Semestral Theme 2018

TU Wien Visiting Professorship for “Public Space, Urban Culture and Housing”
Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, Faculty of Architecture and Planning, TU Wien

Call for Interest Temporary Professorship Position (Part Time) March 2018 to June 2018

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, of TU Wien has opened a Call for Expressions of Interest for a short-term position of the TU Wien Visiting Professorship 2018 (part time), appointed for a semestral period for the 2018 summer term (March 1, 2018 to June 30, 2018).

The theme

This semester topic revisits the division between public and private space in the city. This division has been one of the key issues when addressing the qualities of public life and the urban fabric in urban history. Public space has been conceived of as being limited through different shades of private borders, boundaries and property lines, whereas urban planners state that in order to build real cities and not just dwelling units, private space needs to be interwoven with the urban fabric through the connective tissue that is public space. This dialectical relation has also been expressed through the shifting balance between tenants and owners of a city. A manifest change in these patterns has been induced by financial and speculative modes of housing production in which through subprime lending an increasing number of tenant households have been offered loans, in order to tempt them to become property owners and despite them being at high risk not to afford the loan.  This, for instance, has been the case in Spain in recent years. To what extent have traditional ‘tenant cities’ been developing into ‘cities of home owners’, in which the manoeuvre particularly of cities as owners of public housing stocks for renting has been diminished? How have political and medial agendas been shaped in order to stimulate people to consider becoming property owners?

On another front, feminist planning theorists and architectural critiques have raised concerns that the binary between public and private is reproduced in planning theory, architectural history and urban studies. In this reproduction of the public/private binary the public has been very often coined as male, heroic and rational whereas the private aspects have been ascribed to female, intimate and affective social ties. Such a banalization and misreading of the hybridity and mixture of facets of public and private life in the city (and their translation into urban design and planning schemes) have been recently challenged on the ground by housing activist groups. These groups have actively addressed and questioned social hardship faced by both home buyers and by tenants in coping with gentrification, foreclosure and eviction, and have brought this matter considered as private into the public. The tides have changed particularly, it seems, in countries and cities struck by fiscal crises and austerity measures. Nevertheless, there seem to be manifest shifts on the way in respect to how new urban quarters are produced in a decade characterized by a new faith in growth and by quite massive urban expansion and densification schemes in the wealthier cities (and countries).

The activities

The candidate appointed to the theme of summer term 2018 “Urban Culture, Public Space and Housing”, will engage in teaching and research on various aspects of the social production of lived spaces, both in the private and the public realm, and at their interface. The TU Wien Visiting Professorship for “Urban Culture, Public Space and Housing” will particularly investigate the role between public and private life in Vienna, both in the existing urban areas (processes of urban regeneration) and in those areas recently developed and yet to come (processes of urban expansion and densification). We will thus shift the focus from the central urban districts and their existing housing markets (and public space relations) towards those districts (in Vienna and other cities) where a growing number of the urban population lives, or is assumed to live in the near future. At which point does the relation between built public spaces and everyday life uses spatially fall apart? To what extent can we build new and needed bridges between housing and public space related concerns? During transition phases in urban restructuring: Who addresses the relation between public space and housing units, and how? The Visiting Professor will be invited to discuss these among other salient questions, and to offer a new perspective on contemporary processes of urbanization. The academic will forward an inquiry into these relations on four levels: policy, research, education and activism.

In close collaboration with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, the Visiting Professor engages with the established academic team in Vienna, which will dialectically shape a teaching and research program for the semester. The candidate, who is either a luminary in contemporary social science based urban research (Know Why), or an expert in experimental and innovation-oriented research and teaching related to urban design and planning (Know How) will further develop her/his specific focus at the interface between theory and practice towards fostering mapping and collage techniques, as well as reinterpretations of building plans and urban design schemes.

The candidate must have previously held a position of an assistant professor (tenure track), associate professor or full professor, and should be authorized to supervise doctoral students. A temporary position is offered for the summer term 2018, in the period from 1 March 2018 to 30 June 2018. Additional information regarding the Requirement Profile, and the Declaration of Interests can be obtained here. For any further inquiries, please do not hesitate to contact Prof. Dr. Sabine Knierbein at the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space at  TU Wien via e-mail. Expression of Interest can be submitted via e-mail until 15th of December 2017.


Further Links:

Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space


Visiting Professorship


TU Wien Visiting Professorship 2018