Phase I: 2009 – 2011

2011 Urban culture, public space and markets – Economy and innovation

In current urban development debates a variety of economic demands seem to have resurfaced (Zukin 1995) which herald a new phase of economic appropriations of the multifaceted potentials of urban public spaces: the indirect upgrading of adjacent properties which is e.g. fostered by design interventions in public spaces nowadays is superposed by a scope of direct capital accumulation interests which know how to use the productivity of the public nature of public spaces. Public spaces become the productive terrains of postfordist urban economies, e.g. the economy of attention. Businesses are as well taking an active role in the cultural production of the city. On the one hand, these businesses bear the potential to trigger (social) innovation in public spaces, an aspect that is positively received by society, but on the other hand they encounter criticism because they are able to enforce their claims which are guided by the principle of creating surplus values more strongly than other players.

2010 Urban culture, public space and the state – Politics and planning

Decision making regarding the future stimulation and regulation of public space production processes which is realized by public and institutional players of government and administrative entities at the municipal and provincial level often takes place in different policy fields and planning departments. A central policy field in this context is urban cultural policy, which is complemented by municipal culture marketing and culture management, but which hitherto has rarely integrated spatial and urban planning with an explicitly cultural thrust.

2009 Urban culture, public space and civil society – Culture and conflict

Civil society players, for instance, display a wide variety of different cultural interests in public spaces. These are evidenced by phenomena such as self-organised Christmas bazaars, art exhibitions or media installations on building façades – temporary and event-driven in nature – or ordinary cultural manifestations of local colour and custom encountered daily in Vienna’s “Grätzeln”, the typical small social and cultural neighbourhoods, contrasted by the ethnic diversity of the European Danube metropolis.