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NEWS 2016

16. December 2016 – 18:48

16-12-16 Open letter to the Senate of Berlin for a just procedure for Andrej Holm, State Secretary of Housing in Berlin

We, the researchers, scholars and members of the International Network for Urban Research and Action, welcome the new Senate of Berlin committing to address a pressing concern of Berliners: the need for affordable housing. Adequate housing provision has become increasingly out of reach for many residents – not only in Berlin. Today, the lack of affordable decent housing, the upgrading of urban centers, displacement pres-sures and homelessness for low-income groups are global phenomena. These are big challenges for cities but research has shown that local governments can make a difference in alleviating the exclusionary ef-fects of market distribution of housing. For this task local governments need to harness the expertise and political will in order to devise and implement new regulations that protect tenants and new investment in fair housing production.

We are therefore gravely concerned about the media-driven political delegitimation campaign towards Dr. Andrej Holm who has been ap-pointed as secretary of state for housing by the Berlin Senate.

This does not appear to be a coincidence. Dr. Holm is an internationally renown scholar who has advanced critical research on housing devel-opments and gentrification. His research has contributed to our understanding of the dynamics of market and government forces at play, and he has advanced urban research by developing instruments for measur-ing and quantifying the effects of gentrification. Furthermore, Dr. Holm stands out prominently as public intellectual who, over the years, has offered his expertise to public and political dialogue and debates – while at the same time not shying back from questioning the prevalent rules of the game that have contributed to segregation and social problemes. Holm has proposed constructive policy reforms to address problems of gentrification and segregation through innovative policies and regulations for the housing market.

If the new Berlin Senate is committed to fulfill its central promise of housing as a basic right for all Berlin residents, it will profit tremen-dously by the critical, committed and progressive thinking Dr. Holm brings to designing and implementing adequate new policy.

The current attacks on Dr. Andrej Holm seek to de-legitimize his role as new secretary of state for housing by highlighting his training with the GDR secret police when he was a teenager. Of course it is a necessary routine procedure to investigate the involvement in detail as a basis for a democratic decisionmaking process. But a fair investigation takes time and there is no evidence that his involvement included activities that harmed anybody. The basic principle of presuming innocence until any deeds are proven must be attained. The current inflammatory media campaign is not conducive for a fair and democratic process of deliberation.

Almost ten years ago, INURA stepped up to protest against accusations against Dr. Holm, which turned out to be completely unfounded. Once again we demand from the political representatives of Berlin govern-ment to provide fair and considerate treatment to evaluate the accusa-tions against Andrej Holm and to withstand preemptive judgement. We cannot allow the premature eviction of critical and progressive voices from the political debate on how to ensure affordable housing for all in Berlin. We encourage all political actors in Berlin to withstand efforts that seek to maintain existing inequalities and to stay the course to achieve more just cities. We know in this work Dr. Holm has an im-portant contribution to offer.

Researchers, Scholars and Members of the International Network for Urban Research and Activism, INURA

Written by Philipp Klaus
15. September 2016 – 18:52

26th INURA Conference held successfully

From September 4-7, 2016 the 26th INURA Conference was held in Bucharest, Romania. Tours and visits, lectures and talks were carefully put together and allowed the participants to get an insight, both, critical and knowledgeable about history and today’s issues of the 7th biggest city in Europe. Spaces of confusion, places of hope were shown and discussed on issues like housing, social justice, traffic, transport, greenspace, participation and administration in a city that had undergone major changes in recent history, especially the end of the Ceausescu-regime era which is still is in every room as an elephant you can not see as one of the local organisers pointed out in the opening evening – in the parliament building, 2nd largest after pentagon.

Written by Philipp Klaus
16. May 2016 – 10:28

Belgrade – absurde activities

Midnight bulldozers clear way for UAE-$$ Belgrade mega-project.
read more http://www.euractiv.com/section/enlargement/news/thugs-destroy-buildings-in-belgrade-while-police-look-the-other-way/

Written by Philipp Klaus
10. May 2016 – 18:16

25 years INURA

Happy Birthday INURA! the International Network for Urban Research and Action was founded 25 years ago, in May 1991, by a group of 21 people setting up the INURA principles in Salecina, Switzerland.

Written by Philipp Klaus
1. March 2016 – 11:36

Community-Led Plan for London

This is of interest to many INURiAns and others: Towards a Community-Led Plan for London. All the London INURA people involved. justspace.org.uk. Free download: http://bit.ly/1L4BX8y

Written by Philipp Klaus
22. February 2016 – 10:35

Athens: Embros Theater under threat

The Free Self-Organized theatre EMBROS in Athens GR is under threat. Electricity was cut off by TAIPED* who aims at selling the real-estate. http://www.embros.gr
* TAIPED, the Hellenic Republic Asset Development Fund (HRADF) was established on 1st July 2011 (L. 3986/2011), under the medium-term fiscal strategy. The new law aimed to restrict governmental intervention in the privatisation process, and its further development within a fully professional context (quote TAIPED website).

Written by Philipp Klaus
15. February 2016 – 10:40

Call for Interest ‘UNSTABLE GEOGRAPHIES – DISLOCATED PUBLICS’ (AESOP Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures)


Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP)

Thematic Group ‘Public Spaces and Urban Cultures’ (TG PS-UC)

February, 2016

The AESOP Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures (AESOP TG PS-UC) has opened a call to potential institutional partners, in Europe and beyond, to host the group’s meeting in the series UNSTABLE GEOGRAPHIES – DISLOCATED PUBLICS, during the period from 2016 to 2018. Previous meetings of the Thematic Group have been organised under the themes of “Conviviality” (2010-2012; in Vienna, Ljubljana, Naples, Brussels, and Lisbon) and “Becoming Local” (2013-2015; in Istanbul, Bucharest, Vienna, Paris, Rome, Glasgow, and Oporto). The new topic UNSTABLE GEOGRAPHIES – DISLOCATED PUBLICS has been developed during the group’s meetings in Prague and Oporto between July and September, 2015. This umbrella topic builds on the group’s approaches and activities aimed to critically reflect upon, analyse, and discuss current trends and tendencies in public spaces and urban cultures in the fields of urban research, design, and planning. If you are interested in hosting an upcoming group’s meeting, please contact us at psucnetwork@gmail.com by 28 February 2016 and include a 2-page description of the project and intellectual framework (including theme, relation to the new topic, budgeting ideas, and institutional partners (including NGOs, and others), motivation).


The theme

Public spaces, as a manifestation of cities’ different cultures, are recognized as valuable social and cultural capital of urban societies. They have increasingly been celebrated as crossroads of different interests, backgrounds, and values, allowing – if not inviting – diverse urban populations to enjoy the fruits of (past) emancipatory struggle(s). A thriving scene of actors and performative practices mainly rooted in the fields of urban design and planning for the city centres and adjacent districts, engages in creating places of everyday life for multiple city publics. This renaissance of diverse public spaces, however, takes place against the bleak backdrop painted by fear and uncertainty now also spilling onto the privileged part of the world, which has found itself overwhelmed by the scale of the recent crisis of capitalism and the waves of migrants. A response carved out by policymakers and institutions, which has not shied away from morally ambiguous means to put capitalism back on track and curb the influx of (uninvited) people, has shown that the institutions and the order of the West, while building on the achievements of past emancipatory struggles, often sustain hostile practices of exclusion and othering. A number of initiatives and activists’ movements stand in opposition to such neo-colonial practices, calling on urban publics and emerging cultures to challenge and rethink the prevailing political and institutional ethics. In the meantime, a strong call for strengthening dialogue and mutual learning between cities and regions of the Global South and of the Global North is gaining momentum in urban research and practice. The UNSTABLE GEOGRAPHIES – DISLOCATED PUBLICS series combines inclusive urban theory, methods, and practice to promote (post)migrational perspectives between different world regions and their cities. It simultaneously reflects on the changing structural constraints in times of multiple crises in which public space is emphasized in various, partly contradictory ways: social, cultural, ecological, political, and economic. Our standpoint takes public spaces as a key catalyst in the process of accommodating diverse cultural values and meeting basic human needs. Among many salient and urgent issues that need to inform current planning, design, and research communities both in theory and practice, we suggest focusing on four main subtopics:

1. City, refugees, and migration

2. Fragmented social fabric – individualised patterns of consumption

3. The decline of national politics – Resurgence of the urban political

4. Change of perspective – Worlding urban studies

For full information, please visit the blog of the AESOP Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures and the Announcement CfI “Unstable Geographies – Dislocated Publics”. The submission date is for statements of interest is 28th February 2016. For submission and requests, please contact the group (PSUCnetwork@gmail.com).

Sabine Knierbein

Written by Sabine Knierbein
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