Modern high capacity infrastructure creates accidental space along its periphery, and in the shadow of its
own spatial configuration respectively. It is kind of a shadow city that emerges from the peripheral space
along motorways, train tracks, elevated highways, pipelines, cable tracks – urban space free from explicit
definition and intentional design. In the very places where car parks, rubbish collection facilities, vacant lots
due to setback requirements are evolving, the city dissipates its own realm to an unaccounted extent. This
“waste” is rarely given a proper name or address: Under the bridges. At the car park. Along the train tracks.
In the rear of the stadium. Next to the sewage plant. Descriptions of space that work just about anywhere
and that could hardly be more unspecific.
Therefore dealing with infrastructural spaces in an urban context always has to involve dealing with their
perimeters as well. Infrastructures, with the political-technical aim of supplying energy, resources, access and mobility to a certain space, do not structure it evenly, but create spaces of centrality and subsequently
spaces that have a more lateral character. If the margins of these political-technically conceived space configurations are permeable and accessible – hence they allow a public acquisition of the commodities or services the infrastructural space is supplying – they generate public spaces and active spaces in between the infrastructural component and its environment.
The invariably increasing demand for infrastructural capacity and the therewith necessary increased efficiency
of infrastructure resulted in the multiplication of its dimensions, the depletion of junctions and the shutting
down of its perimeters. Designing these impermeable marginal spaces between infrastructure and city, and
respectively landscape, requires plenty more ideas and conceptual thinking, especially in the prospect of a
continuing increase in the density of the mobility infrastructure – a challenge that, particularly in the experimental field, design-orientated universities should raise to more emphatically.
The examination of these spaces in the scope of a symposium is not aimed at finding a recipe for the beautification
of these infrastructural margins, but rather at developing their potential as public spaces, which carry an aesthetic expression of their own. It is exactly along these margins where public space can unfold its neglected potential as a space of heterogeneity, because public space is a spatial conception, a phantasmagoria, regardless of its functioning as urban public space or public space defined by landscape. It is capable of an ‘in-between’ state, of tolerating a clash and it provides contemporary urbanism a presence as a fragile state of superimposition. The ambiguity of public space between the poles of mobility and locality,and its disability to allocate itself to one or the other, and as well its disability to achieve reconciliation or compensation among the two poles and to escape the ‘in-between’ state, makes it an archetype for the phantasmagorial view of the ‘urban’ city.
We are looking for contributions concerning the following topics:
1. Infrastructure as a spatial category
Does infrastructure generate specific spaces with idiosyncratic spatial characteristics that allow certain types of infrastructure to comprise a spatial category? What is the relation between infrastructural spaces and
the conventional spatial categories of city and landscape? Where do tensions occur?
2. Infrastructure and context
Which margins develop infrastructure and in what way do these interact with their environments? What aesthetic
potentials and potential uses are these marginal spaces revealing? Are urbanistics (urban design and
landscape urbanism) emerging, which are dealing with infrastructural spaces and their context – a Infrastruktururbanismus (infrastructural urbanism) of its own? What is the position of a “new” Infrastruktururbanismus towards the infrastructure orientated urban visions
and urbanistic concepts of modernism (Broadacre City, Autogerechte Stadt, La Ville Radieuse, etc.)?
3. Infrastructure and public space
Do modern high capacity infrastructures generate spatial structures that become effective as public space?
Is public space with its potential of compensating heterogeneity especially suited to have a positive effect
on the tensions occurring along the perimeters of infrastructure?
Language: German and English
Abstracts: Submitted contributions for the participation at the symposium should correspond to the drafted
questions above. All submissions will be considered by the scientific supervisors of the symposium. The abstracts
should not exceed 500 words. Please attach a brief CV (curriculum vitae) and email both documents
in Windows-Word-file format (.doc) to: firstname.lastname@example.org
15. September 2009 Deadline for submission of abstracts
05. October 2009 Notification of authors
07. December 2009 Deadline for submission of finalised contributions
04-05. February 2010 Symposium in Munich, Germany
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