Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space

E280-09 | Urban

The  Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space (Research Centre E280-09) is dedicated to identify connecting characteristics between urban research, urban design and urban planning, between practice and theory regarding the thematically combined fields of the lived, planned and designed city. Since 2021, TU Wien’s new venia docendi in urban studies is connected to this research unit. In terms of contents, the unit contributes particularly political theory and cultural studies' perspectives to explore patterns of urbanization on an international scale to the already existing bodies of social scientific knowledge to the Institute of Spatial Planning. In collaboration with experts from different disciplines and cultures, we try to explore how everyday urban spaces (lived spaces) work as social, cultural and political processes of socialisation in urban environments. They ‚sediment‘ as constructed or built spaces, for instance taking the shape of designed or constructed projects. 

The Research Centre contributes a unique urban studies perspective to TU Wien’s research and teaching agendas. As part of the Faculty for Architecture and Planning, the team of the research centre is versed in developing and institutionalizing urban co-production, co-research and co-teaching processes. Supported through a 12-year-long International Visiting Professorship Programm, the centre has been established as a new institution situated in an international network of urban scholars for the past 15-years. It is our aim to discover existing potentials in fields connecting the study of urban life with an expertise in urban form, touching analytical perspectives on public space, urban culture, housing, intergenerational living (ageing, youthhood, …) and others. In collaboration with public and cultural institutions, civil society actors and with those engaged in public, cultural, social or civic innovation, we provide a range of key scientific publications and stimulate public debates. It is our mission to take a position of enhancing practices of democratisation as regards present urban development. Here, urban and spatial facets of a foundational economy, coping strategies against climate crises, the reinforcement of social inclusion and an appreciation of cultural diversity are paramount.

From a position of an everyday-theory versed approach to urban studies we act as s a founding member and member of the scientific advisory board of Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP TG PSUC). Supported by an  International Advisory Board mainly composed of former Visiting Professors we connect different positions in the field of everyday-theory based perspectives within urban studies. Six publications with Routledge reflect our international standing in scientific contributions to the urban knowledge fields: Unsettled Urban Space: Routines, Temporalities and Contestations (2023), Care and the City: Encounters with Urban Studies (2022), Public Space Unbound. Urban Emancipation and the Post-Political Condition (2018), City Unsilenced. Urban Resistance in the Age of Shrinking Democracy (2017), Public Space and Relational Perspectives: New Challenges for Architecture and Planning (2015) and Public Space and the Challenges of Urban Transformation in Europe (2014). 

In May 2024 the new 9. Research Centre at the Institute of Spatial Planning will host an international Spring School on the Topic of YOUTH (funded by CTS) at TU Wien.The Centre’s teaching activities comprise frequent bachelor obligatory lecture exercises elective modules (DE), master modules (EN) as well as doctoral and master thesis seminars and supervision (EN, DE, ES). Besides architecture and planning students, local actors and students of various disciplines relating to urban studies are involved in the courses to enhance and experience inter-, trans- and postdisciplinary cooperation within and beyond the university.

Research Unit Head & Professorship

Associate Prof. Dipl.-Ing.(FH) Dr.phil. Sabine Knierbein Contact: TISS

E280-09 | Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space

© Photostudio Wilke