Public Spaces and Urban Cultures

Invitation/ Webinar 'Power to co-produce: Careful power distribution in collaborative city-making' - 14 September 2020

Published at: 20 August 2020

Invitation Webinar 'Power to co-produce: Careful power distribution in collaborative city-making
Practices/Pedagogies/Policies

14 September 2020

The Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space at the Faculty of Architecture and Planning warmly invites participation in the Webinar "Power to co-produce. Careful Power Distribution in Collaborative City Making - Practices - Pedagogies - Policies“ which will be hosted online at TU Wien on the 14th September 2020. This event is realized in the course of the KTH + TU Wien Visiting Professorship Program in Urban Studies 2019-2021 and will be featured by the Thematic Group for Public Spaces and Urban Cultures of the Association of European School’s of Planning.

Power to co-produce is a collective attempt to widen up the debate on collaborative city-making. The basic premise of the webinar is that power is immanent in urban development processes, also in those procedures that rely on participatory and inclusive, so-called 'co-productive' forms of collaboratively shaping the city (city-making). Therefore, a fairer distribution of power requires first a deep analytical understanding of how power works in co-production processes. The webinar-type symposium follows a multidimensional approach, distinguishing between (1) practices, (2) pedagogies and (3) policies, while articulating their interrelations. The webinar brings these often separated dimensions of city-making together. Participatory collaboration in city-making encompasses co-production of place and knowledge developed by local groups, means of legitimacy created to get their voice heard and the process of achieving the co-governance of local urban commons. Co-production may also be considered as a collaborative research method, challenging the existing distribution of power in science and scientific institutions, and presenting other possibilities to subvert the processes through which ideas get generated, and knowledge is associated. Recognising the process of co-production of urban space as a process in which power relations are negotiated requires a multidimensional approach that goes beyond considering co-production simply as a form of practice.  

This open webinar is an attempt to establish a dialogical relationship between different perspectives on the interplay of power relations and collaborative city-making processes focusing on local processes of co-production and civic engagement, particularly of the marginalised communities. By recognising (1) practices, (2) pedagogies and (3) policies, and interrelations among the involved actors and institutions, it is expected to broaden debates on participatory collaboration in city-making processes. Specifically, it is expected to reveal the democratic aspects of city-making by revisiting existing power discrepancies that shape urban development processes. To achieve this, the organisers of the webinar aim at distinguishing possibilities, limitations and also pitfalls of urban co-production.

The webinar in particular aims at exploring and discussing urban co-production processes to amplify the voices of the unheard, see how they themselves manoeuvre within the dynamics of power relations enmeshed in participatory planning and inclusive urbanism, thereby seeking to decolonise the processes of the social production of space, by revisiting the role of the most marginalised participants within the existing set of power relations. If power is ubiquitous in city-making processes, then urban scholars have to understand how and to what extent power distribution in urban development can be rearranged in a context-specific setting, and in a careful and socially just way. The webinar will therefore critically explore urban co-production processes considering spatial justice, alongside southern and feminist approaches in city-making.

By inviting scholars and practitioners from corresponding fields, this POWER TO CO-PRODUCE webinar addresses

  • how local communities struggle for power (power over, power to, power from…) in reaching their goals;
  • in what way urban professionals can provide space, methods and tools for marginalised voices to be heard and for vulnerable populations to empower themselves;
  • to what extent policy-makers can enable processes of co-production in city-making to ensure the constant democratisation of city-making processes. 

The webinar seeks to bring together planning and urbanism researchers, activists, critical spatial practitioners alongside with urban scholars, and others to reflect and discuss potentials, possibilities as well as limitations and pitfalls of urban co-production processes. Structured in three sessions, the webinar will focus on learning from urban co-production processes between policy-makers, professionals and local communities, and ask: How can urban co-production of space and knowledge go beyond contemporary pitfalls in the collaborative city making? How can communities on the one hand and urban professionals on the other enable the accompanied experience and knowledge to circulate among and between these actors in more context-specific, careful and socially just ways?

As an exchange platform that emerged among scholars from different geographical registers hosted by the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, TU Wien, Austria, this webinar is the first event marking the starting point of a wider collaborative research process.  Interested colleagues can register until 10th September for a limited number of e-places via webinar2020@skuor.tuwien.ac.atAccepted participants will receive a link to participate in the online event shortly before. The webinar will also be published as a podcast via Urban Trialogue Project.

The full program will be available early September. Please share this precursor within your networks and do not hesitate to forward this to colleagues working in the field.
In case of questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us via webinar2020@skuor.tuwien.ac.at

All the best, 

Sabine Knierbein, on behalf of the Scientific Organizing Committee

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