Phase III – 2015

2015 Urban culture, public space, and the past – Urban peace and national welfare

Here, evolved everyday culture is set in relation to the professional culture of urban experts and the university training of its time: what public spaces were designed in what way, with which materials, and with what socio-political vision? Which urban cultural movements existed and how have these been reflected in the professional world? Various urban and professional historical periods can be addressed with urban peace: the loss of peace before and during the World Wars, the fragile Golden Age in between with its social and cultural innovations, the period of reconstruction and of the welfare state, and of the largely peaceful city. The university education of urban experts was marked by the institutional relationship of municipalities to states and nations. After the war, spatial redistribution and principles of the welfare state played a central role in the development of public spaces. They were highly regulated as a space of communication, and were regarded as an aesthetic category, due in part to their history of instrumentalization. In terms of methods, the focus is on the one hand turned toward de-escalatatory approaches of inclusive urban planning in historically crisis-ridden cities (e.g., Belfast, Nicosia, Jerusalem); on the other hand, the historic urban culture of particularly peaceful cities (e.g., Geneva, Montreal, Oslo, and Vienna) is considered. The aim is to gain an overview of specific strategies of pacification or preservation of urban peace in urban planning and design, in particular to counteract recent developments in which all public behavior per se is seen as suspicious and dangerous (e.g., in the UK and USA), and consequently in which public space is seen as simply a place for fighting terrorism, rather than as an important instrument of societal peace in the city.