Funding Phase V

KTH & TU Wien Visiting Professorship in Urban Studies 2019-2021: Key challenges of contemporary urbanization:

2019  Urban Citizenship. Public Space, Post-migrational Perspectives and Civic Innovation
2020  Urban Productivity. New Public Space, Youth Integration and Labour Market Access
2021  Urban Generations. Public Space, Ageing Society and New Health Conditions

Year of 10th Anniversary of the Interdisciplinary Centre

2018  Urban culture, public space and housing

Three three-year cycles

In order to gain inspiration from planning theory and practice as well from spatial theory and urban research, the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space appointed annual teams of complementary guest professors (Senior and Junior) between 2009-2011 at TU Vienna. These teams dialogically develop the curriculum in collaboration with the local team.

The first phase of funding of the Visiting Professorship (2009-2011) is based on a structured view of urban society. An analytical view of processes of governance was applied during the development of content. This is reflected in the tripartite thematic division of the years 2009 to 2011:

2009  Urban culture, public space and civil society – Culture and conflict
2010  Urban culture, public space and the state – Politics and planning
2011  Urban culture, public space and markets – Economy and innovation

For the second funding phase of the Visiting Professorship (2012-2014) our view – enhanced by the wealth of experience gained from the basic framework developed in Phase I – will be directed toward urban culture and public space in urban development:

2012  Urban culture, public space and resources – Aesthetics and materiality
2013  Urban culture, public space and knowledge – Education and difference
2014  Urban culture, public space and ways of life – Everyday life and insight

The third funding phase (2015-2017) is on the one hand characterized by a humanistic view of historical, contemporary, and future public spaces and urban cultural approaches; on the other hand, an enhanced role is attributed to the development of suitable methods in socio-spatial planning and architectural practice. Accordingly, phase III deals with processes of academic education of urban experts:

2015 Urban culture, public space and the past – Urban peace and national welfare
2016 Urban culture, public space and the present – Urban solidarity and European crisis
2017 Urban culture, public space and the future – Urban equity and the global agenda

Changing spatial planes of reference 2009-2011

The question of present conditions, especially the cultural production of public spaces and potential governance and design interventions, was dealt with initially at local venues in Vienna in 2009. In 2010 this perspective was extended to the effect that public spaces can be understood as a system of very different social spaces in the Austrian capital, from the airport terminal to the revitalized factory site to cafés in city squares. Ultimately in 2011 it was about the tensions between concrete and abstract spatial dimensions; it is about the exploration of various facets of economic activity (bottom up) and market mechanisms (top down) in public space in two major cities in the Danube Region: Vienna and Budapest.

Changing approaches across disciplines 2012-2014

This understanding, which presents itself as a plea for a diversity of perspectives and productive linkage points for various spatial viewpoints, now follows an in-depth analysis of various bodies of knowledge and cultures in the “interdisciplinary-transdisciplinary-postdisciplinary” triad. Here, methodological differences in the systematic application of this plurality of perspectives are addressed – within the university, between scholarship and practice, or from within the complexity of the research object. For it is necessary to sharpen the epistemological handling of urban culture and public space for subsequent application in architecture and planning, and to slowly but surely make complex spatial-theoretical positions more manageable in practice. According to fundamental dialectical concepts, theory is likewise informed by experiences in practice. Starting in 2012, this will be accelerated through the involvement of local lecturers in teaching and research.

Changing contemporary historical, scalar, and methodological cornerstones 2015-2017

The focus on calling into question the academic education of city experts makes it possible to make fruitful the educational as well as didactic characteristics of the scientific objects ‘public space’ and ‘urban culture’, which have in common that they understand these spheres of everyday urban life as places of learning. At the same time, a humanistic focus returns to the theoretical deepening of a material approach to relational social space in the training of planners and designers, which can be understood as a response to the rapidly changing requirements of the education of local and global urban experts. First, we turn our attention to the interaction of city and state with public spaces of the past (2015), then consider the crisis-ridden relationship between city and Europe in the present time (2016), while in terms of future challenges we address the tensions between the urban and global scales. These scalar and historical areas of conflict are associated with methodological areas: de-escalatory, anti-discriminatory, and postcolonial approaches to spatial research, planning, and design methodologies in public space.

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