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The Politics of Public Space II

Berlin Wedding

In times of a pandemic crisis, individual freedom of movement and social life are curtailed for the sake of public health. In our cities, restrictive rules and directives from local governments particularly impact on how we (are allowed to) use public space. With every new directive we need to re-adjust, re-align and re-configure our way in which we navigate – if at all – the city. These times raise new questions concerning the right to the city, or more specifically the right to public space.
While drifting through the city, in this associative acoustic city walk our participants are exposed to a range of different voices and approaches that critically reflect on the politics of public space in general and on public space in times of a pandemic crisis in particular. Local and international urbanists, sociologists, architects, planners, writers and urban actors read out classic texts or provide own reflections on private life, agency, moving bodies, emptiness, the right to the city, or fluid encounters in relation to public space.


Public Space From the Window Sill
Prof. Sabine Knierbein (TU Vienna) on Public Sapce in times of COVID-19

Agniezka Dragon (Cultural Practitioner – Warsaw/Berlin) reads Zygmunt Baumann

Political Spaces, Spaces of Agency
Dr. Charlotte Malterre-Barthes (ETH Zürich) reflects on architecture influencing political processes

Navigating a Pandemic
Krystin Arneson (Writer – POLIGONAL) reads Gia Kourlas

Gemeinschaftsgärten und Zivilgesellschaft
Toni Karge (Stadt- und Freiraumplaner – Senatsverwaltung für Umwelt, Verkehr und Klimaschutz) liest Karin Werner

The Death of the Street
Dr. Afia Afenah (Urban Anthropologist – University College London UCL) reads James Holston

The Laws of Peripheral Vision
Prof. AbdouMaliq Simone (Urbanist – University of Sheffield) on workarounds and the right of way on the street

The Public Face of Social Capital
Prof. Talja Blokland (Urban Sociologist – HU Berlin) reflects on fluid encounters under a city’s lockdown

No Man’s Land
Marina Petrova (Sociologist – POLIGONAL) reads Lucius Burckhardt

Engineering Socialist Public Space
Natalia Kvitkova (Urban Researcher – POLIGONAL) on GDR urban environments as instigators for societal change

Plus pandemic soundscapes by Anna Steigemann, Tom Brennecke, Markus Bader, and Kurt Calleja




Concept and Production: POLIGONAL Office for Urban Communication, Dr. Christian Haid and Lukas Staudinger
Audio post-production and theme tune design by Marina Petrova.