Spatial Agency: From the University of the Neighbourhoods to Building A Proposition For Future Activities or How Urban Design Mobilizes the Performative Plan
New urbanist fields of work?! Influencing urban development purposefully and positively can only be accomplished productively if one goes beyond traditional disciplinary boundaries. What is required therefore is a rethinking within urbanist practice. New Urban Professions - A Journey through Practice and Theory provides exploratory discussions of phenomena, reflections and professionalisation possibilities in the various fields of work.
The Urban Design program at HafenCity University (HCU) in Hamburg is conceptually founded on an understanding of the city as not only produced in terms of its built structures, but also co-produced by the socially embedded practices of its actors and actants. These actors and actants—speaking with Bruno Latour (Latour 2005a), agency also refers to things and matters of concern that develop agencies—come together, are assembled, and interact in specific spatial settings that are conversely interwoven by diverse layers of power (political, economic, and material forces, decisions, practices, discourses, configurations, representations, etc.) and the transformations these cause. The interdisciplinary approach to and focus on practices and processes departs insofar from the planning disciplines urban planning and architecture, exploiting new areas of know-how and know-why within the realm of the social and cultural sciences, as we are no longer concerned with the production of buildings or physical structures alone but with their interrelationship with those who use these structures.
Kniess, B., Richter, A., Dell, C., and Peck, D., 2018. Spatial Agency: From the University of the Neighbourhoods to Building A Proposition For Future Activities or How Urban Design Mobilizes the Performative Plan. In: Koch, M., Rost, A., Siegmund, Y., Tribble, R., and Werner, Y. (eds.) New Urban Professions: A Journey through Practice and Theory. Changing Perspectives in Metropolitan Research. Berlin: Jovis,193-201.