Conference of the AESOP Thematic Group Public Spaces and Urban Cultures
“Public space and peace building: from degenerative to regenerative environments”
28-30 January 2024, Pretoria, South Africa
Hosted by the University of Pretoria, Department of Town and Regional Planning
The conference is part of the series of events to the working theme 2022-2024 of the AESOP Thematic Group Public Spaces and Urban Cultures (TG PSUC; https://aesop-planning.eu/resources/news-archive/thematicgroups/public-spaces-and-urban-cultures) titled PUBLIC SPACES, URBAN CULTURES AND CONSTRUCTING PEACE (https://aesop-planning.eu/resources/news-archive/thematic-groups/public-spacesand-urban-cultures/aesop-tg-psuc-representatives-of-forthcoming-events-2021-2023).
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS
Conflict, crime and contestation are major concerns in many public spaces and influence the experiences and perceptions of users in many ways. Although not restricted too, is particularly prevalent in the Global South, including South Africa. Peace-building is an ongoing process that requires constant negotiation and improvement of what is present. Former president of South-Africa, Nelson Mandela said “Peace is not just the absence of conflict; peace is the creation of an environment where all can flourish regardless of race, colour, creed, religion, gender, class, cast or any other social markers of difference”. This implies a context where there is the potential for transformation and regeneration through collaboration, participation and cooperation. Regenerative sustainability argues for a paradigm change to an ecological or “living systems” worldview, considering entire socio-ecological systems across many scales and the influences of these on each other. For example, the dynamics present in a public space can be influence by the social-ecological context of the immediate environment surrounding it and the broader city in which it is situated. Embracing a socio- ecological worldview and considering the city and its spaces as socio-ecological systems, requires and understanding of multiple dimensions - environmental, technical, phycological and spiritual to envision humans as part of interconnected living systems. This will assist to reconceptualise the construction of peace in public spaces to facilitate a process towards more regenerative environments.
This conference aims to explore the construction of peace in various types of public spaces. This means moving beyond short-term peace construction or peace-making and -keeping, to longer-term efforts that would focus on peace-building. This is critical in spaces of conflict and violence that are not only limited to the Global South, but also growing in the Global North. The intention is to interrogate relationship between safe and unsafe spaces from a transdisciplinary perspective with the aim of moving from degenerative to regenerative environments. This means moving between theory and practice and involving participants from academia, private sector and communities to share thoughts and experiences to re-imagine the construction of peace in public spaces through and towards regenerative sustainability.
Given this the conference will focus on three sub-themes:
- Peace construction in public space through peace-making, -keeping and -building
- Constructing peace in the commons through transdisciplinary research and actions
- Tapping into the local potential to enable peace-building through regenerative sustainability
Deadline for abstract submission: Monday, 27 November 2023
Decision on abstracts: Monday, 8 December 2023
Please submit an abstract of no more than 300 words outlining its relation to the theme or sub-themes, conceptual ideas and methods and a short biography (up to 100) with contact details to
Day 1: Afternoon drive around Pretoria, visiting three public spaces in various parts of the city
Day 2: Transdisciplinary workshop involving members form academia, built environment professionals, community organisations and members of the local municipality to discuss the re-imagination of peace construction in public spaces and the role of regenerative sustainability.
Day 3: Coreference on public space and peace-building with keynote lecture and the presentation of various academic papers.
Participation is free of charge; however, travel and accommodation arrangements need to be covered by the participants.
Local Organisers: Karina Landman and Kundadi Makakavhule
TG PSUG Representatives: Ceren Sezer (Germany) and Matej Nikšič (Slovenia)
AESOP TG PSUC 2022-2024 working theme: https://aesop-planning.eu/tg-news/public-spaces-and-urban-cultures/call-for-expressions-of-interest-to-host-the-thematic-group-s-meetings-2022-2024