International Meeting: Between The Home and The Square

17 de Maio 2021

Call for abstracts

The Research Unit for South European Cities of the School of Architecture at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, will host the next meeting of the AESOP Thematic Group on Public Spaces and Urban Cultures (AESOP TG PSUC) in Thessaloniki, Greece.

The meeting is entitled “Between the home and the square: bridging the boundaries of public space”. It is structured around the concept of boundaries of public space and the relation between public space and more private spheres of urban life, like the home. By taking an interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approach, the meeting will discuss, challenge and rethink traditional boundaries between public and private, legal and illegal, planned and unplanned, formal and informal, natural and social, digital and material, familiar and uncanny. Moreover, the meeting will reflect on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the making and unmaking of boundaries within the public space as well as between public space and home.

The meeting is organised as a two-day event, which will be preceded by a seven-day workshop. The two-day event will combine keynote speeches, the contributions to the Call for Papers, fieldtrips and roundtables. The workshop will be an international, urban teaching, action research and design workshop that will investigate transformations of housing and public space in sites of major importance in Thessaloniki. It will provide the opportunity for participants to discuss, exchange views, and propose ideas around the topic of boundaries between public and private spaces in Thessaloniki and beyond.

Call for papers

Cities around the world change rapidly in response to processes of financial crises, international migration, climate change, globalisation and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Public spaces are essential ingredients of the urban experience and play a crucial role in this transition (Madanipour et al., 2014). Seeking to understand the ways in which public space can operate as a key component for the creation of ‘inclusive, connected, safe and accessible’ cities (UN Habitat, 2016), the meeting is structured around the concept of boundaries of public space and the relation between public space and more private spheres of urban life, like the home.

Marxist understandings of relational space have already emphasized the need to deconstruct dichotomies between public and private (Lefebvre, 1991). Gender studies have early enough challenged the dichotomy of public and private space (Massey 1984), while more recently, feminist approaches to public space foreground affective care practices, everyday lived experiences and bodily encounters as crucial elements that transcend fixed boundaries in public space (Viderman & Knierbein, 2018). The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has shed new light to interrelations of homes, neighbourhoods and public open space accessibility in pragmatic terms of real life, democracy, and its policing. Thus, a critical exploration of the ways in which the boundaries of public space are challenged, and new conceptualisations emerge is nowadays increasingly timely and salient.

Abstract submission deadline: 17 may 2021

Meeting: 22-23 october 2021