European Conference, 10th and 11th November 2010, Vienna, Austria

Conference theme: European cities are changing rapidly in partial response to the processes of de-industrialization, European integration and economic globalization. Public spaces of these cities, as essential ingredients of the urban image and experience, are increasingly playing an important part in this transition. A key question concerns the role that public spaces are expected to play in political, economic and cultural transformation of cities, and the impact of these transformations on the nature of public space as a shared resource. How are public authorities addressing the challenges of provision and maintenance of public space both as a catalyst for change and as a common good? The questions that will be explored revolve around three sub-themes: strategies, plans and policies; multiple roles of public space; and everyday life in the city.

Strategies, plans and policies: How do public authorities address a growing pressure on public spaces? What are the issues, strategies, and tactics of dealing with public spaces, and what do they aim to achieve? Who are the state and non-state actors involved in setting the conditions for public spaces? How are they organized and what are the relationships between different actors? How are policies initiated, formulated, implemented, reflected and finally, how do people perceive and react to such policies? How do design and planning professionals contribute with their projects to the changing conditions of public spaces? How can innovative practices contribute to redefine approaching public spaces?

Multiple roles of public space: Public space is where public life unfolds: art works are displayed, commercial messages transmitted, political power is displayed and social norms affirmed or challenged. How do these different processes take place? How do public spaces accommodate these multiple roles? How are conflicts of interest addressed? Which new phenomena of social transformation do emerge in public spaces? How do contemporary design and planning interventions renegotiate the boundaries of public space? What is the (changing) position of arts within public space as an actor between politics and people?

Everyday life and sharing the city: Public space is the realm of sociability. How do public spaces address people’s everyday needs and expectations? How are the boundaries between public and private spheres set, and how does this affect people’s daily life? How are cultural differences and social inequalities addressed in public spaces? How is local everyday life knowledge taken into account by professional disciplines planning, developing and designing public spaces? Which latent social needs get visible in public spaces? How can a fair sharing of public spaces be arranged? How do designers deal with the involvement of people in the process of producing public space? How do city representatives handle the ‘voices of people’?

Organising committee: Prof. Dr. Ali Madanipour, DI Aglaée Degros and Dr. Sabine Knierbein, Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space (TU Vienna,
Abstract length: max. 200 words
Conference fee: 10 Euro (students), 30 Euro (institutions)
Deadline for Abstract Submission: 23rd June 2010 to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Notice on Abstract Acceptance: 30th July 2010
Deadline for Short Paper Submission (additional Movie or Audio Submission possible): 30th September 2010
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