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Urbanism, Urban Planning and Urban Research

While urban systems are increasingly perceived as multifaceted cultural, political, social and economic processes, urban planning often still applies conventional methods. However, the sole validity of one all-embracing plan developed by a single discipline is increasingly abandoned in favour of a wide variety of different concepts and actors potentially involved in processes of change. Thus the task lies in questioning traditional planning concepts, overcoming the boundaries that delimit the discipline of urban planning and finding out how urban, suburban or post-urban spaces were and are generated. Instead of an idealised and fixed status of what the city is to be, ways and means for initiating and documenting possibilities, changes, participatory processes and scenarios of all kinds must be singled out. The development of such ways and means is defined as cartography and mapping; maps delineating changed daily use patterns are called for, as is artistic or scientific cartography charting existing and future processes.

Research team
Univ.Prof. Karin Bruns ( Media Theories)

Univ.Prof. Sabine Pollak ( Architecture/Urbanism )
Research focuses include gender aspects affecting city planning and representation, participatory processes as a concrete planning tool, and urban research to develop fundamentals and methods for a changed approach to urban and neighbourhood planning. Research projects will be developed either as theoretical texts (e.g. “Leere Räume. Wohnen und Weiblichkeit in der Moderne“, Vienna 2004, which deals with the conjunction of housing and women) or through cartography and mapping (e.g. “Das Andere der Stadt. Projektion Simmering“, Vienna 2009, which proposes over one hundred maps of a neighbourhood in order to create a new readability of the city).
Gender aspects are analysed not only with a view to the built city; rather, artistic strategies such as photography, film and literature, too, are drawn upon to scrutinise how specific images of the city, forms of gender-specific use or specific codes of urban space were and are formed. In its teaching orientation, the Department of Architecture | Urbanism looks conceptually at urban and suburban situations and encourages the development of novel methods for urban research, documentation and planning.