urbani7e! festival — Vienna

-- burning questions in the city maker scene

Just in the middle of October 2016 one could enjoy the colorful program of the 7th urbanize! festival in Vienna. Three weeks before they already held their edition In Hamburg, Germany.

This year topic of the festival picked up an urgent matter: >Housing the many — Stadt der Vielen<. With the different events they put a focus on scalability of the many, however somewhat smaller initiatives that circle around urbanist practice. Their question became: >How can the alternative for the few become an offer for the many?<

Wie wird aus der Alternative für Wenige ein Angebot für Viele?urbanize! festival

They used lectures, discussions, workshops, movies and city explorations as formats to spread, share and produce knowledge.

The heart of the event was an Open Space Conference, where around 100 international city makers gathered together. They took one day long the time to only reflect and take some leeway — where one would let go of predefined forms and definitions in the city maker context. Their starting point was a collection of questions that represent the current conflicts and tensions that they experience. It gives an interesting impression on what is present in the scene. I want to share these – inviting to use them as stimuli to reflect on our own practice.

open space discussion ©Claudius Popescu

Out of the whole list, one could filter two main topics and some quite particular little aspects.

On Scale

  • How to maintain the collaborative process when you become more up-scaled and institutionalized?
  • How can we scale up local initiatives for global, collective reconstruction of cities and spaces?
  • How can city production work in the tension between elitist creative economy/industry and social care?
  • How can the emancipatory potential of small self organized projects be thought in a bigger scale?
  • How does an alternative for the few become an option for many?

On Togetherness

  • How can we cooperatively develop public space?
  • Is the end of solidarity in factories the beginning of solidarity in the cities?
  • Consider, understand, promote vacant buildings as place for social exchange.
  • Living in the city — anonymous or together?
  • How can we foster intersection and diversity of activities in the city?
  • City production for one’s self or city production for others?
  • How can you fasten the participation?

On particular details

  • How can the ideas for tomorrow survive in today’s market-oriented thinking?
  • How do digital worlds change the city?
  • How can non-profit ways of working become more visible in the area of the city?
  • How can you plan places that leaves space for the unplanned?
  • How to create space without colonizing it?
  • How do structures of art, culture and urbanity reach the new peripheries?

My final question: >>Who carries the courage to answer these in theoretical and practical means?<<

open space discussion © Claudius Popescu

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