AESOP Thematic Group Public Spaces and Urban Cultures and City Street 4 Conference Roundtables

Roundtable1: Public Spaces - Knowledge Transition Between Research, Policy and Practice

Date: 23 September 2020 Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM CEST (Central European Summer Time)

Moderators: Matej Nikšič, Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana and Ceren Sezer, RWTH Aachen University, Aachen 


-       Patricia Aelbrecht, Geography and Planning School, Cardiff University

-       Cecilia Andersson, UN Habitat, Global Public Space Programme 

-       Enzhe Dusaeva, Tamga Institute of urban studies, Kazan 

-       Zeynep Gunay,  ISOCARP Board, Director of Young Planning Professionals Programme

-       Alenka Korenjak, prostoRož, Ljubljana, Slovenia  

-       Tadej Žaucer, Ministry of infrastructure of the Republic of Slovenia, Sustainable Mobility and Transport Policy Division

Public space has received an increasing attention in urban research, policy, and practice. This is evident in the growing academic literature on the themes related to public space, including accessibility, healthy living, inclusiveness, democracy, urban justice, self-organization, social movements among others. The 2016 UN Habitat Conference, Habitat III, adopted The New Urban Agenda, which focused on public space as a promoter of ‘inclusive, connected, safe and accessible’ cities (UN Habitat, 2016). NGOs worldwide have developed a placemaking approach to improve public spaces, which has been adopted in many cities. Neighbourhood organizations, local interest groups, cultural minorities, or politically oriented pressure groups manifested their needs and interests and reclaimed public spaces specifically in the context of profit-oriented urban developments. This complexity requires transdisciplinary methods to analyse and conceptualise public spaces to be able to engage knowledge, approaches and theories of public spaces from various perspectives to inform and influence policy-making and practice in different contexts. 

This roundtable aims to promote a vivid discussion between the speakers and participants from academia, international institutions, practitioners and governments on the challenges and opportunities of knowledge transition between public space research, policy and practice.  

Participation: free of charge, without registration, click on this link:

Roundtable 2: Moving Around our Cities in the Times of Epidemics – the Changed Demand for Public Spaces

Date: 24 September 2020 Time: 3:30 PM – 5:00 PM CEST (Central European Summer Time)

Moderators: Alenka Fikfak, Faculty of Architecture, Ljubljana and Christine Mady, Notre Dame University-Louaize, Beirut 


-       Jose Chong, UN Habitat, United Nations Human Settlements Programme

-       Marko Peterlin, Institute for Spatial Policies, Ljubljana, Slovenia

-       Janez Černe, Deputy Mayor of The City Municipality of Kranj, Slovenia 

-       Stefano Ragazzo, AMAT - Agency of the Mobility, Envrionment and Territory of Milan Municipality, Italy 

The recent Covid-19 pandemic crisis have affected mobility, social practices and other forms of life that are part of public spaces in our cities. While the public transport usage is decreasing, some other forms of mobility such as walking and cycling are gaining popularity. At the same time new social distancing measurements are challenging the design and management of the open public spaces. On one hand public spaces must stay the places of the social exchanges and democratic practices, on the other hand the epidemiologic measures demand the changed behavioural patterns and practices in open public spaces. Can this be an opportunity for re-conceptualising public spaces as we know them and turn them into more democratic and sustainable places?

This roundtable focuses on the following questions: Which technical solutions can contribute to a responsible usage of open public spaces during the epidemics so that the transportation, socialisation and other normative functions of streets can be kept while the public health standards not endangered? Which interdisciplinary approaches are needed to address the issue in a holistic way at the crossroad of health, IT, urban planning, social and other sciences and disciplines to allow streets and other public spaces stay alive during the epidemics? How can individuals, communities and local authorities equally engage in circumscribing epidemics and mitigating their impact on the everyday lives of commuters, cyclists, pedestrians and other users of city streets? How can data be shared in epidemics situations and the transmittal of viruses controlled in streets and public transport?

Participation: free of charge, without registration, click on this link: