Visiting Professorship in Urban Studies 2020
Urban Productivity. New Public Space, Youth Integration and Labour Market Access

MASTER MODULE: Urban Productivity. New Public Space, Youth Integration and Labour Market Access

LE 280.534  Strategies and intervention of the production of space

[1 LE (Lecture course), 2 SWS (contact hours, one is 45min, counted for 13-15 weeks per term), 4 ECTS]

**This course will be offered by Visiting Professor in Urban Studies 2020, Dr. Kim Trogal (Canterbury School of Architecture, University for the Creative Arts) and by Assoc. Prof. Sabine Knierbein**

TISS course: 280.534

i. Aims of the course

After successful completion of the course, students are able to understand the nunaced features of urban development phenomena in relation to public space, its productivity and also its role in social reproduction. This is key in order to address public spaces as key catalysts to constructively tackle youth unemployment in contemporary cities around the globe.

This lecture course aims to examine the politics of how urban spaces and development are (re)productive of specific subjectivities, relations and practices. The course departs from a working understanding that the reproductive capacities of space are not inherently aligned with progressive politics, but rather can similarly reproduce neoliberalism or other practices of inequality. In the critical context of climate change, rising social inequality and unemployment, the course therefore aims on the one hand to enable critique of current modes of socio-spatial organization, ownership and management of the city. On the other, the course explores more equitable, just and mutual models of socio-spatial production. In the context of the module’s wider agenda of urban productivity, this lecture course therefore introduces students to a range of critical theories through which both the problematics and future potentialities of urban productivity can be examined.

The course aims to equip students with new perspectives on the city for critical analysis, as well as expand subject knowledge relevant to city futures. While debating urban productivity and social reproduction in the context of public spaces, we will shed a light on the rising youth unemployment in cities of the global South and global North.  We will jointly examine how architecture, urban design and planning disciplines can address youth unemployment through the spatial practices they envisage. This will help us to discuss our own disciplines’ roles in shaping more inclusive labour markets.

ii. Contents of the course

The course introduces a range of theories across a range of disciplines including architecture, urban studies, planning and geography with perspectives from sociology, critical management and labour studies to interrogate the social reproduction of public space and the city. Specifically the course introduces: theories of urbanization, urban restructuring and public space, feminist theories of social reproduction; theories and practices of commons; public space as social infrastructure; post work theories; post-growth urbanism and theories of neoliberal governmentality and planning.

iii. Methods

The lecture is part of a module in which the spatial and urban research method part will be explicitly dealt with in the exercise number 280.536. Within the lecture, we will use blended learning and face-to-face teaching methods as well as an interactive lecturing format, which allows questions and comments throughout the lecture course. Our teaching model is informated by participatory action research and cricital urban pedagogy which means that we actively seek to provide an interest-based learning approach across the module. In terms of pedagogical approaches in architecture and planning, we will seek to jointly explore with the students how these fields can gain more relevance for teaching youth unemployment in contemporary cities through a more inclusive architectural, planning and urban research praxis.


Introduction: Revisiting ‘The Social Production of Space’ for 21st century practice [Introductory unit] (unit 0, Kim Trogal and Sabine Knierbein)

This lecture re-visits theories of the social production of space in light of 21st century concerns, both social and ecological. From the 18th century onwards, the history of urbanization (crossing both cities and countryside) is tightly bound to the history and developments of capitalism. From the industrial and the post-industrial city, to consumption-led urbanism, including the more recent drive for experience-economy urbanism, the ‘social production of space’ (Lefebvre, Soja, Harvey) remains a crucial vector through which to understand this relation contemporaneously. Given current trajectories of inequality and ecological damage, we need ever more urgently to understand the role space plays in social (re)production? What agencies or capacities are possible, and what can practitioners like planners, architects and urban designers try to critically operate upon? The lecture sets out variations on this critical frame to argue for the continued relevance of the ‘social production of space’ today, and how associated concepts of uneven development, deep space, and post-growth cities must be seen as integral to understandings, proposals and movements for a more inclusive and just urbanization pattern.


  • Purcell, Marc (2013) Possible Worlds: Henri Lefebvre and the Right to the City. Journal of Urban Affairs. Vol. 36, No 1


Care and the social (re)production of space (unit 1, Kim Trogal)

This lecture introduces feminist critiques and theories of care and labour to reconsider the notion of the ‘social (re)production of space’. The lecture questions (1) How foregrounding care and social reproduction changes our understanding of cities, neighbourhoods and public space? And (2) What are the ethical implications of doing so? The lecture in particular will delve into the myriad ways that feminist geographers, architects and artists working in the urban realm have engaged with and progressed the subject; particularly foregrounding the analytical categories, and the consequences they bring, such as awareness of the materiality of dependency and its spatial organization. This body of work therefore brings significant insights to developing our definitions and understandings of ‘urban productivity’. Amongst its conclusions, the lecture argues that accounts and understandings of care and social reproduction are crucial to develop the spatial knowledge needed to transition to more socially and ecologically just cities.


  • Gibson-Graham, J.K., 2006. A postcapitalist politics. University of Minnesota Press. [PAGES]
  • Hayden, D., 1982. The Grand Domestic Revolution: A history of feminist designs for American homes, neighbourhoods, and cities. Cambridge: MIT Press. [PAGES]


Public space, Urbanization and Neoliberal Governmentality (lecture 2, Sabine Knierbein)

Contemporary cities are changing rapidly due to processes of de-industrialization, sociocultural integration, climate change and economic globalization. Within those cities public spaces are the meeting place of politics and culture, social and individual territories, instrumental and expressive concerns. This lecture unit investigates how public spaces are used, instrumentalized and transformed into core catalysts of processes of urban transformation and capital accumulation in contemporary cities. A widening of the focus of the historical palimpsest from central public spaces to every day places situated in the urban peripheries allows a more nuanced understanding of the challenges that contemporary cities face. This lecture unit (1) introduces transitions in public spaces of European cities; (2) addresses different interpretations of patterns of urban restructuring (e.g. postfordist, neoliberal) in connection with Foucault’s theory of Governmentality as an explanatory frame for a historical analysis of urban restructuring  and (3) introduces the concept of post-positivist planning (1st and 2nd generation).


  • Madanipour, Ali, Knierbein, Sabine and Aglaée Degros (2014) A Moment of Transformation. IN: Madanipour, Ali, Knierbein, Sabine and Aglaée Degros (eds) Public Space and the Challenges of Urban Transformation in Europe. London. Routledge. Pp. 1-8.
  • Foucault, Michel (1991): Governmentality, in: Burchell, Graham, Gordon, Colin and Miller, Peter (eds.): The Foucault Effect. Studies in Governmentality, London (u.a.): Harvester Wheatsheaf. Pp. 87-104.


The City as Commons: the Production of Social Wealth (unit 3, Kim Trogal)

This lecture will  introduce the concept of the common and commons as a lens to understand, analyze and re-imagine the city. The common, as a political concept, goes beyond the economically framed notion of ‘common goods’ or resources, seen as those properties held in common by civil society or community groups.  The common here is located both as an alternative production of space, one that valorizes social reproduction and is simultaneously a critical element appropriated by capitalist productions of the space and the city. The lecture introduces theories by way of different histories and examples of the common and urban commons, to explore questions of property, value, surplus value and governance. It will consider how contemporary theories of commoning, relate to urban environments and particularly as they intersect with the right to the city.


  • Berlant, L., 2016. The commons: Infrastructures for troubling times.Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 34(3), pp.393-419.
  • Harvey, D., 2012. The creation of the urban commons. Rebel cities: from the right to the city to the urban revolution, pp.67-88.



Lived Space, Everyday Life and Global Urban Restructuring (unit 4, Sabine Knierbein)

International Public Space Research offers (1) a plethora of approaches to adopt, appropriate and act in public space through changing everyday practices (e.g. everyday urbanism, ordinary city, insurgent planning, insurgent public space, etc.). Their importance for constituting everyday life in the city is once again stressed by reconsidering lived space dimensions (e.g. in planning and architecture). While (2) the focus of this stream of thought rests on marginalized groups and those parts of the urban society that do not feel integrated into mainstream/majority society and hegemonic governance, a growing critique of (bourgeois) social movements (and their failures) gains momentum. The lecture will (3) establish a link between these recent ways of challenging architecture and planning education through the focus on the everyday dimension of urban space.


  • Bayat, Asef (2010): Life as politics: how ordinary people change the Middle East. Stanford. Stanford Univ. Press. Pp. 14-26, 56-60
  • Crawford, Margaret (1999) Introduction. IN: Chase, John, Crawford Margaret and John Kaliski (eds) Everyday urbanism. New York. The Monacelli Press. Pp. 8-18


Public Space as Social infrastructure: From Austerity Urbanism to Solidary Urbanism (unit 5, Kim Trogal)

This lecture will put forward an understanding of public spaces as forming an integral part of social infrastructure and social reproduction. The lecture will explore some of the impacts of the UK’s period of intense austerity (2010- onwards) on that infrastructure, in terms of employment (a key concern for the module) as well as public resources, civic life and local capacities more broadly. In this context, participatory urban projects in art and architecture can be read as taking place within what Jamie Peck (2012) and Fran Tonkiss (2013) called ‘austerity urbanism’. While, on one level such initiatives support skills and build local capacities, their relation to wider urban agendas of employment or entrepreneurship can be ambiguous. By introducing a vocabulary through which to analyze and reflect on such practices, as well as looking to ambitious projects of urban participation, the lecture aims to consider the ways that practices can critically evolve from austerity urbanism to solidarity urbanism.


  • Mattern, S., 2014. ‘Library as infrastructure’.Places Journal. Available: https://placesjournal.org/article/library-as-infrastructure/
  • Peck, J. 2015. ‘Austerity Urbanism. The Neoliberal Crisis of American Cities.’ Published by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, New York, May 2015 City Series, #1 PDF Available from: http://www. rosalux-nyc.org/austerity-urbanism/


Guest Lecture by Katharine McKinnon Title  (unit 6, Sabine Knierbein)

One of the core tenets of efforts to build community economies is to consider how human livelihoods can be reshaped around a concern to survive well together (Gibson-Graham, Cameron and Healy 2014). Beyond mere survival, community economies scholars are interested in how we survive well, and what that might mean in different places and for different people. Crucially, such efforts to survive well must also recognize our fundamental interdependence, thus it is a concern that must be pursued together with our human and other-than-human planetary companions. Care is central to a praxis of surviving well together and in this talk I consider how a pluriversal politics of care must be interwoven with the work of transforming economies for people and planet. With reference to community economies scholarship across majority and minority world contexts, I explore the idea that it is in multiple quotidian ethical negotiations around practices of care that a care-full community economies emerges.

Guest Lecture by Ali Madanipour  (unit 7, Kim Trogal)


Guest Lecture by Fran Tonkiss  (unit 8, Kim Trogal)


Cities and Work: Exploring Public Space in Post-Work Scenarios  (unit 9, Kim Trogal)

This lecture introduces recent theories and writings on post-work to consider their implications for urban space and practice. Recent projections predict that unemployment will rise steadily in the next 30 years. This, coupled with changes to employment practices such as the gig economy, undermines a social contract that until recently has been based on work. Namely that work, which once stood as a path to well-being, prosperity and site of personal ethical growth or meaning, has now broken down for many (Weeks, 2011). Against this backdrop, this lecture explores (1) the spatial implications of post-work theorists’ scenarios and responses, (2) different understandings and histories of ‘socially useful’ production (Smith, 2014)  or productive work, and (3) how might those understandings impact upon the knowledges and practices of urban professionals, such as planners, architects, designers, citizens? How might changes in work change how we take care of the city?


  • Hester, H. and Srnicek, N., 2018. The crisis of social reproduction and the end of work.
  • Weeks, K., 2011.The problem with work: Feminism, Marxism, antiwork politics, and postwork imaginaries. Duke University Press. PAGES


Open Lecture Format  (unit 10, Sabine Knierbein)

For this lecture unit, students can issue their thematic preferences by 30th November 2019 via email to Sabine Knierbein out of a range of topics discussed before and/or offered for presentation. This unit allows students to pose questions how these theories are linked to concrete spatial and urban development phenomena. We will also discuss some case studies that exemplify theoretical approaches taught during ITB 1 and 2. In case this is of interest to the students, we might combine this lecture with a walk on site (e.g. Sonnwendquartier, or other).


  • To be defined in December 2019 according to the students stated preferences.
  • Maharawal, M (2017) San Francisco’s Tech-led Gentrification: Public Space, Protest, and the Urban Commons. In: Hou, J. and Knierbein, S. (Eds.) City Unsilenced. Urban Resistance and Public Space in the Age of Shrinking Democracy. London/New York: Routledge. Pp. 30-43. 


Post-growth Urbanism: A Refusal to Produce?  (unit 11, Kim Trogal)

This lecture brings debates around post-growth and de-growth economies to bear on urbanism.  New ecological agendas, the recent discussion of a ‘green new deal’ as well as new green jobs, on one level pose an exciting prospect for climate sensitive urbanism.  Movements in architecture and design, such as the push for circular economies and other ecological initiatives, such as design for reparability, are all seen as potential sites of employment. This lecture will explore (1) different theories emerging from degrowth and postgrowth discourses to discuss their implications for the built environment (2) emerging  observations of labour practices in new ‘green collar’ jobs (Pettinger, 2017), as well as  (3) introducing new theoretical concepts that STS, Media Studies and other fields are currently bringing in lieu of growth, which might have some traction for urban studies.


  • D’Alisa, G., Demaria, F. and Kallis, G. eds., 2014.Degrowth: a vocabulary for a new era. Routledge. PAGES
  • Pettinger, L. (2017) ‘Green collar work: Conceptualizing and exploring an emerging field of work’, Sociology Compass, 11(1):1-13.


City Unsilenced: Public Space and Urban Resistance  (unit 12, Sabine Knierbein)

Cities have long been sites of social and political struggles. As the manifestation of social organization, power, and politics, urban settings are also places in which those relationships are contested and sometimes overthrown. In 2011, urban resistance returned to the headlines of global news media through global incidents such as the Arab Spring protests and the Occupy Wall Street Movement. In Brazil, rounds of Free Fare Movement protests joined by thousands of young people, students repeatedly forced the local governments to cancel the increase of bus fare. In Taipei, university students took over the country’s Parliament building and occupied it for 24 days in protest against the passage of a trade pact with China that would further erode the nation’s economy and democratic institution. In 2019, protests on airports in Hongkong, on the Viennese Heldenplatz as well as a new wave of ecological protests initiated by the Fridays for Future Movement made the news. These recent acts of urban resistance share many things in common. In addition to the popular use of social media and the adoption of a horizontal structure for mobilization, many of the protests have re-introduced public space, in forms of streets, squares, parks, and parliament buildings, as the stage for political struggle. This re-centering of focus on public space is particularly significant as it comes at a time when public space, understood as the embodied geography of the public sphere (Low and Smith 2005) have been undermined after decades of corporatization, privatization, commodification, enforcement of security measures in many cities around the world. This lecture helps to better understand that the current waves of urban protests are inherently linked to rapidly changing structural conditions, the rise of new authoritarian statehoods and the decline of (national) democracies. It (1) emphasises recent political theory accounts that seek to explain the omnipresent democratic deficits of state governance and (3) a critique of communicative planning and initial thoughts on the relation of planning and design disciplines and counter-hegemonic movements will be developed.


  • Lorey, Isabell (2014): The 2011 Occupy Movements: Rancière and the Crisis of Democracy. In: Theory, Culture & Society, December 2014, vol. 31, 7-8: pp 43-65.
  • Purcell, Marc (2009) Resisting Neoliberalization: Communicative Planning or Counter-Hegemonic Movements? Planning Theory May 2009 vol. 8 no. 2, Pp. 140-165.


Closing Unit Retrospective Summary of Teaching Contents [Closing unit] (unit 13, Kim Trogal and Sabine Knierbein)

In this unit we will retrospectively summarize the lecture series and its units, establish connections between different teaching inputs and clarify remaining questions. The unit also offers space to pose questions as regards the assessment procedures.


iv. Assessment of students’ performance

Participants of the lecture are asked to individually attend the lecture units and read the related texts. They are moreover required to either prepare an individual scientific essay of 6-8 pages or to take an oral group exam of 60 minutes (which will be marked individually).

The scientific essay should draw connections between one input offered by Kim Trogal (including texts) and one input offered by Sabine Knierbein (including texts) and develop cross-disciplinary perspectives on the annual theme “2020 – Urban Productivity. New Public Space, Youth Integration and Labour Market Access”, in particular with a focus on urban cultures and public spaces. Submission deadline for the individual essays is 15th January 2020. The oral exam will be offered during the 3rd teaching block (tbc). For the oral group exam students are required to revise all lectures and the assigned literature.

 v. Further information

This lecture » Strategies and interventions of the production of space” is part of the module 11 «Urban culture, public space» (consisting of three courses, VO 280.534, SE 280.535 and EX 280.536) which is offered during three intensive teaching weeks (ITB) by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space (https://skuor.tuwien.ac.at). Module 11 compiles a set of integrated courses dealing with lived space at the interface of the fields of urban studies, urban design and urban planning. In 2019, the main focus will be on «Urban Productivity: New Public Space, Youth Integration and Labour Market Access”. The courses mainly address master students (late bachelor or early doctoral students), especially from planning and architecture are invited to take part. Yet we explicitly welcome students coming from other Viennese universities in related disciplines, such as urban studies, urban design, geography, sociology, political science, landscape architecture, cultural studies, etc. as well as ‘Mitbeleger’.  The course language is English. We support students active participation in debates and interactive teaching formats, and encourage you to bring in and develop your own ideas and critical perspectives. We seek to create an international level of debate and exchange and welcome students from all countries and cultures. Just contact us (info@skuor.tuwien.ac.at).

Students interested in this course are highly recommended to take part in the seminar (TISS No 280.535) and the exercise (TISS No 280.536).

To take part in all three courses of the module 11 please register for module 11 until 2nd October 2019 (11:59 pm) via TISS registration for the course, VO 280.534. Further course registration will be carried out directly at the kick-off meeting on 3rd of October, 9am (seminar room 3/4) in Augasse 2-6, 2nd floor.

Dates of the Module 11

The main body of teaching will be delivered during three intensive teaching blocks (ITB):

  • ITB 1 – 21st to 25th October 2019
  • ITB 2 – 18th to 26nd November 2019 (including free conference visit for guest lectures)
  • ITB 3 – 20th to 24th January 2020