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NEWS February 2016

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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