Public Space Unbound: Urban Emancipation and the Post-Political Condition, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Public Space Unbound

Urban Emancipation and the Post-Political Condition, 1st Edition

Edited by Sabine Knierbein, Tihomir Viderman


292 pages

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Paperback: 9780367890322
pub: 2019-12-20
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pub: 2018-03-26
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Through an exploration of emancipation in recent processes of capitalist urbanization, this book argues the political is enacted through the everyday practices of publics producing space. This suggests democracy is a spatial practice rather than an abstract professional field organized by institutions, politicians and movements.

Public Space Unbound brings together a cross-disciplinary group of scholars to examine spaces, conditions and circumstances in which emancipatory practices impact the everyday life of citizens. We ask: How do emancipatory practices relate with public space under ‘post-political conditions’? In a time when democracy, solidarity and utopias are in crisis, we argue that productive emancipatory claims already exist in the lived space of everyday life rather than in the expectation of urban revolution and future progress.

Table of Contents


1. Space, Emancipation and Post-Political Urbanization

Sabine Knierbein and Tihomir Viderman

Part I Everyday Emancipation. Beyond Utopia, Law and Institutions

2. Amazon Unbound: Utopian Dialectics of Planetary Urbanization

Japhy Wilson

3. Applying a Relational Approach to Political Difference: Strategies of Particularisation and Universalisation in Contesting Urban Development

Elisabet Van Wymeersch and Stijn Oosterlynck

4. How to Reclaim Mafia-controlled Territory? An Emancipatory Experience in Naples

Gabriella Esposito de Vita

5. Improvising an Urban Commons of the Streets. Emancipation-from, Emancipation-to and Co-Emancipation

Rob Shields

Part II Practical Emancipation. On Places, Projects and Events

6. Rupturing, Accreting and Bridging: Everyday Insurgencies and Emancipatory City-making in Asia

Jeffrey Hou

7. Post-Political Development and Emancipation: Urban Participatory Projects in Helsinki

Kanerva Kuokkanen and Emilia Palonen

8. Urban Events Under the Post-political Condition: (Im)Possibilities for Emancipation in a Small-scale City of Switzerland

Monika Salzbrunn, Barbara Dellwo and Serjara Aleman

9. Emancipatory Research in the Arts: Shift the City - The Temporary Lab of Non | Permanent Space

Amila Širbegović

Part III Critical Emancipation. On Romanticisms, Agonism and Liberation

10. Alternative Participatory Planning Practices in the Global South: Learning from Co-production Processes in Informal Communities.

Vanessa Watson and Gilbert Siame

11. Revitalising Yeldeğirmeni Neighbourhood in Istanbul: Towards an Emancipatory Urban Design in the Landscapes of Neoliberal Urbanism

Burcu Yigit Turan

12. Conflict vs. Consensus: An Emancipatory Understanding of Planning in a Pluralist Society

Angelika Gabauer

13. Public Space Activism in Unstable Contexts: Emancipation from Beirut’s Post-memory

Christine Mady

Part IV Active Emancipation. On Influence, Recovery and Hybrid Ownership

14. ‘The City Decides!’ Political Standstill and Social Movements in Post-industrial Naples

Stefania Ragozino and Andrea Varriale

15. Emancipatory Practices of Self-organized Workers in the Context of Neoliberal Policies: IMPA, the Case of a ‘Recovered Factory’ in Buenos Aires

Regina Vidosa and Paula Rosa

16. Questioning Urban Commons: Challenges and Potentials in the Post-Democratic Era

Lukas Franta and Alexander Hamedinger

17. Hybridising ‘Ownership’ of Public Space: Framings of Urban Emancipation in Crisis-ridden Thessaloniki

Evangelia Athanassiou, Charis Christodoulou, Matina Kapsali, Maria Karagianni


18. Public Space Unbound: Emancipatory Praxis and Lived Space

Tihomir Viderman and Sabine Knierbein

About the Editors

Sabine Knierbein is Associate Professor for Urban Culture and Public Space and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space, Faculty of Architecture and Planning, TU Wien, Austria. Her research foci are theory of urbanization, critique of everyday life, planning theory and civic innovation. She is the editor of Public Space and the Challenges of Urban Transformation in Europe (2014), Public Space and Relational Perspectives (2015) and City Unsilenced (2017).

Tihomir Viderman is an architect and planner, affiliated with the Interdisciplinary Centre for Urban Culture and Public Space of TU Wien, Austria. For a number of years, he has been engaged in interdisciplinary research and teaching, focusing on culturally inclusive and locally embedded approaches. He is particularly interested in how the expression of cultural difference is modulated by professionals in lived space.

About the Series

Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design

The Routledge Research in Planning and Urban Design series provides the reader with the latest scholarship in the field of planning and beyond. The series publishes international research covering spatial planning, regional planning, planning history, planning theory, communities, impact assessment, transport, sustainability and urban design. Building on Routledge’s history of academic rigor and cutting edge research, the series will contribute to the rapidly expanding literature in all areas of planning and urban design. 

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
ARCHITECTURE / Urban & Land Use Planning