Call for Papers

Click here to download Call for Papers as a pdf file.

THE URBANIZATION of (IN)JUSTICE: Public spaces in uncertain geographies

The University of Cyprus, Department of Architecture invites you to the annual meeting of the Association of European Schools of Planning (AESOP)’s Thematic Group Public Spaces and Urban Cultures, which will take place in the United Nations Buffer Zone in Nicosia in the period between 16th and 18th May 2018. This meeting is organized in parallel to the Cyprus Network of Urban Morphology conference, “Urban Morphology in South-Eastern Mediterranean Cities: chal-lenges and opportunities”. The purpose of this meeting is to unfold, discuss, rethink and chal-lenge prevailing discourses about “just” or “unjust” processes of urban transformation from the perspective of public space. We look forward to a critical and constructive debate on the re-search, policy and public agendas about this issue to contribute to the academic and public dis-cussions on the role of public space to achieve “just” cities.

Theme. Over the past few decades, cities around the world have become radically and rapidly changed in the sense of scale, scope and complexity. This is mainly due to the increasing mobility of people, goods and information as a result of technological developments, liberalization of economic systems, economic fluctuations, wars, and climate change. These changes challenge the processes of production of built environment and create conflicts and contestations between different urban groups, who have contradicted claims on the decisions and processes influencing urban transformation.

Such situation brought the discussions on just/unjust urban transformation processes in urban research, policy and public debates. It raised questions on privileging the interests of affluent urban groups, while disadvantaging vulnerable communities. We see public space as central in these debates, as possible facilitator of a more just process of urban transformation Public space is able to embrace different political, economic and cultural manifestations of urban groups, which allow them to voice their rights on the city. Public space can also submit encounters and interactions between different urban actors and perform as a place of negotiation between them. Public space is potentially able to promote fair allocations of wealth, resources, benefits and opportunities.

Different views on public space can provide us ways of thinking to develop planning and design strategies, policy measures, civil initiatives, and social movements to oppose processes of unjust urban transformation. Yet, in the context of a rapid-shifting economic, political and social reality, it is more and more urgent for critical re-thinking of public space as facilitator of urban justice.

The aim of this conference is to share international and interdisciplinary perspectives of public space as a facilitator of (in)just urban transformation processes from various angles based on practical and/or theoretical work. We particularly welcome topics such as:

  • Public space in relation to urban just and unjust conditions, today and through time
  • Public space and equity, public space and diversity, public space, identity, spatiality and power
  • Re-thinking public space through the connections between notions of justice, social rela-tions, and spatial form
  • Responses to unjust urban patterns in form of emerging practices of self-organization and negotiations of difference in cities’ public spaces
  • Role of actors in the production of public space.
  • Everyday practices of establishing spatial justice and injustice
  • Creation of subjectivities in or with public space
  • Politics of public space

The meeting will be dedicated to the presentations, discussions and roundtables of high quality work of scholars and practitioners. We are interested in contributions from urban studies, urban planning, urban design, architecture, social geography, anthropology, sociology, ethnography, cultural studies, political science, history and others. Paper presentations will be followed by roundtable discussions to consolidate the ideas, concerns and recommendations presented during the meeting, and set the basis for further practical and theoretical explorations.

The meeting will combine various formats of exchange including the keynote speeches of CyNUM and PSUC, presentations from the contributions to the call for papers, field visits on the second day and a workshop on the third day. The workshop participants will have the oppor-tunity to visit locations within Nicosia in collaboration with local stakeholders and practitioners, to reflect on the case studies visited and to discuss, exchange views and propose ideas with the purpose of sharing resources and producing knowledge on contemporary public space concerns.

Abstract Submission

Abstracts of paper proposals (300 words) should address at least one of the topics outlined in the call for papers (Please check the guidelines for the abstract at the conference website. Speakers should also submit a short biography (100 words). Submissions will ONLY be accepted online through www.easyacademia.org, where participants may register and instantly submit their abstracts using the provided template.

Authors will be notified of acceptance by the Conference Committee. Final acceptance will be based upon review of the full-length short paper. Full papers will be published in an electronic version in a form of a conference book of papers. The authors of the selected papers will be en-couraged to prepare their contributions in the form of scientific articles for the publication in the thematic issue of a scientific journal.

Call for papers: October 1st, 2017
Abstract submission: December 5th, 2017
Acceptance notification: January 15th, 2017
Author registration and payment: February 15th, 2018
Full paper submission: April 30th, 2018
Publication of proceedings: July 2018

Organising Committee

  • Nadia Charalambous, Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus
  • Andreas Savvides, Department of Architecture, University of Cyprus
  • Ceren Sezer, Department of Urbanism, Delft University of Technology, the Netherlands
  • Nikolai Roskamm, Department of Architecture and Urban Planning, FH Erfurt, Germany

Scientific Committee

  • Ali Madanipour, Architecture, Planning and Landscape Department, Newcastle University
  • Wendy Pullan, Department of Architecture, University of Cambridge
  • Tarek Osseiran, United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat)
  • Nilly Harag, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Israel
  • Christine Mady, Notre Dame University, Louaize, Beirut
  • Elena Konstantinidou, National Technical University of Athens, Greece
  • Vítor Oliveira, University of Porto, Portugal

The location of Cyprus in the Eastern Mediterranean offers a unique venue at the confluence of three continents and a multitude of cultures that face unique urban challenges. Throughout its history, Cyprus has been undergoing various dynamics related to refugees, migration and social fragmentation, which have led to changes in urban spaces and everyday social life, thus turning it to fertile ground for collaborative ideas among public space scholars and practitioners from different backgrounds. Nicosia, the last divided capital of Europe, offers an ideal location to dis-cuss the issues addressed in this conference. As a city with a prolonged history of conflict, inter-nal refugees’ displacements, migration and tourists’ flows, economic fluctuations and rapid, often abrupt urban transformations, it serves as a laboratory to observe and explore the pro-duction, development and the role of public spaces in unstable and contested contexts. More information about the venue is available at the conference website.