Assoc. Prof. Dr. Sabine Knierbein

“Public space is where public life unfolds. The complexities of societal change are concentrated here in a small area; lived, perceived, and conceived spaces overlap and penetrate one another here abstractly as well as concretely, concurrently and with different rhythms and intensities. As a seismograph for societal trends, tendencies and turbulences, it offers itself as a central epistemological subject of urban research. Planners and designers can examine, discard and enrich their own values, positions, and mental barriers – and, in short, can learn – in dialogue with residents, visitors, and citizens. Public spaces are also a corrective to urban policy, because it is here that ‘public interest’, however it is outlined, is carved in stone and cast in steel, and thus affects life-worlds. Diversity and difference are included both methodologically and substantively.


Therefore, the academic teams at the Interdisciplinary Center for Urban Culture and Public Space register a plea for the systematic pooling of diverse perspectives without, however, trying to claim the ability to fully decode or control the material changes in the social form of our cities. For the exploration of public space as a constantly changing urban reality is an inexhaustible, lifelong task for researchers.”