concrete topics and to confront the complexity of urban development-related issues in explorative ways, guided by local as well as international academic expertise. A special academic event (e.g. hosting a summer school, curating a intensive research and design workshop, or hosting an international conference promoting innovative ideas, and others) was also part of the agenda of the Visiting Professorship. In addition, Visiting Professors have carried out roundtable discussions or conference sessions during international meetings in cooperation with the Centre’s staff. Six international book publications have been produced over the course of 12-years-Visiting-Professorship-Schemes in collaboration with different colleagues.