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"UrbanTopias: Discussing the Challenges of Changing Cities", panel descriptions

1) Threatened Hospitality / Threatening Hostility

The metropolis is a hospitable and hostile place. It is where the visitor, the tourist, the refugee or the stranger may encounter a heartfelt welcome as well as a fearful repulse. Hospitality and hostility are siblings, who live in the suburbs, stride through back alleys and meander the hallways of tenement houses and administration buildings. Traditionally standing for goodwill, hope, and exchange, hospitality can just as well turn into resentment, fear, and refusal: hostility. Through the analytical lens of the conceptual siblings of hospitality and hostility, this panel reflects on the ways in which fear has crept into the social fabric of the modern metropolis and ways it can be overcome. Going from there, we will explore if fear corrodes people’s capacity to practice social generosity and solidarity. We want to uncover hospitality’s many facets by looking at the underlying mechanisms that enable hospitality on the one hand, while fostering fear and promoting hostility on the other../ A special emphasis thereby lies on the notion of temporality. We ask in what way the act of hospitality is tied to temporality as in expecting that the visitor, the tourist, the refugee or the stranger will leave again? What happens if a temporary condition develops into a permanent one – or if temporariness (such as short-term stays) become a permanent state? And how can one, in an increasingly mobile world, even make sense of conceptual dichotomies such as hosts and guests?   Panel Coordination: Katharina Knaus, Gesa Trojan, Chaghaf Howayek Moderators: Katharina Knaus, Gesa Trojan Speakers: Nils Grube (Georg-Simmel-Center Berlin), Sarah Becklake (Lancaster University), Philipp Misselwitz (TU Berlin) & Duygu Kaban (SPACEDIGGER, Berlin)

2) Fear the Streets! Street Crime, Moral Panics, and the Metropolis

Crime and fear were not born in the metropolis. Still, the complexities, contingencies and uncertainties modern metropolitan life has produced, have given a special notion to matters of (in-)security. The topic has remained urgent through the times. The narratives and strategies of crime and crime fighting, though, have changed over the decades. Crime has been portrayed as a symptom of cultural decay, as a problem of the urban underclasses, as a pedagogical issue of young deviants’ lack of discipline, and as the result of the choices of rational actors. The answers to crime have varied accordingly. They have ranged from increased policing efforts and law & order measures, to initiatives of social inclusion through the welfare state, to the reordering of urban space and the growing use of surveillance and control technologies. One of the threads that connects these changes is the crucial meaning of fear. For the questions what is to be feared and why are at the heart of strategies which are implemented to fight not just crime but the fear of it at the same time. Against this backdrop the panel discusses the continuities, cracks and shifts in the ever changing relations between fear, crime, and the strategies and measures applied to cope with them.   Panel Coordination: Niklas Creemers, Felix Fuhg Moderator: Felix Fuhg (IGK Fellow) Speakers: Prof. Bill Osgerby (London Metropolitan University), Jenny Künkel (Bauhaus-University Weimar), Niklas Creemers (IGK Fellow)

3) Remerging Infrastructures. From Small Scale Practices of Provisioning to Large-Scale Organization of Basic Needs

The increasingly commodification of basic needs, such as water and food, shape the organization of cities and produces urban inequalities. High access barriers to essential resources marginalize certain groups in urban societies and in turn foster socio-cultural and socio-economic insecurities. Accordingly, there is an urgent need to question if and how forms of social and spatial relations are built in new, creative ways, to deal with more and more privatized distributive mechanisms. By drawing on the examples of water and food systems, this panel seeks to explore emerging alternative (social and material) infrastructures to maintain access to these essential resources. How are these produced? In what way do different rationalities and sociabilities get re-assembled and contested by the actors involved? Discussing empirical cases in cities in Latin America and Europe, the panel asks which sociological concepts and approaches might be useful to grasp and examine the creation of new infrastructures and hence the transformation of urban space. By doing so, it contributes to a scholarly debate and analyses of urban transformation processes, stressing the everyday practices that make our cities work. Panel Coordination: Hannah Schilling (IGK-Fellow), Beatrice Walthall (IGK-Fellow) ModeratorHanna Hilbrandt (IRS Erkner) DiscussantTimothy Moss (Humboldt Universität, IRI-THESys) Speakers: Marcela Arrieta (IGK-Ass. Fellow), Marcela López (Contested Urban Waterscapes), Beatrice Walthall (IGK-Fellow)

4) Changing Mobility Patterns Progress and Reluctance

In the face of climate change and other challenges to today’s cities – such as a new urban growth – individual mobility patterns and behaviour as well as mobility systems and infrastructures are key elements for a sustainable and just mobility. This is especially true in urban areas where densities and distances allow the “individual car” to be easily replaced by different modes of transportation. The growing necessity for change within the urban mobility sector is uncontested amongst all stakeholders – yet for different reasons and out of various interests. Nevertheless, changes – especially on the individual level – are often rejected, sometimes even contested. And some changes are more daring than others. Looking at historical, contemporary and future changes of urban mobility, notions of progress, reluctances and resistance shall be analysed and pointed out. Which strategies are used by stakeholders aiming for change or a status quo? How to deal with the secret constraints of innovation: Power, Angst and Belief/Trust. Who gains power by a change? Is “Angst” (regarding the unknown future) a necessity of these changes and who (who’s mobility) is left behind? What possible scenarios and visions can we trust to correctly predict the future in uncertain times? Discussing changes in urban mobility will address questions of participation, distribution of power and whether relying on ever new technology is a solution or will open Pandora’s box. Panel Coordination: Aljoscha Hofmann (IGK-Fellow), Robin Kellermann (IGK-Fellow) Moderator: Aljoscha Hofmann (IGK-Fellow) Speakers:
PD Dr. Christoph Bernhardt (IRS Erkner): "On transitions and persistences of urban mobility in the 20th century."
Wolfgang Aichinger (Sustainable Mobility Consulant): "Cycling boom, Dieselgate & Co.: Reflections on the inherent inconsistency of mobility policies in Germany" Commentator: Prof. Dr. Dietrich Henckel (ISR, TU Berlin)

5) Artivisum in Urban Imaginaries

Artivism is derived from the combination of, and a reciprocal relationship between, activism and art, and can be considered the twenty-first century’s newest art form. It is essentially comprised of the approaches, tactics, strategies, and methods used by protesters in everyday resistance. The intervention of artivists in urban politics, through photos, films, videos, blogs, social media, street art, graffiti, participatory art, happenings, and also art festivals such as biennales, paves the way for a new form of interference, which is organized and initiated from the bottom up. In this framework, this panel seeks to examine the intertwined relationship between art and urban activism, where citizens are enabled to use new art forms and their own networks as innovative tools for fighting for their right to the city. In this context, this panel aims to discuss the following questions: How can art play an effective role in criticizing and changing urban politics? How do art institutions, artists, and curators influence discussions about urban futures? How does artivism contribute to forming urban imaginaries?

Panel Coordination: Kate Brehme (IGK-Fellow), Elif Artan (IGK-Fellow)

ModeratorDr. Janet Merkel (City University London)

Speakers: Kate Brehme (IGK-Fellow), Elif Artan (IGK-Fellow), Friederike Landau (IGK-Ass. Fellow)

6) Tempor(e)ality: Racing Time and the Racialized Urban

This panel seeks to address contemporary temporalities and spatialities of metropolitan colonialism, by looking at the continuities, changes and transformations from the colonial to the postcolonial, from the Atlantic to the metropoles, from the past to nowadays situation and afro-futuristic envisioning. Main questions of the panel includes: - What is time and space from a racialized/colonized position? - How was colonial subjectivity constructed in the colonial metropolis? - What is the past and where was the racialized Other in the City? When the racialized other is silenced and represented as a specific Other? - How are contemporary processes of racialization taking place in postcolonial European cities? - What are trajectories of the future by looking at concepts such as afro-futurism?   Panel Coordination: Dr. Noa Ha (IGK/TU Berlin) Moderator: Dr. Noa Ha (IGK/TU Berlin) Speakers: Peggy Piesche (University Bayreuth), Patricia Schor (Utrecht University), Marlène de Saussure (IGK-Fellow)

7) A Conclusionary Discussion on the Future of Urban Studies

The round-table assembles distinguished international scholars to discuss the future of urban studies. In which directions has the interdisciplinary field  evolved? Which promises were fulfilled and/or disappointed? What kind of challenges are urban studies facing through changing cities? Which future is lying ahead for urban studies? 


Moderators: Dr. Noa Ha, Dr. Daniel Tödt (IGK/TU Berlin, Postdoc Fellow) 

Discussants: Prof. Dr. Dorothee Brantz (Technische Universität Berlin), Prof. Dr. Rosemary Wakeman (Fordham University New York), Prof. Dr. Kanishka Goonewardena (University of Toronto), Prof. Dr. Philipp Wisselwitz (Technische Universität Berlin), Friederike Landau (IGK/TU BERLIN, Associate Fellow)

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