Public Spaces and Urban Cultures

Group meetings . The members of the AESOP Thematic Group on Public Spaces and Urban Cultures meet annually to discuss and develop approaches proposed under the group’s working topic. These meetings mostly take form of workshops/seminars/conferences accompanied by a fieldtrip in duration of two days, and also provide an environment for engaging in a peer-to-peer discussion on the participants’ research and design projects. The meetings are organized by various types of institutions, which submit their declaration of interest for hosting an event based on the call’s theme, in close collaboration with at least one group member.

The members of the group would like to extend their sincerest thanks to institutions and colleagues that have hosted the group’s events so far: Istituto di Richerche sulle Attivià Terciarie, National Research Council, Italy; Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, Department for Spatial Planning, Faculty for Architecture and Planning, Vienna University of Technology, Austria; Urban Planning Institute of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Human Cities Symposium Organizers, Faculté d’Architecture La Cambre Horta and ProMateria, Brussels, Belgium; Faculty of Architecture, Technical University of Lisbon, Lisbon, Portugal; Ozyegin University, Istanbul, Turkey; UN Habitat World Urban Forum, Medellin, Colombia; Ion Mincu University of Architecture and Urban Planning, Bucharest, Romania; La Villette School of Architecture, Paris, France. 

For questions concerning the organization of the meetings please e-mail to:

Defragmenting and Activating Public Spaces in Unstable Urban Settings

Published at: 2 December 2016

A three days meeting of the AESOP Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures (AESOP TG PSUC) was organized and hosted by the Faculty of Architecture, Art and Design at the Notre Dame University – Louaize in Beirut, Lebanon. This meeting launched the new thematic series: Unstable Geographies – Dislocated Publics which aims at addressing current issues related to public spaces common to cities globally, from an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary perspective, while engaging a variety of actors and stakeholders through four themes:

  • City, refugees, and migration
  • Fragmented social fabric – individualised patterns of consumption
  • The decline of national politics – Resurgence of the urban political
  • Change of perspective – worlding urban studies

 The purpose of the Beirut meeting, organized in parallel to the City Street2 Conference was to unfold themes under the title of the series within the local and unstable context of Beirut. Based on the characteristics and issues in Beirut that are also pertinent to other cities in the global South as well as the global North, this TG meeting focused on the two sub-themes: City, Refugees and Migration, and Fragmented Social Fabric: Individualised Patterns of Consumption.

CfA International Urban Conference "Unsettled. Urban Routines, Temporalities and Contestations"

Published at: 27 September 2016


UNSETTLED   Urban routines, temporalities and contestations
International Urban Conference, 29/ 30 March 2017, Vienna, Austria
Deadline for Abstract Submissions: 15 October 2016

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning, TU Wien, invites participation in the conference Unsettled: urban routines, temporalities and contestations. The conference aims to explore conditions and conceptions of the unsettled. Urban life is characterized by diverse manifestations of instability which continuously stretch or redefine the social order and/or critical/community infrastructures of cities: everyday struggles related to the capitalist system of production, revolutions in political life and political system overthrows, quests for dominance and their oppositions in political, social, economic, ecological or cultural domains. These unsettling practices simultaneously challenge and nourish a variety of idea(l)s of the city as an inclusive place of liberation, cooperation, equal opportunities and shared (better) futures. The goal of the conference is thus to (1) understand the uncertainties, disturbances, inconsistencies, residuals and blind fields which constitute the urban both as lived space and the political idea(l), and (2) foster an inquiry into the socio-political potentialities of unsettling and re-settling urban routines, temporalities and contestations.

Full Call (PDF)

Call for Interest "Unstable Geographies - Dislocated Publics"

Published at: 16 December 2015

The Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP)

The Thematic Group ‘Public Spaces and Urban Cultures’ (TG PS-UC) / December 2015

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 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).

Becoming Local Glasgow June 2015 SUMMARY

Published at: 31 August 2015

This is a summary of the group's meeting in Glasgow, which took place in JUne 2015 @ Scottish Cities Knowledge Centre, University of Glasgow under the title The Power of Places & The Places of Power
Many thanks to the organizers, presenters and all the participants for making BECOMING LOCAL GLASGOW such a great success!
Becoming Local Glasgow Summary as Pdf

Becoming Local Paris October 2014 SUMMARY

Published at: 30 August 2015

This is a summary of the group's meeting in Paris, which took place in October 2014 @ La Villette School of Architecture under the title Transforming Spaces, Redefining Localities.
Many thanks to the organizers, presenters and all the participants for making BECOMING LOCAL PARIS such a great success!
Becoming Local Paris Summary as Pdf

Becoming Local Vienna August 2014 SUMMARY

Published at: 30 August 2015

This is a summary of the group's meeting in Vienna, which took place on 29 August 2014 @ Vienna University of Technology under the title Planning, Design and Action for Shaping Inclusive Public Spaces.
Many thanks to the organizers, presenters and all the participants for exciting and fruitful debates!
Becoming Local Vienna Summary as Pdf

About the AESOP TG Public Spaces and Urban Cultures’

The AESOP Thematic Group on Public Spaces and Urban Cultures has been initiated after the Annual Meeting of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP) in Liverpool (UK) in 2009. In April 2010 the initiative has been recognized as a new thematic group Public Space and Urban Cultures by AESOP. In 2015, the group has decided on self-organized management structure:

AESOP Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures – Self-Organized Management Network

A. Group Coordination
2015/6: Sabine Knierbein (Vienna, knierbein(at); Gabriella Esposito de Vita (Naples, gabespo(at)
2016/7: Gabriella Esposito de Vita (Naples, gabespo(at); Ceren Sezer (Amsterdam, C.Sezer(at)
2017/8: Ceren Sezer (Amsterdam, C.Sezer(at), tbc.
from 2018 onwards: Elections

B. Research Affairs
Sara Santos Cruz (Oporto, scruz(at); Nikolai Roskamm (Erfurt, nikolai.roskamm(at); Nadia Charalambous (Nikosia, nadiac(at)

C. Public Relations
Stefania Ragozino (Naples, s.ragozino(at)

D. Public LiaisonT
Tihomir Viderman (Berlin, tihomir.viderman(at); Elina Kränzle (Vienna, elina.kraenzle(at)

E. Social Media
Weronika Dettlaff (Gdansk, weronika.dettlaff(at), Katarzyna Bartoszevicz (Gdansk, kat.bartoszewicz(at), Matej Niksic (Ljubljana, matejn(at)

The Aesop Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures has been founded upon an initiative of Sabine Knierbein, Ceren Sezer and Chiara Tornaghi in 2010. It has been supported especially by Ali Madanipour (University of Newcastle upon Tyne, UK) and Sophie Watson (Open University, UK).

The aim of the group is to settle the research and design focus on Public Spaces and Urban Cultures in planning-related disciplines. For more information about the thematic group, please visit the group’s official blog: For questions please send an e-mail to:

Coordinated by: Associate Professor, Dr. phil. Sabine Knierbein