Paths and tools of the production of space

Link: TISS 280.360

UE Übung / Semester hours: 2.0 / ECTS 4.0

Aim of course

The exercise course (UE) „Paths and tools of the production of space“ is part of module 11 “Urban culture, public space” offered by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space. The module puts focus on strategies and practices of the social production of lived space in the range from meaningful experiences in everyday life to scientific insights. It consists of three courses, which in combination cover theoretical approaches to studying public life in the city, methodologies for researching public space and practice-oriented learning. Students are therefore strongly encouraged to take all the three courses of the module, which as a whole paves the way for both a broad understanding of and a conscious engagement in multiple urban publics of the city. The module is entirely taught in English.

This course revolves around strategies and tactics of counter-planning from the grassroots level. Participants will develop own critical perspectives on the representations of multiple city publics and their cultures and everyday-life practices in the dominant cultural and institutional setting. The aim of the course is the development of students‘ research projects based on hands-on, artistic, action-based and involved practices. Such projects would critically engage in issues of the representations of counter-publics and emerging practices in Vienna’s public spaces and explore how planners‘ actions and urban practices can strengthen public spaces as democratic and convivial social spaces, and thus contribute to social engagement and inclusion. Two historic green spaces in Vienna’s centre act as case studies for the students‘ projects, which would aim to inquire into, critically reflect on and thoughtfully engage in heterogeneous, or even concealed publics and counter-publics in highly visible and known places.

Subject of the course

How can critically engaged spatial practices, action-based involved research, artistic tactics and strategies, and scientific insights enhance participatory and explorative learning about making of a city’s spaces? How can meaningful research in public space help us develop critical understanding of the historical, legal, political and social conditions that have shaped space? Participants of this course will conduct research in the central public spaces of Volksgarten and Heldenplatz. They are encouraged to reflect on multiple histories of these places, specific politics of space (ownership, management, use rights, involved and affected actors), political and civic practices, and the ways of living (the relationships between cultures, individuals and collective groups and processes and practices through which their identities and interests are shaped, expressed and negotiated) by undertaking embedded, action-based research.

The course is oriented toward the development and testing of context-specific methods for exploring one or multiple dimensions of social, political and cultural space Participants will be introduced to various methods borrowed from different fields and asked to self-reflexively use them for gaining a broad understanding of their research subjects, but also to critically reflect on the used methods as powerful formative tools in image and discourse production. In so doing participants will touch upon the questions of how knowledge about the place and culture is produced, how social utopias are being constructed, how various alternative materialities and counter-practices appear and to what extent they have been recognized by institutional research and represented in established science.

Students‘ research projects will be executed as a group work throughout the semester. The expected output includes the preparation of an urban design brief (a document with quality standards for a fictive competition for the redesign of the place). The brief is intended to open both the research and design process to the public and aims to pave the way towards integrating civil society and artistic practices into a transdisciplinary exchange platform in order to test approaches to and practices of counter planning in Vienna.

 Additional Information

The exercise course (UE) „Paths and tools of the production of space“ is part of the module 11 „Urban culture, public space“ of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space. The instructors will be as follows: Ass. Prof. Dr. Sabine Knierbein, DI Eva Schwab and DI Tihomir Viderman, MSc. The course language is English. We support students’ active participation in debates and interactive teaching formats, and encourage them to bring in and develop their own ideas and critical perspectives.

The course is directed at Master’s students (including final year Bachelor’s and early PhD students too), internationally thinking students as well as students working interdisciplinarily. Participants of this course are strongly encouraged to take other courses of the module 11 too (namely 280.358 and 280.359). Participation in at least 80% of classes is required for successful completion of the course.

Please register for the Module 11 until 5 October 2014 in the TISS registration system (registration at VO 280.358). Registrations for single courses of the Module 11 (including this excursion) will be possible at the Module’s Kick-off taking place on 6 October 2014 at 9.00, or in person until 13 October 2014 at the SKuOR office.

Dates for the Excercise Course Units within the Intensive Teaching Blocks (ITBs) of Module 11:

ITB 1:

Monday, 6 October 2014, 9.00 – 10.30 Module Kick off

Tuesday, 7 October 2014, from 9.00 to 15.00 (3 units)

Wednesday, 8 October 2014, from 11.00 to 15.00 (2 units)

ITB 2:

Wednesday, 12 November 2014, from 11.00 to 15.00 (2 units)

ITB 3:

Tuesday, 2 December 2014, from 11.00 to 15.00 (2 units)

Friday, 5 December 2014, from 9.00 to 12.30 (2 units)